What goes in my green-lidded bin?

Thank you for continuing to put the right things in your green-lidded bin. If you are unsure about a particular item, or have general questions about your recycling, read the information below.

Putting the correct items in the green-lidded bin means that waste can continue to be recycled in the way that we like to see.

Putting the wrong items in the green-lidded bin can contaminate what is otherwise “good” waste to be recycled, which can lead to less waste being recycled and an increase in sorting costs with our contractors.

In a world full of different materials, it may seem difficult to get your household waste correctly sorted every week. For example, soft plastics can show recycling symbols or claim to be “100% recyclable”, despite the fact we cannot recycle them from your green-lidded bin. (Have a look at what you can do with soft plastics below.)

If in doubt, check our "Right Thing, Right Bin" leaflet in the downloads section, have a look at our other pages on household waste, or get in touch with us.

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What can go in my green-lidded recycling bin?

Items such as plastic tubs, bottles, glass, tins and cans are to go in the green-lidded bin. If you're unsure, check the Right Thing, Right Bin leaflet in the downloads section. This will tell you at a glance what can and can't go in all of your household bins.

What can't go in my green-lidded recycling bin?

Items which must not go in green-lidded bins include:

  • Paper and cardboard (such as paper, magazines, newspapers, greetings cards without glitter/foil, cereal packets, household packaging, etc. These should go in your purple or purple-lidded bin only, or in the black bin if damp, soiled or shredded), never the green-lidded bin.
  • Any takeaway packaging (black bin only for this even if it looks clean, unless it’s clear or light plastic which is rinsed and dry. Please don’t put parts of packaging which look clean in the recycling – it should all go in the black bin.)
  • Tissues or kitchen roll (black bin only)
  • PPE such as masks (black bin only for these, bagged)
  • Batteries or electrical items (these should not go in any household bins as they cause a hazard, but taken to your local recycling centre instead).
  • Soft plastics such as plastic bags and bread bags (these can go instead to soft plastics collection points at various shops and supermarkets or the black bin if not possible)
  • Polystyrene (black bin only for this)
  • Clothes/textiles (these can go to your recycling centre or donation points, or if not possible can go in the black bin as a last option)
  • Food pouches and crisp packets (local Terracycle schemes may be able to help, or put in the black bin if not possible)
  • Black or brown plastic food trays (black bin only)
  • Hard plastics e.g. old toys, plant pots (these are best being donated if in good condition, taken to your local household recycling centre or if not possible then the black bin as a last option with all batteries removed)

Why don't you take things that say they're recyclable?

We take lots of things that are recyclable, however not all items can go in the green-lidded bin even though they may have recycling symbols and statements like "100% recyclable" printed on them. 

It is best to look up the type of item you have in the Right Thing, Right Bin leaflet, rather than relying solely on what the packaging says. 

Why don't you collect the same things as other councils?

We collect the same items as other district councils in Lincolnshire, aside from one or two small differences. These items have been the same for a long time.

Why do we have to sort our recycling at home?

Our role is to collect your waste so it can go on to be processed and recycled. If wrong things go in bins, they can contaminate the rest of the items in the bin and even the lorry load itself. Some items may be ruined and cannot be recycled.

If everyone does their best to sort their recycling at home, we can ensure that as much waste as possible stays clean, dry and uncontaminated. It's all about taking responsibility for the things we put in our bins at home.

Once collected and given to the contractor in Lincolnshire, recycling is sorted using a part-automated-part-manual process. Staff at the contractor still need to sort the right materials into the relevant waste streams and to quality assure the materials.

What happens to my green-lidded bin once you collect it?

The contents of your green-lidded bin are taken to a waste transfer station where it is bulked up with of the day's waste from that waste stream. 

Correctly sorted recyclable waste from the green-lidded bins goes to the contractor in Lincolnshire to be sorted into plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, glass, and metals which are sent on to processors for recycling.

Is our recycling shipped overseas?

Our contractors maintain high standards in how the materials are processed and recycled, and are obliged to report on the end destinations of these materials. Where possible, all materials are recycled and used in the UK and, if not, a small amount may be sent to Europe where they are used to create new recycled products. 

All non-recyclable waste we collect in Lincolnshire is sent to the Energy From Waste facility at North Hykeham where it is used to create renewable energy and is not sent to landfill. 

Why can't takeaways boxes go in my recycling?

They can't go in at all, even if they look clean. Put them in the black bin, where they'll be made into electricity.

Takeaway food packaging absorbs grease and food residue which means they can't be recycled. 

We appreciate that some people may tear off cleaner parts of packaging but unfortunately our crews have to assume that the rest of the packaging has made its way into the bin too. 

What is "wish-cycling"?

We might put things in green-lidded bins that we feel should be recycled, or that we hope can be. Unfortunately, this isn't what is best for the environment as these items cannot be recycled from the green-lidded bin and may contaminate other good recycling and incur increased sorting costs.

If in doubt, check the Right Thing, Right Bin leaflet.

I'd rather put items in the green-lidded bin than send them to landfill

Please put items that can't be recycled in the black bin. 

From the black bin, they'll be made into electricity - very little waste in Lincolnshire goes to landfill. 

Try to find other uses for non-recyclable items first. For example, soft plastics such as carrier bags and crisp packets can go to soft plastic collection points in lots of supermarkets and shops.

What are hard plastics and which bin do they go in?

"Hard plastics" are items such as old toys and plant pots, and can't be recycled from your green-lidded bin. Reuse, donate or take these items to your local Household Waste Recycling centre, or put in the black bin with any batteries removed.

A local gardening centre may appreciate a donation of some old plant pots, and you could donate childrens toys in good condition to local groups. 

Can I have a smaller green-lidded bin?

We don't have any green-lidded bins that are smaller than the standard size. 

In the trial areas, it was found that the standard size bins were about right to meet most people's needs.


This is all too confusing, why should I keep trying?

We really do hope households will stick with it and keep up their fantastic efforts - already in the loads being collected there is less contamination than before and the materials look cleaner and drier.

It's important we all keep at it - recycling is one of the most direct things we can all do at home to help reduce the world's dependency on new materials and natural resources. 

I still need help with my recycling

We'd be really keen to speak with anyone who is vulnerable in any way and feels that they're struggling so we can offer the most appropriate assistance and advice.

If you know of anyone, please do encourage them to give us a call or email us.