Recycling faqs

recycling questions

  1. What do I need to do with my glass?
  2. Where shall I place my recycling box for collection?
  3. What type of plastic can we recycle?
  4. Do I have to remove the tops from plastic bottles?
  5. Can I recycle shredded paper in my box?
  6. Can I recycle electrical items?
  7. What can we do about supermarket packaging?
  8. Can I recycle juice cartons and tetra packs?
  9. What do recycling symbols mean?
  10. What happens to my recycling?
  11. Have another question?

What do I need to do with my glass?

The Material Recovery Facility (MRF) mechanically sorts the materials, so residents are not required to separate all their items. However, we do still need to keep glass and batteries separate.

If glass gets mixed with the other items then it will smash into shards, which makes recycling paper very difficult, having financial and environmental implications as well as possibly damaging the machinery in the sorting facility.

You can leave your glass items out in a recycling box, or in a  separate carrier bag (please make sure this is sturdy so the glass doesn’t fall out and smash on the pavement).

Where shall I place my recycling box for collection?

You need to place your recycling box on the kerbside for collection.

In order for Cityclean to use resources as efficiently and economically as possible, the council has set guidelines for the refuse and recycling rounds. This is for the benefit of both the resident and the crews.

It means that all crews will collect bins and boxes from the same place for every household. This aims to reduce reported missed collections and improve our service and your value for money.

Whilst it may seem to be only a few steps to collect from a driveway or a front door, then over the course of the day this can add a substantial amount of time on the crews’ workload, as they collect from over 1000 properties every day. Bins and Boxes should be kerbside from 6am to ensure they are collected.

What type of plastic can be recycled?

Plastic bottles are the only plastics that Brighton & Hove and many other local authorities currently recycle. Plastic bottles are mainly made from PET plastic (soft drinks and water bottles) and HDPE (milk and detergent bottles). There are already markets for plastic bottles as these can be recycled back into bottles or even fleeces!

There are several reasons why other plastics are not currently being recycled. These include:

  • There are not well developed and secure markets for all plastics. This means we may not be able to sell them on.
  • Even though some items such as food trays might be made from PET, they have different properties than the PET used to make bottles. This means we may not be able to process the material.
  • Plastics are used to make food trays and there is a concern that residents might place trays out for recycling that still contain food. If too much recycling becomes contaminated, it cannot be processed.

Do I have to remove the tops from plastic bottles?

Yes as the lids are made from different plastics so can contaminate the recycling. Please wash and squash your plastic bottles and put them in your recycling box without lids.

Can I recycle shredded paper in my box?

Shredded paper can fall out of the recycling process when it’s being sorted by the machinery and unfortunately this wouldn’t get recycled. We would suggest that you home-compost shredded paper where possible or take it to one of our recycling centres.

Can I recycle electrical items?

small icon of an electrical plug

There are a number of ways in which electrical goods can be recycled. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipement (WEEE) Directive sets targets for increasing the recycling rate for electrical goods.

At the two recycling centres in the city there are facilities for recycling electrical goods. You can find out where your nearest recycling centre is here.

Many companies that sell electrical goods will now also take away your old appliances when they deliver the new one. Some charity shops in the city will also accept electrical goods.

Ten new recycling points for small electrical items have also been set up across the city. Take a look at our electrical recycling page to find out more including a list of local retailers that will take back electricals.

Can I recycle food and drink cartons?

Yes - recycling banks for food and drink cartons have been introduced throughout the city. Please wash the cartons out and squash them.

Take a look at our recycling point finder to show your local carton recycling bank.

What can we do about supermarket packaging?

Then government has been working with retailers and the packaging industry for a number of years to reduce the quantities of packaging waste. A large number of companies are signed up to the Courtald Commitment which aims to see a reduction in the quantity of packaging and food waste generated. This has lead to changes in the way items are packaged including changes in the materials used.

If you are concerned about the amount of food packaging is being placed in with your refuse, you have powers as a consumer. You can buy fruit and vegetables loose, rather than being contained in plastic bags or packaging. Also, many people are not aware that you are within your rights as a consumer to leave all your packaging at the till in a supermarket, which is then their responsibility to dispose of correctly.

What do recycling symbols mean?

Mobius loop


This symbol is called a mobius loop and shows that the item is capable of being recycled depending on whether there are local facilities.

Mobius loop percentage


Sometimes this symbol shows a number percentage inside. This shows how much recycled content is used in the product.



This shows the type of plastic the item is made from.




The Forest Stewardship Council logo appears on products which contain wood from well managed forests independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC A.C.

This is the tidyman symbol and is used as a reminder to dispose of litter in bins


. aluminium recycling

This indicates that an item is made from aluminium which is widely recycled.


New recycling packaging symbols


This symbol was developed by the British Retail Consortium to help consumers understand which materials can and cannot be recycled. There are three types of classification.

  • Widely reycled: 65% or more of local authorities recycle that type.
  • Check local recycling: 15% to 65% of local authorities recycle that packaging type.
  • Not currently recycled: Less than 15% of local authorities recycle that packaging type.

What happens to my recycling?

You can go to our how your recycling is sorted page to see what happens to your recycling from the black boxes, recycling points and communal recycling from flats before it is sent for processing.

You can also see here where your recycling goes once it has been sent for processing. Nearly 95% of it is sent to and processed in the UK, with the majority of this happening locally in Sussex.

Have another question?

Visit our service information page or let us know if you have any further questions about our services through our online report form. These are passed directly to the customer service team. You can also check out our refuse faq.

The Facebook icon linking to our Facebook page
Add us on Facebook - get our latest news and join in discussions
The Twitter icon linking to our Twitter page
Follow us on Twitter - ask us any questions and get mini updates