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Dos and don'ts for recycling in Peterborough - with downloadable guide

Knowing what you can and can't recycle is difficult - so download and keep our handy guide!
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What can (and can't) you put in your green recycling bin in Peterborough? (Picture: Shariqua Ahemed)

We asked Peterborough City Council some of our biggest recycling questions - is all plastic packaging accepted? Are foil scraps accepted, or should they be larger pieces? What if we have more recycling than our bins can manage? - and created this handy little guide for Peterborough residents.

What can go in the green bin?

  • Almost all plastics, including tubs, trays, pots, film, carrier bags and bottles (with tops and caps)
  • Household packaging metal e.g. food tins, drink cans, clean foil, aluminium trays, empty aerosols, large metal sweet tins, biscuits tins
  • Non-shredded paper - newspapers, magazines, holiday brochures, junk mail, envelopes, telephone directories and catalogues
  • Cardboard
  • Glass bottles and jars

What can't go in the green bin?

Pretty much everything else - but specifically:

  • Food should be disposed in grey food waste caddy
  • Textiles can be taken to the Household Recycling Centre
  • Energy saving light bulbs or household batteries can be taken to the Household Recycling Centre
  • Electrical appliances can be taken to the Household Recycling Centre
  • Polystyrene, crisp packets, baby/pet food pouches, toothpaste tubes, shredded paper, black bags, pyrex or ceramics
  • Video tapes and CDs
  • Hard non-packaging plastics
  • Non-household packaging metal items

Other FAQs

Is there a minimum amount of foil required?

The council doesn't specify an amount of foil, but says if large amounts of foil can be combined with smaller bits that certainly helps.

What does the council mean by 'remove absorbent layers'?

Labels are not an issue for onwards processors, most use a de-labelling machine to remove these. However, absorbent pads - like those found at the bottom of fruit punnets - are not recyclable.

What do I do if I have too much to recycle?

Any acceptable recyclable items that are too large to place in your green bin can be left beside your green bin. They should be left either clear tied bags or open cardboard boxes if it is unlikely to rain.


A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council said: "Recycling has become an everyday activity for many households and is making a big difference to the environment, last year households in Peterborough recycled almost 35,000 tonnes of their waste, which is a great effort - but there is always room for improvement.  

"Recycling and food waste is still being placed in the black residual waste bin and if Peterborough residents can remember to recycle all the items possible, we can hopefully recycle more this year. Recycling is not only better for the environment, but it also saves money as sending waste for final disposal is expensive."

In 2018/19 and 2019/20 the recycling rate in Peterborough was around 43%. This means of all waste collected in Peterborough, more than two-fifths of it is recycled or sent for compost or reuse.

Although the figures show a fall in the recycling rate to 41% in 2020/21, the council has stated that this is likely due to the "increase in residual waste tonnages as a result of Covid-19".

Download the Peterborough Matters green bin guide here.