Never Put This In A Bin

No matter what the bin color there are certain things that should never be put in household waste bins. Bulk rubbish that is really heavy like building rubble can’t go in your bins. You should arrange for a skip or take this sort of rubbish to your local tip. Similarly large quantities of green garden waste should not be put in your bins unless you have been provided with a bin specifically for this type of waste.

Chemical waste should also never be put in a bin. It can endanger the health and safety of the rubbish collection staff as well as be an environmental hazard. This sort of waste should also be taken to your local tip or a specialist chemical waste center. To learn more, click here:

Light bulbs, batteries cooking oil, ceramics, and pans should also not be put in bins. Councils provide specialist waste points for products like this. Some of them can be recycled and others need specialist processing to make them safe to dispose of. Have a box for things like this and take them to the specialist waste point once a month.

Medical waste and sharps should never be disposed of in a normal bin. This sort of waste is managed by either your local health service or council so check with your doctor to register for waste collection.

Variations Between Councils

What is recycled and how is under the control of your Local Authority and as a result there are variations across the UK. If you aren’t sure about what is recycled when, where your local tips are and where to recycle special items like batteries then visit your Local Authorities website. Your Local Authority/Council is whoever you pay your council tax to. Every council has promemnt links to information on waste collection – most often from their home page. The sort of information they provide is things like;

Bin collection dates
Missed bin collection
Bulky item collection
Request a bin
What goes in my bins?
Find a tip
Street cleaning and litter problems
Compost bins
Sharps bins
Note that there is no generally accepted convention to match bin color to contents. We have provided a guide below for the most common practices but you should check what it says on your bins and also check your Local Councils website.

What goes in the black recycling bin?
Black bins are usually for general waste which can not be recycled or composted. Before we started to recycle all waste was general waste. These days it is things like nappies, sanitary products, non-recyclable plastics and things made of mixed materials like crisp packets, coffee cups, and drinks cartons (Tetrapak). Yes, I know Tetrapak often says the carton as is recyclable but in practical terms, they are not.

Each Council will have it’s own recycling options and technologies which will determine what you can recycle. For example, Liverpool City Council cannot recycle yogurt pots or plastic food containers (even if the packaging says it is recyclable). So if you are in Liverpool then this plastic waste should go in general waste, not in your plastic recycling. However pop down the road to Preston Council and you see that they do recycle yogurt pots, food containers and even plant pots. This highlights the importance of checking your Local Councils website. If your bin men see this type of waste in your recycle bins they won’t take your waste and some councils can even fine you.

What goes in the green recycling bin?
Green bins are most often used for glass recycling so bottles and jars. Some Councils provide Green Wheelie bins or Smaller green containers for food waste such as vegetable peelings, coffee grounds and bones.

What goes in the blue recycling bin?
These are usually for paper and cardboard. So newspapers, magazines books, flyers, cardboard boxes, food boxes all go in here. Don’t put in mixed material items like Tetrapak and drinks cartons, these go in general waste.

What goes in the red recycling bin?
These are usually for recyclable plastics such as drinks bottles, shampoo bottles. Some councils will allow yogurt pots and plastic food containers others do not so check their website. Some types of plastic can’t be recycled and should go in general waste; carrier bags, clingfilm, hard plastics like coat hangers & polystyrene. Some councils can recycle plastic based on their labels so if you need to understand what these mean have a read here.

What goes in the brown recycling bin?

Brown bins are either for food and garden waste or they are used for mixed recycling which don’t have to be sorted by the homeowner. There is a big difference here so if you have a brown bin check its sticker and/or your local council website. If it is a mixed recycling bin then you put all your plastic, glass, and tin foil in them but not usually paper.

What goes in the purple recycling bin?
It’s anyone’s guess! Purple bins are rare and their use varies with each Council so check their website.

What goes in the yellow recycling bin?
These are used for textiles and clothing. They are rarely provided at the individual home level but you will often see large textile bins at your local tip or rubbish collection points.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a global standards-setting body. They develop and establish a set of thorough standards and requirements for businesses to adhere their processes to.

Since forming in 1947, The International Organization for Standardization has established the world’s largest set of recognized business principles, with a membership of over 165 esteemed national standards bodies. To boot, over one million companies and organizations in over 170 countries have some form of ISO certification.

ISO 14000 series
The number 14000 is an identifier that refers to the broad family of Environmental Management System (EMS) standards. These standards are designed to help organizations:

Minimize the environmental damage of their operations.
Comply with laws, regulations, and other environmentally-orientated requirements.
Adopt processes to continually improve on the above.
These 3 principles noted work in tandem, collectively encompassed into an organization’s Environmental Management System (EMS). The meaning of an EMS is discussed later. In summary, the ISO 14000 series gives guidance for organizations to design, implement, and optimize an Environmental Management System.

The ISO 14000 series can be used by any type of organization regardless of activity or operating sector. Company management and external stakeholders are provided with an assurance that the environmental impacts of business are continually measured, managed, and improved.

The number following 140 refers to specified standards within the 14000 series of standards. That is, typically multiples of 1000 refer to the family, and anything in between refers to a specific standard (e.g. 14001, 14004, 14015, etc).