Anything to do with recycling in Westminster should be on here, from what to do with old postage stamps to how to deal with shredded paper.
Aerosols can be recycled with your mixed recycling. Make sure they are empty and put them in your recycling bag, box or bin for collection.
See hazardous waste.
Waste and recycling collection arrangements do not change for bank holidays except on Christmas Day when there are no residential collections. Keep an eye on the Westminster Reporter, e-newsletter and website if Christmas Day falls on your normal collection day. The Micro Recycling Centres will be open 8am to 8pm on Christmas Day.
There are no changes to collections at Easter.
Westminster residents can recycle household batteries (lead and dry cell) at local libraries, CityWest Homes estate offices and the mobile recycling centre. Selected schools also have a battery collection container for use by their pupils and parents.
High street retailers that sell batteries such as Boots, Tesco, Sainsburys and Ryness also accept batteries for recycling .
Instead of buying normal batteries, why not buy rechargeable batteries? They last longer and are better for the environment.
Car batteries can be recycled at the Reuse and Recycling Centre or ask your supplier to take the old one back.
See also mobile phone.
You can sell or give away your bicycle through websites such as freecycle or eBay. You can also take it to Smugglers Way in Wandsworth or use the bulky waste service. Look at the re-cycle website to see if there is a charity you could give it to.
You can now buy recycled bin liners in most supermarkets.
If you already have a recycling box, you can continue to use it for your mixed recycling collections.
If you would like a recycling box please call us on: 020 7641 2000.
Blister packs, such as the packaging commonly used for pills, tablets and disposable contact lenses, should be put in the rubbish. Blister packs generally have a plastic pocket section (eg for pills) covered with a plasticised aluminium seal. The materials from this type of packaging cannot be separated at the recycling facility.
Bottles and jars can be recycled. Just put them in your recycling bag, box or bin for collection. Please rinse before recycling, and include bottle tops and jar lids.
Empty bread bags can be taken to Church Street Library to be recycled as part of a Terracycle recycling scheme.
We can't recycle bubble wrap at the moment but it can be easily reused to wrap up valuables which are going in storage or being posted. If you cannot reuse it put it in with your rubbish.
See light bulbs.
Cans and tins can be recycled. Just put them in your recycling bag, box or bin for collection but please rinse them out first.
Please remove any plastic bags, bubble wrap and polystyrene from your cardboard packaging and squash the cardboard flat. It can then be put in your bag, recycling box or bin to be recycled. If you have boxes that are too large to fit in your container or you have quite a few, flatten and bundle together and place beside your container for collection.
We cannot take carpets for recycling. Please do not leave carpets out with your normal rubbish for collection as you could be fined. Find out about bulky waste collections
You can recycle cartons in your mixed recycling.
Remember to rinse and squash your cartons, and screw the lids back on before recycling.
The cartons will be sorted from the other items at the Materials Recovery Facility.
CDs and DVDs in working order can be donated to your local charity shop or bring them to the mobile recycling centre for recycling.
Flatten down the cardboard and add them to your recycling bag, box or bin for collection.
If these are unbroken, you can donate these to a charity shop. Otherwise please put these in your rubbish as they cannot be recycled. Be careful to wrap up any sharp edges.
Old cards and paper can be re-used for making present tags or paper chains. Otherwise, you can recycle them by putting them in your recycling bag, box or bin for collection. Remember - metallic paper cannot be recycled so try not to buy it!
Check to see if you are affected by any changes to your residential recycling and rubbish collection day over the festive period.
See the Household Waste Recycling Centre website
Sorry, we can't collect cling film for recycling. Reduce the amount of cling film you use by storing sandwiches and food in sealable plastic containers.
For advice or help with residential or commercial clinical waste issues, such as used needles or sharps, you can contact us on 0800 358 0514.
For needles and syringes located on the public highway, contact the Environment Action Line on 020 7641 2000.
All your unwanted clothing, in good or poor condition, can be taken to an on-street Scope textile bin.
See textile recycling.
If you have more than 20 bags, please contact Scope directly for a pick up.
Disposable coffee cups cannot currently be recycled as they can cause problems with our sorting machines and contaminate the paper stream. Please put your disposable coffee cups in your household rubbish. Why not reduce the number of coffee cups you use by using a reusable coffee cup?
If you are out and about in Westminster look out for our disposable coffee cup recycling points.
Most charities have a scheme where you can donate your unwanted foreign currency.
Composting in Westminster is easy. Discounted composting bins are available to all Westminster residents.
If your computer is in good working order you could try selling it using local classified advertisements or online on eBay. If you can't sell it you could give it away within your community using Freecycle.
Laptops can be recycled using SocialBox.Biz who provide homeless and vulnerable people with refurbished laptops and computer training.
Take care when disposing of old computers to ensure all personal information is removed to avoid identity theft and fraud. Westminster City Council advise disposal of computers via take back schemes at shops or alternative secure means. Computers, IT equipment and flat screen monitors up to 16" screen size can be taken to one of our small appliances recycling bins. The bins are located on street therefore security cannot be guaranteed, take extra care to remove all data. See electrical goods for details.
Old-style CRT computer monitors are classified as hazardous waste. See electrical goods for details.
Also see printer cartridges.
Johnson & Johnson Vision and TerraCycle run a free recycling scheme for contact lenses and contact lens packaging. For further information please go to their website.
When the wrong thing is put in the mixed recycling this is known as 'contamination'. Large amounts of contamination can lead to the rest of the recycling in the container, or recycling lorry, being disposed of as rubbish rather than being processed for recycling. Common 'contaminants' include food waste, garden waste, plastic films, polystyrene and black bags.
Natural corks can be used to make a notice board or, if sliced finely, can be put in a compost bin. Plastic corks cannot be recycled.
Please put crisp packets in with your household rubbish. Walkers does operate a crisp packet recycling scheme. Go to their website and find your nearest crisp packet recycling point.
Empty crisp packets can be taken to Church Street Library to be recycled as part of a Terracycle recycling scheme. Please note only crisp packets can be accepted (for example, popcorn bags are not accepted).
Pringle tubes can also be taken to Church Street Library to be recycled as part of a Terracycle recycling scheme. Please note no other types of tubes can be accepted.
All households in Westminster have a doorstep recycling service.
How to recycle at home
These can be recycled - just put them in your recycling bag, box or bin for collection. Please rinse out your bottles before you put them out.
Find out what else can be recycled
If these are clean and in good condition, some charity shops will take them. Find out more about a bulky waste collection.
See CDs .
Cardboard egg boxes can be torn up and added to your compost bin or they can be added to your mixed recycling.
Plastic egg boxes, like other plastic trays, can be recycled in Westminster.
All waste electrical and electronic equipment must be collected separately from general rubbish to be reused or recycled.
You can also bring your small appliances to the mobile recycling centre
*Please note technically you can recycle computers using these bins, but we are not liable for the theft of personal data from your equipment if placed in the recycling bins, and residents are advised they should remove SIM cards from mobile phones. A guaranteed safe method of disposal of computers is to use your retailer's take back scheme, arrange a bulky waste collection with us, or take your computer to the reuse and recycling centre
Before considering disposal please consider repair. Companies exist that are happy to repair a range of large electrical items. See an example. Westminster City Council does not endorse a particular company for repairs and accept no responsibility for any agreements entered into.
Fridges, freezers, other large domestic appliances, old-style TVs, computers etc that no longer work can be taken to the Reuse and Recycling centre.
Alternatively you can arrange a bulky waste collection. All electrical items collected will be recycled.
Switch off electrical appliances not in use. Televisions, computers and stereos still use 50% of the electricity on standby as they do when they're on.
If you can't reuse old envelopes, recycle them. You don't need to remove the transparent window - just put it in your recycling box, bag or bin.
It's easy to recycle on your estate.
Old fabric can be dropped off for reuse or recycling in the on-street Scope textile recycling bins.
See textile recycling.
Cooking fat should not be poured down the drain as it causes blockages. Seal it in a container and put it out with your normal rubbish. Alternatively, mix it with bird seed and leave it to solidify. You can then put it out on your windowsill or from a tree and feed the birds in the winter.
For more information on the importance of keeping drains free from blockages, visit: water.org.uk/caring-about-waste
To reduce unwanted marketing faxes, register with the Fax Preference Service on 0845 0700 702 or register online at Mailing Preference Service. Recycle any you do get.
See water filters.
Our household waste recycling centre in Wandsworth and collection services do not accept fire extinguishers. Extinguishers placed in the household waste bin are dangerous. Manufacturers should have information regarding their safe disposal. As a Westminster resident you can contact 'Fire Protection Recycling' to book a free collection. Please clearly state that you are a Westminster resident. Following verification a collection will be arranged by 'Fire Protection Recycling'.
Everyone in Westminster has access to a recycling service. If you live in a portered block, ask your porter for details on the recycling service in your block.
How to start recycling
Aluminium foil and foil trays can be recycled with your mixed recycling. Simply compress it into a ball or push it into an aluminium can. Loose sheets of foil cannot be distinguished easily from paper at our materials recovery facility.
Please note crisp packets and other foil-like films cannot be recycled at home; they need to go in with your household rubbish. However, Walkers has a crisp packet recycling scheme. Take a look at their website and find your nearest recycling point.
Food waste isn't separately collected in Westminster, please put it in your rubbish. Reducing the amount of food waste you produce could save your family £50 a month by planning your shopping better, using up leftovers and making the most of your fridge/freezer.
Research suggests food waste makes up the largest part of a household's rubbish so throwing out less food waste can help the environment and save you money.
For information on how your household can reduce food waste and save money, visit Love Food Hate Waste.
You can also buy an appliance for your kitchen from Smart Cara to significantly reduce the amount of food waste in your kitchen.
From the 1st July 2007, the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive requires WEEE to be collected separately from general waste to be reused or recycled. Read more information on WEEE.
To recycle your freezer or fridge, see large electrical appliances.
There are lots of companies who will take old furniture for recycling or you can donate it to charity shops and second-hand shops.
If your items are in good condition, you could try selling them second hand using local classified adverts or by using websites such as eBay or FridayAD Alternatively you can give them away using local networks such as freecycle
Alternatively you can arrange a bulky waste collection. Please do not put furniture out with your rubbish as you could be fined.
Westminster residents can also take furniture to the Reuse or Recycling Centre at Smuggler's Way.
See office furniture.
Garden chemicals are classified as hazardous household waste and must be disposed of carefully. Contact the City of London on 020 7332 3433 for the hazardous household waste collection and disposal service which is free of charge.
Using a compost bin or heap is the best option for your garden and for the environment. See composting.
Alternatively please dispose of your garden waste with your normal rubbish. Large trunks and logs will require a bulky waste collection.
Gas bottles are classified as hazardous household waste and must be disposed of carefully, due to the trace amounts of gas that may remain and cause explosions at the recycling facilities.
In most instances the company or organisation that provided the gas cylinder will arrange to collect it so that they can re-use it. If the cylinder is an LP gas cylinder the customer should contact the LP Gas Association on 08457 626379.
Wrapping paper can be recycled as normal in your box, bag or bin. Avoid metallic/foil paper and anything with glitter as these cannot be recycled.
Glass bottles and jars can be recycled. Just put them carefully in your recycling bag, box or bin for collection.
Broken sheet glass, window pane glass, mirrors, pyrex and filament light bulbs (non-energy saving) cannot be recycled as they are made of a different type of glass. Please wrap and tape in newspaper and add to your household rubbish.
Old glasses in good condition can be donated to developing countries around the world. Ask your local optician if they collect them or send them in a sturdy box to Vision Aid Overseas, 12 The Bell Centre, Manor Royal, Crawley, W. Sussex, RH10 2FZ.
Westminster residents can also take spectacles to the Reuse or Recycling Centre at Smuggler's Way.
Grass can be composted easily. See composting.
Chemicals, batteries, electronic equipment and liquid paint are all classified as hazardous waste and should not be disposed of with your rubbish or mixed recycling.
In most homes over 50% of materials put in the household rubbish can be recycled.
What can I recycle?
See printer cartridges.
Glass jars can be recycled. Just put them in your recycling bag, box or bin for collection.
You can put your junk mail in the recycling.
To stop unaddressed mail being delivered to your address, register your address with Royal Mail.
To stop receiving unsolicited addressed mail, register with the Mailing Preference Service.
You can buy recycled kitchen towel from supermarkets. Better still, use cotton dish cloths, which can be re-used. Please put used kitchen towels in your rubbish.
Westminster has two bins for knives which are not operated by Westminster City Council. For more information have a look at the Word 4 Weapons website.
Knives should never be disposed of loose in rubbish or recycling bags due to the risk that they pose to collection staff and the general public.
Knives, cutlery and other sharp items like broken crockery, mirrors and drinking glasses must be wrapped and taped in plastic, paper or bubble wrap and placed in a sealed and secure rigid cardboard box or plastic container marked with ‘SHARP ITEMS’.
You don't have to remove the labels from cans and bottles - just remember to rinse them out before you recycle them.
Please see information on computers.
See printer cartridges.
Leaves can be composted. See composting. If you have no access to a compost bin place the leaves in your waste bags.
Put jar lids, metal screw caps, plastic bottle tops, tray lids and clean plastic yoghurt pot lids in your mixed recycling.
Energy saving light bulbs and fluorescent tubes contain small amounts of mercury, which is hazardous, and should not be put into your rubbish or mixed recycling.
Please take your energy saving light bulbs to the following locations to be recycled:
Ryness accept fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent bulbs for recycling and Ryness stores in or near Westminster include:
Robert Dyas stores in or near Westminster include:
To find your nearest light bulb recycling point, please check Recolight’s locator.
Filament bulbs (old-style, halogen or non-energy saving) cannot be recycled and should be put in your household rubbish, wrapped in paper.
Replace your old light bulbs with energy saving ones they last eight times longer, use a quarter of the energy and give the same brightness. LED lighting, though more expensive, is becoming a better long-term investment as it is even more energy-efficient.
Look out for toilet paper made from recycled paper - most supermarkets now stock it. When the roll is finished, you can put the cardboard roll in your mixed recycling collection.
Magazines can be recycled. Put them in your recycling box, bag or bin for collection.
Any plastic wrapping around magazines, such as plastic film wrapping or compostable starch-based wrapping, cannot be recycled in Westminster. Please put these types of wrapping in your rubbish.
Beauty Banks collect, repackage and distribute parcels with essential personal care and beauty items to their charity partners.
Please do not put your mattress out with your rubbish as you could be fined. You can either arrange for your mattress to be collected using a bulky waste collection or you can take your mattress to be disposed of at the household waste recycling centre at Smugglers Way.
Unfinished bottles of medicines or tablets should be returned to your local chemist. For larger amounts see information on the City of London Hazardous Household Waste Collection Service
Metal tins and cans can be recycled. Just put them out in your bag or box or mixed recycling bin.
Scrap metal can be taken to the Reuse and Recycling Centre at Smuggler's Way.
Plastic milk bottles can be recycled and should be added to your mixed recycling.
Glass milk bottles cannot be recycled - they are made from a different kind of glass to other bottles and jars. Please return them to your milkman or to the shop you bought them from.
Rinse these out, squash and add them to your mixed recycling.
Rinse these out, squash and add them to your mixed recycling.
Large mirrors can be collected as part of the bulky waste collection service. Don't put them out with your rubbish as you could be fined.
Did we miss your recycling? There may be a reason for this. Was the box or bag put out on time? Did it have the correct materials in it? If the answer is yes to all of these questions please report it online.
You could also take your paper, glass, cans and other materials to your local micro-recycling centres.
Simply Drop and Scope will all accept your old mobiles and chargers. Contact any of them to find out how to donate. Alternatively bring your phones and chargers to the mobile recycling centre or recycle them in our on-street small electrical appliances recycling bins.
Please remove all SIM cards.
Although nappies can't be recycled, you can use real cloth nappies to help protect the environment. Westminster offer a rebate for the washing of nappies. It is £48 for all residents who decide to use real nappies for the first time. Find out more about real nappies.
See clinical waste.
These can be recycled. Put them in your recycling box, bag or bin for collection.
Every residential property in Westminster should have access to the recycling collection service. Please use the search facility to check if your building has a service.
Engine oil and cooking oil can be taken to the Reuse and Recycling Centres at Smuggler's Way. Cooking oil should never be poured down the sink. As a last resort cooking oil can be put into a container and placed in your normal rubbish.
Most packaging can be recycled using the recycling services in Westminster.
If an item cannot be recycled try to reduce the amount of this type of packaging you purchase at the supermarket. When you next go out shopping, make an active choice not to buy goods which have a lot of packaging (e.g. If you can, choose to purchase loose fruit and vegetables rather than pre-packed).
For more information on the work being carried out nationally to reduce the amount of packaging being wasted please visit the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) website.
Leftover paint can be donated to Community Repaint for use by individuals, families and organisations in need.
For small quantities of paint remove the lid and leave the paint to dry out, or dry it out on some newspaper, and then put it out with your household rubbish. Liquid paint is hazardous to the collection crews and should not be put out for collection.
For larger quantities (up to 50L) you can arrange a free collection. See the hazardous household waste page for details.
Most forms of paper can be recycled including the following: junk mail, letters, envelopes, birthday cards, office paper, telephone directories, magazines, card and cardboard. You can just add them to your mixed recycling.
Cans, cartons, paper bags and plastic trays can be recycled. Rinse them out and add to your mixed recycling.
Please put plastic pouches in your rubbish.
What can I recycle?
You can recycle plastic bottles, pots, tubs and food trays, including plastic tops and lids in Westminster. Watch the secret life of plastics on You Tube!
You cannot recycle plastic film, plant pots, polystyrene or CD cases in our mixed recycling.
It is not particularly helpful to look at the plastic types as in Westminster you can recycle all of types 1 and 2 but only some of types 5 and 6.
For example, type 5 margarine tubs and type 6 yoghurt pots can be recycled. However, type 5 Tupperware and type 6 foam burger boxes should be put in the rubbish.
If an item cannot be recycled try to reduce the amount of this type of plastic you purchase at the supermarket. When you next go out shopping, make an active choice not to buy goods which have a lot of plastic packaging (eg if you can, choose to purchase loose fruit and vegetables rather than pre-packed).
From 5 October, 2015 there will be a 5p charge on single-use plastic carrier bags in England. Over 8 billion plastic bags are used each year in the UK.
Plastic bags can't be recycled in Westminster as they are very lightweight and get caught between the sheets of paper at the sorting facility. They can then damage the machinery at the paper recycling plant.
When you next go shopping, why not take some plastic bags with you. Better still, purchase a "Bag for Life" or take a canvas bag to carry your shopping in - not only are they stronger but they can be reused many times.
Plastic syringes and spoons, which are often supplied with children's medicines and do not contain needles, should be put in the rubbish.
Additionally, plastic cutlery and plastic tableware should be put in the rubbish.
This cannot be recycled in Westminster. When buying new things, make a conscious effort to buy things with as little packaging as possible. More and more distributors are also switching to eco-friendly alternatives such as starch and wool-based padding.
Some charities collect old stamps to raise money. Try searching on the internet to see if your favourite charity runs a stamp collection scheme. If you cannot find a charity then send them to the Royal National Institute for the Blind.
Alternatively you can leave them on the envelope and put the envelope in your recycling bag/box.
Empty Pringle tubes can also be taken to Church Street Library to be recycled as part of a Terracycle recycling scheme. Please note no other types of tubes can be accepted.
You can refill many different types of printer cartridges or recycle them by taking them to specialist shops such as Cartridge World.
The Recycling Factory offers a Freepost service for residents who would like to recycle their inkjet and toner cartridges. Please check their up-to-date list of the inkjet cartridges that they current accept on their scheme via their website. If you have larger laser toner cartridges to recycle please email firstname.lastname@example.org and the Recycling Factory will confirm if they can recycle them.
This can not be recycled as it can explode when heated up in the glass recycling furnace. If you have broken pyrex glass, wrap it carefully and put it out with your normal rubbish collection.
Empty and clean pet food pouches, dry pet food packaging and pet treat packaging can be taken to Church Street Library to be recycled as part of a Terracycle recycling scheme.
If you have a garden, why not collect rainwater in a water butt for use on your plants? You can buy water butts for your garden at a reduced price and with free delivery to your home by using this special offer for Westminster residents.
Soil and rubble can be taken to Smuggler's Way. Don't put it out with your rubbish as you could be fined.
Alternatively, you could hire a skip or skip bags. Check in your telephone directory or search the internet to find local skip hire companies.
Many schools are entitled to a free recycling service. Recycling at school
See clinical waste.
See plastic bags.
We accept shredded paper but if you put it in a paper envelope it will help our recycling machines to turn the paper into new products more easily.
A range of skip companies are available and we recommend that you obtain several quotes from different sources. Skip and Bin is a price comparison website that could be used in addition to other sources.
Around a third of all the food we buy ends up being thrown away and most of this could have been eaten. It's not just peelings, cores and bones, but rather excess food from cooked meals, and food that ends up passing its use by date.
If we stopped wasting food which could have been eaten, it would have the same impact on reducing carbon emissions as taking 1 in 5 cars off UK roads.
Here are a few tips to being a smart shopper:
There are more useful hints and tips from Love Food Hate Waste.
Please put straws in the household rubbish.
If the container is made of plastic you can clean it and place it in your recycling. Please put polystyrene containers in the rubbish. The best action for the environment is to find an alternative use for the containers such as storing small DIY parts.
See electrical goods.
Your unwanted clothing and fabrics can be reused or recycled by donating at one of our on-street Scope textile recycling bins. Place all your clothes, shoes, belts, bags, duvets, sheets, curtains and table cloths together in the bin, ensuring all material is clean. All items suitable for reuse will be sold at a scope charity shop in London and any items unsuitable for reuse will be recycled. You can also give your textiles to the mobile recycling centre .
Wood can be taken to Smuggler's Way for recycling. Alternatively you could hire a skip. You can arrange a bulky waste collection. Small amounts of small items such as wooden spoons and chopping boards can be put in the refuse.
Tissue paper is not recyclable, please put it in your rubbish.
Please put your used, non-electric toothbrushes in your household rubbish. Remember you can recycle your electric toothbrushes using our on-street small electrical appliances recycling bins.
Most charity shops and other organisations will accept toys in good condition. Alternatively bring them to the mobile recycling centre for reuse or recycling.
See junk mail.
Vegetable peel can be put into your compost bin. See composting.
Old videos tapes in working order can be donated to your local charity shop.
Westminster Recycling Champions are volunteers who encourage others in their community to waste less and recycle more. They are crucial to helping us get the recycling message out to Westminster’s diverse communities. Champions don’t need any experience and can get involved as much or as little as they like. Activities include helping to run a stall at community events, chatting to friends and neighbours about recycling, running a swap shop and looking out for any problems with the recycling facilities in your area.
Squash them flat and add them to your recycling.
There are many ways you can reduce, reuse and recycle water in the home:
See also rainwater.
We are aware that used water filters can be recycled at many local high street shops (see list below). Please contact your local shop first to check if they have a recycling bin for water filters.
Get more information about recycling water filters on the Brita website.
Any plastic wrapping (for example found around magazines), including wrapping made from potato starch or polythene, should be put in the rubbish.
Please put your yellow pages in the mixed recycling
Yoghurt pots can be added to your mixed recycling. Please rinse to remove any residue from them before recycling.
See also plastic.
Batteries have zinc in them - see batteries for how you can recycle them.