Plastic Recycling - SORTED!

Plastic recycling banner with examples of types of plastic

Last year in Leeds we recycled almost 4,500 tonnes of plastic – that’s the weight of over 30 blue whales!

With the average household throwing away over 40kg of plastic in their black bin each year, there is plenty more that can be recycled.

Yes please - green bin

✅ All plastic types 1 (PET), 2 (HDPE), 4 (LDPE) and 5 (PP), no black and brown plastic of any type


✅ Drinks bottles
✅ Milk bottles
✅ Cooking oil bottles
✅ Cleaning product bottles
✅ Skincare, shampoo and soap bottles

Pots, tubs and trays

✅ Yoghurt pots
✅ Butter and margarine tubs
✅ Ice cream tubs
✅ Sweet and chocolate tubs
✅ Fruit, meat and veg trays

Bags and wrapping

✅ Bread bags
✅ Toilet and kitchen roll wrappers
✅ Bubble wrap
✅ Stretchy fresh or frozen fruit and vegetable bags
✅ Carrier bags
✅ Stretchy wrapping from food tins and drinks can multipacks

Cartons (Tetra Paks)

✅ Milk, juice, coconut and soya cartons
✅ Tomato and custard cartons

No thanks - black bin

❌ Black or brown plastic
❌ Compostable and biodegradable plastic
❌ Crisp packets
❌ Cling film
❌ Film lids from fruit trays

Plastic toys in good condition can be taken to your local charity shop.

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Frequently asked questions

Why can’t all plastic types go in my green bin?

There are several different types of plastic materials, each with slightly different properties and recycled in different ways.           

There is an established market for the plastic types 1 (PETE), 2 (HDPE), 4 (LDPE), 5 (PP) and some type 6 (PS-E) items such as yoghurt pots, microwavable meal trays, margarine tubs and juice cartons. By asking residents for these types of plastic only we are making sure that the other types of plastic are not collected unnecessarily.           

Black and brown plastic is problematic when items are sorted at the materials recycling facility (MRF), as the infra-red technology is unable to identify it against the black background of the conveyor belt. Think black/brown plastic = black bin.           

Plastic products labelled as ‘biodegradable’ or ‘compostable’ cannot currently be recycled, either via your green recycling or brown garden waste bin. This type of plastic should be disposed of in your black general household waste bin. Biodegradable and compostable plastics must be segregated and dealt with separately to non-biodegradable plastics such as food containers, drinks and shampoo bottles, as they cannot be recycled in the same way.           

Do I need to ‘wash and squash’?

Please give plastic drink and milk bottles a quick rinse out before placing in your green bin or bag to avoid contamination.                     

Squashing them will give you extra space in your bin.                     

Please ensure your recyclable items are empty and dry. If your recycling gets wet, the paper and cardboard collected from green bins will become soggy and cannot be recycled.                     

You don’t need to rinse out bleach or cleaning product bottles – once empty they can be recycled in your green bin or bag with their lid on.                     

Can I leave caps/lids/triggers on?

Yes – they will get recycled along with the bottles.                     

What could my plastic bottle be recycled into?

Plastic bottles that were used for drinks can be remade again as a drinks bottle or, alternatively, remade into something completely different such as a children’s toy or football shirt. Other bottles such as shower gels or fabric conditioners will not be recycled into drinks bottles but could be reborn as a picnic bench or a chair.                     

Can cartons (Tetra Pak) be recycled?

From November 2019 Cartons (Tetra Paks) can be recycled in your green bin. The fibre from the cartons is recycled in to coreboard which is then converted into industrial tubes and cores. The plastic is recycled into new polymer products such as children’s play mats and the aluminium is used in products such as breeze blocks.                     

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