Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

Find out what items you can recycle at home

What can I put in my recycling bin?  

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Plastic bottles (please rinse)
  • Food and drink cans/tins (please rinse)
  • Aerosol cans

  • Small electrical items (such as hairdryers, toasters etc.) can also be put out alongside your normal recycling collection.
  1. Remove any glass, such as lightbulbs
  2. Put items in a normal sized carrier bag
  3. Place on top of the lid of your recycling bin or box on collection day.

What can't I put in my recycling bin?  

  • Plastic packaging such as food trays, yoghurt pots or margarine tubs
  • Cartons such as juice or soya milk cartons
  • Glass - find your nearest glass recycling bank here. See below about disposing of lightbulbs.
  • Carrier bags 
  • Aluminium foil 
  • Polystyrene
  • Clothes - you can take these to your local textile recycling bank.
  • Lightbulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs and fluorescent tubes can be recycled at the Household Waste and Recycling Centre. Halogen lightbulbs should be disposed of in the black bin/bags - please ensure these are placed safely in a plastic container or wrapped up in newspaper. Please do not place lightbulbs in the glass banks.

Find more recycling banks near you


What does the red hanger on my bin mean?

The recycling collection crew will check the top layer of your recycling bin before emptying the bin. This is to stop too many items which cannot be recycled in Portsmouth entering the recycling stream. It is very costly to remove such items, , at the sorting facility.

If the crew see too many non-recyclable items in the bin or one large non-recyclable item, they will not empty it and leave a red hanger on the handle of the bin. This will also be recorded on the vehicle's on-board computer system.

If your recycling has been left, please check the contents of the bin. The hanger on the recycling bin or the diagrams above can help you. The most common type of non-recyclable items found in recycling bins are plastic pots, tubs, trays and carrier bags. A large non-recyclable item would be a glass bottle or black bag, for example.

Please remove any non-recyclable items from the recycling bin before your next collection. You can place extra recycling in a cardboard box alongside your bin on your next collection.

For answers to frequently asked questions about recycling in Portsmouth, check out our mythbusting page.

Sometimes, the collection crew do miss bins by accident. If this happens please call 023 9284 1105 or report a missed collection online.

What if I can't put my recycling out? 

If you have a medical condition that prevents you from putting your recycling out please contact us to request an assisted collection.

Where it goes and what happens to it 

The recycling lorry takes the waste to the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF). Inside the MRF, the waste is emptied and sorted into the different types of material. These sorted materials are then sent to factories to turn the old waste into new items:

  • Drink cans - more drink cans, foil, window frames
  • Plastic bottles - fleece jumpers, garden furniture, sleeping bag filling
  • Paper - new paper, newspapers
  • Steel - paper clips, washing machines, cutlery
  • Cardboard - toilet rolls, egg boxes

For more information, visit Hampshire County Council's 'What happens to recycling' page

You can order a new/extra green bin for recycling using our online form.

Great British Spring Clean: Free kerbside clothes collection

The Great British Spring Clean is being postponed to direct resources to more essential services in relation to the coronavirus.

If you have already sorted your clothes using the materials we sent to you in your council tax bill, please hang on to them until restrictions on movement have been lifted and textile banks have been re-opened.​

We will provide information about the new dates as soon as we are able to.

How to put your bin out 

For details on how to put your recycling bin out for collection please read the guidelines.