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Due to the short notice of the bank holiday and the changes in collection schedule, we are unable to provide recycling collections on Saturday 24 September (the delayed Friday 23 September collections).

Please retain your recycling until the next collection date on Friday 7 October. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes. For more information.

What can I put in my recycling bin?

      • Paper, including:
        • Magazines and newspapers
        • Window envelopes
      • Cardboard, including:
        • Cardboard egg boxes
        • Cardboard sleeves
        • Cereal boxes
      • Metal packaging, including:
        • Food and drink cans/tins (please rinse)
        • Aerosol cans
      • Plastic bottles (please rinse and put the lids back on), including:
        • Cleaner and detergent bottles
        • Milk bottles
        • Drinks bottles
        • Toiletries and shampoo bottles

      Important note: only bottle-shaped plastics can go in the green bin, regardless of their plastic types.

      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.
Recycle items

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. See below about disposing of lightbulbs.
  • Carrier bags
  • Aluminium foil
  • Polystyrene
  • Shredded paper
  • Clothes – you can take these to your local textile recycling bank.
  • Lightbulbs. Energy efficient lightbulbs 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.
  • Batteries –  if you live in a house, you can recycle these through the weekly collection service, there are more details here. You can also recycle batteries at local shops and supermarkets and the Portsmouth Household Waste Recycling Centre.
  • Face coverings, gloves and COVID-19 lateral flow device tests.

Find more recycling banks near you

Non recycle items

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 can’t be recycled in Portsmouth entering the recycling stream. It’s expensive to remove these items at the sorting facility.

If the crew see too many non-recyclable items in the bin or one large non-recyclable item, they won’t empty it. They will 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, check the contents of the bin. The hanger on the recycling bin will show you which items can’t be taken. 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.

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 mythbuster page.

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

How to put your bin out

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