Effective from 1 September, a new policy will be implemented to promote better recycling and help residents get recycling right in Portsmouth. This is part of the council’s ongoing commitment to Portsmouth’s City Vision and 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 too many non-recyclable items in the bin or one detrimental 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 see more information on the recycling page. The most common type of non-recyclable items found in recycling bins are plastic pots, tubs, trays and carrier bags. A detrimental item would be something that could ruin other items in the recycling bin like glass, some food, a nappy, a rubbish bag, or batteries.

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.

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 cannot 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 – WMO 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.

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.