Recycling quality is improving already thanks to you

Date Published: 03 November 2021

Some amazing recycling including perfect paper and cardboard is being collected in North Kesteven, all thanks to residents’ continued right thing right bin efforts.  

Over 99% of purple and purple-lidded bins presented last week could be emptied because they had only dry and clean paper and cardboard in, with 326 tonnes collected in total and initial sampling taken during these collections showing 98% quality perfect paper and cardboard.  

This incredible result is in only the second combined collections of purple and new purple-lidded bins in North Kesteven so far and all thanks to households. The paper and cardboard is recycled at a paper mill in Kings Lynn which in turn reduces demand on the planet’s natural resources.

Households are being asked to help keep up this amazing progress for the environment by continuing to put only the right things in both green-lidded and purple or purple-lidded bins. Recycling bins with wrong things in unfortunately can’t be emptied. 

Teams will be out during the next collections of green-lidded bins next week, from Monday 8 November, to check green-lidded bins for any problems.

They’ll leave tags where bins can’t be emptied because they’ve got the wrong things in, and give advice on recycling wherever possible on the ground.

Council Leader Councillor Richard Wright said: “I sincerely thank everyone who is trying their hardest to put only the right things in both their purple-lidded or purple and green-lidded recycling bins. It really does make a difference.  

“We never want to leave a bin unemptied and know that despite all people’s best efforts at home there are many different items and materials out there which can cause confusion, such as soft plastics like carrier bags and food packaging which cannot go in green-lidded bins at home. We’ll be doing all we can to keep sharing advice so households feel empowered and have all the information they need, as we continue to focus on recycling together.

“Recycling right isn’t the only or best answer, but it is one really effective action we can all take right now to help the environment. When combined with other things, such as reducing our waste, this positive impact is even bigger.”

During the last green-lidded recycling week, which took place from 11 October, contamination dropped from 33% to 16% thanks to households trying to put only the right things in their green-lidded bins. While this figure does reflect bins which unfortunately could not be emptied in that week as they contained wrong items, this drop in contamination level also means more of the items collected can go on to be recycled as many households expect to see. 

Contamination is a problem growing across Lincolnshire and is at a level now affecting all our recycling. When the wrong things go in recycling bins they transfer water, food residue and other contaminating substances onto otherwise good recycling in the bin or even the lorry load itself. This means less is recycled, which impacts on the environment, and it also causes increased costs from sorting.

Waste from the black bin goes on to be made into electricity from waste in North Hykeham, so residents can be assured it is better that non-recyclable items go in the black bin (if they cannot be reused, donated or taken to collection points) rather than contaminating otherwise good items of recycling. Very little waste in Lincolnshire goes to landfill.

The Council’s Right Thing Right Bin leaflet contains information on what can and can’t go in all of your household bins. There is also a wealth of information on recycling on our recycling webpage and this is being updated to help create a new recycling hub on the website launching soon for residents to use anytime.

You can sign-up for a regular newsletter and updates at

So, what can't go in green-lidded bins?

At a glance, 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)
Refuse lorry