A new policy has been brought in to promote better recycling and help residents get recycling right in Portsmouth. This is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure a cleaner and greener community.

In 2022, 1 in 5 items collected in the recycling bin was not recyclable in Portsmouth. Let’s get recycling right for a cleaner, greener Portsmouth.

What does the red hanger on my bin mean?

Incorrect items in the recycling bin are called contamination. These are expensive to remove at the sorting facility. So as part of their routine, the recycling collection crew checks the top layer of your recycling bin before emptying it.

If the crew see non-recyclable items in the bin they will not 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, please check:

  • the contents of the bin
  • the hanger on the recycling bin
  • or see more information on the recycling page.

Non-recyclable items

The most common type of non-recyclable items found in recycling bins are:

  • plastic pots
  • plastic tubs
  • plastic trays
  • carrier bags.

Some items cause even bigger problems, and could ruin other items in the recycling bin. This includes

  • glass
  • food
  • nappies
  • rubbish bags
  • batteries

If the crew spots any of these items your recycling won’t be collected.

Your next collection

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 call 023 9284 1105 or let us know by reporting it through the new portal.

This is how it works

Stage 1 – Red hanger: If contamination is detected in a recycling bin, it won’t be emptied, and residents will receive a red hanger that says what can and can’t be put in your green recycling bin.

Stage 2 – Telephone call: Reach out to our recycling and rubbish team for guidance and support if you’re unsure about the issue.

Stage 3 – Visit: Our waste management officer (WMO) will visit the property to offer personalised guidance. After the visit, the bin will be emptied as a goodwill gesture. Please note, only household waste-contaminated bins will be emptied.

If it happens again after the first occurrence, residents have 3 options:

  • De-contaminate the bin yourself: Remove non-recyclable materials, and the recycling bin will be collected on the next scheduled collection date.
  • Take contaminated waste to the HWRC: Book a slot and take it to the tip in Port Solent.
  • Request council service: Have the contaminated bin emptied as rubbish, but a call-out charge applies.

The current charges are as follows:

  • 55 litre – £6 per container
  • 140 litre – £14 per container
  • 180 litre – £18 per container
  • 240 litre – £24 per container
  • 360 litre – £36 per container (communal bin)
  • 660 litre – £66 per container (communal bin)
  • 1100 litre – £110 per container (communal bin)

If you’re unsure about what you can recycle in your green bin at home and how to recycle right, visit our dedicated recycling page. There is also a handy online checker to find out where and how to dispose of other materials.