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Recycling – what CAN we recycle?

This question comes up a lot at home. Usually it is a piece of plastic that some of us think can be recycled and others do not. Which bin do we put it in?! We do not want to just throw it away as it COULD be recycled, but we do not want to just put it in the recycling as that creates more work down the line if it CANNOT be recycled!

Thankfully, our local council has updated what we can and cannot recycle for us. Here is our very comprehensive list for Norfolk, UK:


  • Newspapers and magazines
  • White and coloured paper
  • Greetings cards (without glitter)
  • Envelopes (including ones with windows, but not ones with bubble wrap padding)
  • Junk mail (remove from any plastic packaging)
  • Clean paper bags
  • Telephone directories, yellow pages, store directories and catalogues
  • Clean wrapping paper (without glitter or cellotape)
  • Shredded paper (please make sure this is put in your bin loosely and not in bags)


  • Cereal boxes
  • Egg boxes
  • Cardboard tubes (poster, kitchen and toilet roll tubes)
  • Cardboard packaging and carrier trays (like fruit and vegetable trays)
  • Cardboard sleeves
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Clean food packaging card (including  with plastic windows such as pre-packed sandwiches)


  • Clean food and drink cartons (including Tetra Pak cartons for milk, juices, smoothies and soups)

Please make sure your cartons are empty and rinsed out and remove any lids as we cannot recycle them


  • Clean steel and aluminium food tins and drink cans
  • Clean pet food tins

Please make sure your tins and cans are empty and rinsed out

  • Empty aerosol cans (including personal and beauty product aerosols, cleaning products and domestic insecticides (such as fly-spray aerosols)

Please remove any lids as these cannot be recycled


  • Clean aluminium foil
  • Clean foil trays (like ones used for ready meals and take away food)

Please rinse or wipe your foil trays out

Please don’t put aluminium foil laminate pouches (like those used for cat and dog food) in your recycling bin as we cannot recycle them.


  • Clean bottle and jar-shaped glass food and drink containers

You can leave the lids or tops on, but please make sure your bottles and jars are empty and rinsed out

Please do not put any other types of glass (like Pyrex, mirror or window glass) in your recycling bin as we cannot recycle them

Plastic bottles

  • Plastic food and drink bottles
  • Personal care/beauty products (like shampoo and shower gel)
  • Household cleaning products (such as bleach and floor cleaner)
  • Trigger spray and pump spray bottles (like kitchen or bathroom cleaner)
  • Household cooking and food oil bottles
  • Roller-ball bottles
  • Empty medication/pill bottles

You can leave the lids or tops on, but please make sure your bottles are empty and rinsed out

Plastic tubs

  • Clean food containers including yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, ice cream tubs and fruit punnets
  • Clean food trays used for fruits, vegetables, raw and cooked meat and fish
  • Clean pots including ones used for custards, creams, fresh sauces and gravies
  • Clean ready meal plastic containers (including black plastic trays)

Please ensure your plastic pots, tubs and trays are empty and rinsed out.

Plastic lids can be left on, but cellophane lids and cling film need to be removed as we cannot recycle these.

Further to this there are many items that arent included on this list that could be taken to your local Terracycle collector. This usually includes petfood pouches, crisp packets, toothpaste tubes, coffee pods, pens and brushes and many other things. Check here for your nearest host who makes money for a charity doing this.

Supermarkets will take all stretchy polythene including bread bags, bubble wrap (although charity shops can use it and try to remove sellotape), rings & plastic holding multipack bottles & cans together (cut open to avoid strangling animals), anything with the instruction “Recycle with bags at larger stores”, carrier bags, plastic with code 02 or 04, courier bags & dry cleaning covers (cut off any paper label), cereal packet inners, toilet roll & nappy pack outers.

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