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. Thought of something we haven't? Contact us and we'll find the answer.
Aerosols can be recycled with your mixed recycling. Make sure they are empty and put them in your recycling bag, basket 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 out for 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.
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 now buy biodegradable or recycled bin liners in most supermarkets.
Blue recycling bags and black boxes:
If you find that your recycling box cannot fit all your recyclable materials in feel free to order another box.
All items bought at The Body Shop can be returned for recycling.
Books in good condition can be donated to the many charity shops around Westminster or you could try using a site like Read it swap it or BookMooch where you can swap your old books for someone else's.
You can also bring your books to the mobile recycling centre and there are 10 bins for books in Westminster at the following locations:
The books are collected by the charity READ International and used to fund new book provision in Tanzania.
Bottles and jars can be recycled. Just put them in your recycling bag, basket or bin for collection. Please rinse before recycling, and include bottle tops and jar lids.
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, basket or bin for collection but please rinse them out first.
Find out what happens to your recycling.
Make sure that any staples are taken out of boxes or packaging and squash the cardboard flat. It can then be recycled in your bag, basket or bin. If you have boxes that are too large to fit in your container or you have quite a few, flatten and bundle together with tape 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 now recycle cartons in your mixed recycling container (blue bags, boxes or baskets) as well as by placing them in mixed recycling bins and the 60 or more cans/plastic bottle bins across the city.
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.
See videos, CDs and DVDs.
Flatten down the cardboard and add them to your recycling bag, basket or bin for collection.
What else can I recycle?
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, basket or bin for collection. Remember - metallic paper cannot be recycled so try not to buy it!
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 help and advice on residential and commercial clinical waste issues you can contact the Pest Control Team on 0800 3580514.
For needles and syringes 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 a Scope textile bin.
See textile recycling.
If you have more than 20 bags please contact Scope directly for a pick up.
Most coffee cups cannot currently be recycled as they can cause problems with our sorting machines and contaminate the paper stream. Why not reduce the number of coffee cups you use by using a reusable coffee cup or mug.
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.
Find out more about composting.
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.
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.
Any item mixed with recycling that is not specified on the container is '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 plastic films, polystyrene, food 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.
All households in Westminster have a doorstep recycling service.
Find out how to recycle at home.
These can be recycled - just put them in your recycling bag, basket 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.
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 now also 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.
We can accept the following items in the small appliances recycling bins:
NB the chute size is 40 cm (16").
We can't accept these items:
*Please note technically you can recycle computers using these bins, but there have been cases of theft of electrical items from the bins and 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 basket, bag or bin.
If you have any questions about recycling, contact the Recycling Team.
It's easy to recycle on your estate. Find out how.
Old fabric can be dropped off for reuse or recycling in the scope clothes and shoes bins around the City.
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.
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.
Find out 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; they need to go in with your household rubbish.
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.
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 or contact the Recycling Team.
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 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 special collection which can be arranged by calling the Environmental Action Line on 020 7641 2000.
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 basket, bag or bin. Avoid metallic paper as it cannot be recycled.
Glass bottles and jars can be recycled. Just put them carefully in your recycling bag, basket 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 bin can be recycled.
What can I recycle?
See printer cartridges.
Glass jars can be recycled. Just put them in your recycling bag, basket or bin for collection.
What else can I recycle?
To stop receiving unsolicited addressed mail, register with the Mailing Preference Service.
You can now buy recycled kitchen towel from supermarkets. Better still, use cotton dish cloths, which can be re-used. Kitchen towels cannot be recycled in Westminster.
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.
You don't have to remove the labels from cans and bottles - just remember to rinse them out before you recycle them.
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 with your normal 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 to Smuggler's Way
Energy saving light bulbs should be taken for recycling to the Reuse and Recycling Centre at Smuggler's Way , the mobile recycling centre or to selected retailers such as Ryness. There are several Ryness stores in or near Westminster:
Fluorescent tubes should be taken for recycling to the Reuse and Recycling Centre at Smuggler's Way or to selected retailers.
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 normal recycling collection.
Magazines can be recycled. Put them in your recycling basket, bag or bin for collection.
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 it out in your bag or basket or put it in your local 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, call 020 7641 2000.
You could also take your paper, glass, cans and other materials to your local micro-recycling centres.
Simply Drop, Greensource, Oxfam, Redeem and Scope will all accept your old mobiles and chargers. Contact any of them to find out how to donate or contact us to request an envelope. Alternatively bring your phones and chargers to the mobile recycling centre.
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.
These can be recycled. Put them in your box, bag or bin for collection.
What happens to my recycling?
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.
If your building is not serviced please contact the Recycling Team.
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. There are several collection points in London which can be found on the Community Repaint website.
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. Junk mail, letters, envelopes, birthday cards, office paper, telephone directories, magazines, card and cardboard - all can be added to your normal recycling.
Cans, cartons, paper bags and plastic trays can be recycled. Plastic pouches cannot be recycled in Westminster. Rinse them out where appropriate and add to your recycling.
What can I recycle?
You can recycle plastic bottles, pots, tubs and food trays, including plastic tops and lids.
You cannot recycle plastic film, plant pots, polystyrene or CD cases in the normal recycling bags/baskets
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.
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.
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.
You can refill many different types of printer cartridges or recycle them by taking them to specialist shops such as Cartridge World.
Redeem and other charities and organisations will take your used printer cartridges and recondition and refill them. They are then resold. Try to contact your favourite charity first to see if they have an appeal you can contribute to.
Alternatively send us an email with your name and address and we will send you one that will also generate money for charity.
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.
Do you have any questions? Contact the Recycling Team.
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 with free delivery to your home by using the special offer for Westminster residents. Read more information on composting.
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.
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.
If the container is made of plastic you can clean it and place it in your recycling. Polystyrene containers cannot be recycled in Westminster. The best action for the environment is to find an alternative use for the containers such as storing small DIY parts.
See electrical goods.
Old-style TVs (CRT screens) are classified as hazardous waste and must be disposed of carefully.
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.
See loo rolls.
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, CDs and DVDs in working order can be donated to your local charity shop or bring them to the mobile recycling centre for recycling.
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.
You can find out more information about recycling water filters on the Brita website.
Please recycle yellow pages by putting in your recycling basket, box or blue bag.
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.