Handy recycling hints from Leeds City Council

Since lockdown started we’ve recorded a 15% increase in black bin waste and a 5% increase in green bin recycling.
Here are our top tips on key recycling topics #TimeToRecycle.
Be a binfluencer. Do you know someone who could benefit from #TimeToRecycle? Send them the link bit.ly/Time2Recycle so they can subscribe and become a better recycler.
Already a great recycler? To learn more about reducing, reusing and repairing visit the Zero Waste Leeds website.

Quick and easy bin hacks. These are simple things you can do to get in the habit of recycling! 

Sorting solutions

It’s a good idea to have a few places in your house where you can put recycling before taking it to your wheelie bin.

  • Have 2 indoor bins, one for general waste and one for recycling. Colour code or label them so they don’t get mixed up! 
  • A cardboard box or crate can fit under sinks, counters or coffee tables
  • If you’re tight on space, hang a bag on the back of a door!

Make space

This video demonstrates some ways you can make more space in your green bin!

  1. Squash bottles and put the lid back on
  2. Pull the flaps up on cartons to flatten them 
  3. Squish cans 
  4. Break down boxes 

Glass recycling

We’re collecting more glass in our bottle banks during Lockdown, with 60% more than usual in May! The increase in glass recycling was featured on Look North last week.

Keep your tops on

Keep the lids on bottles and jars when you put them in the bottle bank. The metal and plastic gets recycled too! 

Find your nearest bottle bank

Recycle glass at a bottle bank. let us know

Recycle paper and cardboard in your green bin


  • leaflets, junk mail, magazines, newspapers
  • envelopes (you can leave the plastic windows in, we’ll remove them!)
  • cereal boxes, ready meal sleeves, frozen food boxes, egg cartons
  • cardboard boxes, clean-ish pizza boxes (grease spots are fine)
  • juice and milk cartons (Tetra Paks)

Do not put these in your green bin


Recycle these in your green bin

  • Tins (give them a quick rinse, no need to remove paper labels) 
  • Drink cans
  • Empty aerosol cans (deodorant, shaving foam, hairspray) 
  • Foil (scrunch small pieces up to make a bigger ball) 


Bring your old batteries to a battery bank (they’re in every supermarket and there’s a map here.) 

Putting batteries in either of your wheelie bins could start a fire. 

Metal imposters

Some items look like metal but are actually a mix of metal and plastic. Don’t let them sneak in to your green bin. Put them in your black bin or bring them to a Terracyle drop off point.

  • crisp packets (this includes pringles tubes) 
  • biscuit wrappers 
  • pet food pouches 
  • chocolate bar wrappers

To check if something is metal or plastic do the scrunch test – if it stays scrunched it’s metal and if it’s bounces back it’s plastic. 

Recycle plastic types 1, 2, 4 and 5 in your green bin!

  • Type 1 – pop bottles, fruit punnets 
  • Type 2 – milk bottles, cleaning product bottles
  • Type 4 – frozen veg bags, bubble wrap, bread bags (any stretchy plastic bag) 
  • Type 5 – yoghurt pots, margarine tubs

Pesky plastics – put these in your black bin

  • Type 3 – clingfilm, PVC pipes
  • Type 6 – polystyrene, clothes hangers, DVD cases
  • Type 7 – other plastics like acrylic
  • “compostable” or “bio-plastic” isn’t actually plastic
  • Black or dark brown plastic – the laser sorter can’t detect it

Do the stretch test!

1/3 of our subscribers thought you can’t recycle stretchy plastic bags in your green bin. 

Lots of stretchy plastic bags say “not commonly recycled” or “recycle at a supermarket” on them. If a bag stretches you can recycle it in your green bin, if it tears you can’t.

Watch our video for a demo! 

One last thing…

We love this infographic that Zero Waste Leeds made to explain the different types of plastic you can put in your green bin. Perfect to print off and put on your fridge!

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