Help us increase recycling and reduce contamination

We know we need to improve our recycling service but we need your help to make positive change.

Recycling rates in the city have sat at around 30% for the last couple of years and we can all be doing more to increase recycling in Brighton & Hove.

On average, 8% of kerbside waste and almost 20% of communal waste should have been recycled.

Help us increase recycling and reduce contamination!

Reduce and reuse

We can all do our bit to have a positive effect on the environment.

By recycling more, you’re helping to reduce waste, protect natural resources, save energy, and reduce air and water pollution, but the biggest impact is made by reducing consumption and reusing items to prevent them from going to waste.

Evidence shows that Brighton & Hove residents are producing less waste with the amount of waste collected per household lower over the past 2 years, but we should all be doing more.

To find out more about reducing and reusing, visit our climate action webpages.

Getting recycling right

One of the easiest ways to increase recycling in the city is to make sure you’re recycling everything you can.

We collect paper and cardboard, cans, tins and aerosols, and all plastic bottles, including shampoo bottles.

We also collect glass bottles and jars separately and can now accept metal lids as part of the glass collections. Please wash the glass bottle or jar and replace the lid.

These are all materials we know will actually be recycled.  

To find out more about how to recycle, visit our recycling webpages.

Reducing contamination

A major issue we face is ‘contaminated’ recycling, which happens when non-recyclable waste is mixed with recyclable materials.

Popping an item that isn’t recyclable in your recycling bin and hoping it’ll be recycled is known as ‘wishcycling’ and contaminates recyclable waste.

We can’t currently process soft plastics, such as carrier bags, bread packaging and pots, tubs and trays, but we're working on plans to expand the range of items we collect. For now, we ask residents to put these items in their general waste.

Our recycling is sent to the Materials Recovery Facility in Hollingdean where it is handpicked and separated by paper and cardboard, aluminium and plastic.

While we do our best to remove items that aren’t recyclable, it isn’t always possible and the reality is that wrong items can spoil the bunch, and make whole lorry loads un-recyclable.

For information on what to do with other materials, visit our A-Z guide to recycling.

Looking ahead for service improvement

City Environment, South Downs and The Sea Committee councillors recently visited the Materials Recovery Facility, as well as the Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) in Newhaven and the composting facility in Whitesmith.

Councillor Tim Rowkins, Chair of the City Environment, South Downs and The Sea Committee, said: “We recently did a tour of sites across East Sussex where our general waste, recycling and garden waste is processed.

“It was fantastic to see where and how our waste is managed in Brighton & Hove. It really helped to inform plans to improve the service in the long term, and how we might increase recycling rates in the city and reduce contamination.

“We only want to collect what we know we can actually recycle, and we’re really keen to remind residents what they can and can’t recycle in their kerbside and communal recycling bins.

“Non-recycable waste thrown into recycling sometimes contaminates recycling, which must then be sent to the ERF in Newhaven. We want to send as little waste as possible to the ERF and we can do this by reducing, reusing and recycling correctly.”

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