What to do with
Most packaging is recyclable but it will need to be separated and sorted.
Our food packaging comes in all shapes and sizes, and is made from many types of materials. It is designed to protect the product on its journey through the supply chain – from the manufacturer to the shops and then on to our homes. It is recommended that we keep food in the packaging it is supplied in to optimise freshness and make it last longer.
Many types of packaging are easy to recycle at home while others need to be taken to special collection points. Some packaging items are not recyclable and should be put in the rubbish bin. See the guide below:
To help us identify what we can recycle, many products use a label that shows how we should dispose of it. These labels are referred to as ‘on-pack recycling labels’. Before recycling your packaging, remove any food or drink reside by rinsing it in your used washing up water. Squash items if possible to make more space in your bin.
Food & drink cans – these are widely recycled and can be recycled at home or at your local recycling centre.
Plastic bottles – these are widely recycled and can be recycled at home or at your local recycling centre.
Plastic pots, tubs and trays – check locally. Increasingly these items are being accepted in household recycling schemes but many do not collect them yet. Contact your council to find out if you can recycle them in your area. These items can be recycled at most household waste and recycling centres.
Plastic films and carrier bags – Although these are not usually collected as part of your recycling service, they can be recycled in the carrier bag collection points at the larger stores of most major retailers including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, The Co-op and Waitrose. An ‘on-pack’ label for film recycling will increasingly be appearing on products.
Types of plastic film accepted
Types of plastic film not accepted
Plastic carrier bags
Any non-Polyethylene film (e.g. PP, PVC, others)
Plastic bread bags
Plastic bags from breakfast cereals
Plastic wrappers from multipacks of cans and plastic bottles
Plastic wrappers from toilet roll and kitchen towel
Food and drink pouches
Plastic freezer bags
Film lids from food trays
Plastic magazine (home delivery) and newspaper wrap
Cardboard tubes and boxes – these are widely recycled and can be recycled at home or at your local recycling centre. Some items are made from two materials – cardboard and metal. These are more difficult to recycle and are not usually accepted in your recycling bin.
Polystyrene trays – these cannot be recycled. Please put them in the rubbish bin.
Cartons – Check with your local council. These are widely recycled but schemes do vary across the country – in some areas you can put them in your recycling bin at home, in others you will need to take them to the recycling centre.
Glass bottles and jars – these are widely recycled. If you council does not accept glass in your household recycling scheme, you can take them to the glass recycling banks (or bottle banks).
Foil trays - check with your local council to see if these can be recycled in your household recycling bin or at your local recycling centre.