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Check before you chuck


The amount of waste people create is constantly increasing and has a harmful effect on our natural environment. You can help by reducing, reusing or recycling the amount of waste you throw away in the rubbish - just check before you chuck. We need the help of residents and businesses to recycle more – everyone has a part to play.

Why recycle

Every time we make new products and packaging, we use valuable raw materials, which impacts on natural habitats and produces CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change. Items that are used only once – like cardboard packaging, plastic bottles or cans – take a high toll on our environment.

An estimated 65% of the waste we throw away each year could be recycled – enough to fill up the Royal Albert Hall.

Recycling these materials helps prevent waste that can be harmful to our land, sea and air. Using these materials again means less energy and fewer natural resources are needed to make new ones.

Where your recycling goes

Everything you put into your household mixed recycling is collected and taken to a materials recovery facility in Southwark. From here, materials are sorted and sent to recycling facilities across the UK to be turned into new products.

Find out more about where your recycling goes.

What and how to recycle

Step 1

Get your free recycling bags from the council or collect them from your housing manager or building caretaker.

Step 2

Put all your recyclable items together into your recycling bags. Please remember to:

Flatten your cardboard boxes

Give your food, drink and household product containers a quick rinse

Step 3

Leave your mixed recycling out on your collection day or take it to your nearest mixed recycling bin.

What to recycle

You can put all of the following items in your mixed recycling:

  • paper and cardboard – including items like egg boxes and toilet roll tubes
  • food tins and drinks cans
  • mixed glass bottles and jars
  • cartons, like tetra paks
  • plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays - including shampoo bottles or cleaning products
  • aerosol cans - they should be empty and not crushed
  • aluminium foil, washed and squashed

Recycling other items

Other unwanted items, including books, textiles, electrical appliances and furniture can be recycled in other ways. This includes specialist on-street bins throughout the borough, recycling centres, or by booking a bulky waste collection. Many items that are still useful can also be donated to charity shops.

You can also recycle a variety of packaging through the Terracycle scheme at Church Street Library. This includes packaging such as baby food, bread bags, biscuits wrappers, cheese packaging (including net bags), crisp packets, electric toothbrush heads and plastic toothbrushes, pens (biros, felt tips, marker pens), Pringles tubes and squeezy plastic tubes (like hand cream and toothpaste).

Find out more about what you can and can’t recycle

Ways to reduce waste

There are many ways to reduce the amount of waste we produce in the first place, like:

  • many stores now specialise in packaging-free or refillable products to help reduce the amount of packaging you use
  • carrying a reusable water bottle or using a reusable lunch box like the Caulibox which has been trialled at Tachbrook Market
  • borrowing items you’ll only need once, or buying second hand from charity shops or on sites like freecycle or Freegle
  • consider reusable alternatives, like reusable nappies - Westminster residents can claim up to £48 when using a reusable nappy laundry service  
  • find out how to cut your food waste

Join the campaign

We want residents and businesses to support our ‘check before you chuck’ campaign and encourage more people to recycle. Please download our campaign graphics and share them on social media with the hashtags #WestminsterRecycles and #CheckBeforeYouChuck.

You can download our campaign resources from this secure WeTransfer link.

Become a recycling champion

You can also help us to help others in Westminster to recycle more, by becoming a Recycling Champion. Watch our video to hear from one of our Champions.

Read about how our Champions get involved and complete this online form to register your interest in helping us.