The Recycling Room

Advice and guidance for householders and businesses seeking to 
become more environmentally friendly by looking at the traditional 
waste hierarchy principles of reduce, reuse and recycle

Find out about our waste & recycling services

Waste Management  

The Recycling Room

Welcome to The Recycling Room. Here you will find all the information you need to effectively and easily contribute to the UK's recycling efforts.

Why Recycle?

Recycling helps to protect the environment though resource conservation, energy saving, and ultimately reducing the amount of waste that ends up being burnt or placed in landfill and/or our oceans. Burning waste produces dioxins - one of the most toxic chemicals known to man - and worldwide households produce billions of tonnes of waste a year.

Clearly there is a problem. One which will not go away by itself.

Did you know?

  • Each year we use enough Christmas wrapping paper to stretch around the equator nine times
  • One recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours
  • An average every person in the UK throws away their own body weight in rubbish every seven weeks
  • Each day, we produce enough rubbish to fill Trafalgar Square to the height of Nelson's Column
  • Every tonne of paper recycled saves 17 trees
  • The plastic that is contained within the casing of a printer cartridges can take up to 1000 years to decompose
  • Once an aluminium can is recycled it can be part of new can within six weeks
  • As much as 50% of waste in the average dustbin could be composted

Whether you are an individual or a business you can play a role in protecting the environment. To find out what you can recycle locally – enter your postcode here.

Can it be Recycled?

Majority of waste can be recycled in one form or another, either through re-use of the whole product, re-use of the components, energy recovery, or breaking down the components into raw materials ready for re-manufacture.

For information and guidance on what products and materials can be recycled and how, click here

Electrical Recycling

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment - otherwise referred to as WEEE - is a growing waste stream in the UK.  

Everyday items such as mp3 players, televisions, irons, and dishwashers will all eventually become waste. The majority of waste electrical goods end up in landfill at the end of life which can cause contamination to water and soil. In an effort to ensure that more electrical products are recycled instead of going to landfill, a piece of legislation was introduced known as The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations.

The WEEE regulations require a producer of electrical and electronic equipment to aid the UK's recycling efforts through a financial contribution. Encouraging the recycling of electrical goods decreases the amount sent to landfill, alleviating the environmental damage and health risks associated.

WEEE Symbols

Crossed out wheelie bin and date mark

Every piece of electrical or electronic equipment that was made on or after the 13th August 2005 is required to have the crossed out wheelie bin symbol and date mark clearly displayed either on the product itself or the packaging if the product is too small.  Products with this symbol should be recycled responsibly. To find out where to dispose of these products please use our recycling bank locator below.




Batteries crossed out wheelie bin

The battery recycling symbol is almost the same as the WEEE crossed out wheelie bin symbol, but does not have the date mark underneath.  To find out where you can dispose of your waste batteries please use our recycling bank locator below.


Recycling Bank Locator

The recycling bank locator is a handy tool that can help you find the recycling banks close to your home, all you need is a postcode.

Find out here where you can recycling packaging waste and electrical goods in the UK.

Find out here where you can take batteries to be recycled in the UK.


Recycling in the Home

  • Keep a recycling container next to your general waste bin – to make it easy to segregate the recyclable items
  • Do you know if your local council offers a kerbside recycling scheme? To find out more information about kerbside collections or the location your nearest recycling centre, use the postcode locator or contact your local council
  • Most supermarkets will have a range of recycling banks for glass bottles, cans, and paper… so make sure you take your recyclable goods with you!
  • There are all sorts of glass jars that can be recycled from the kitchen – all you need to do is give them a rinse and collect them with your other glass to be recycled.  
  • Have you looked in your bathroom? Shampoo and bubble bath bottles are often forgotten. Why not put a recycling bin in your bathroom to collect all the empty plastic bottles and cardboard tubes from toilet rolls?
  • Compost improves the condition of your soil and your plants and flowers will be thankful too! You can purchase a home composting bin at your local garden centre and get started today
  • Most mobile phones can now be recycled. There are over 90 million redundant phones in the UK! There are a number of companies that you can send your mobile phone to to be recycled, and this can even generate you a revenue

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) have highlighted the new, useful resources that your household plastic waste can be transformed into in their new video - watch it here

Recycling at Work

  • Provide recycling bins in common areas clearly labelled with what you can dispose
  • Take away general rubbish bins from underneath employees desks
  • Allocate a Recycling Champion responsible for motivating colleagues and ensuring all recycling initiatives are being monitored
  • Print posters and place them around the office reminding people to recycle
  • Re-use scrap paper when printing
  • Where possible use email, set your PC to print double-sided and refill printer, fax and photocopier cartridges

Why not Look at Saving Energy too?

  • Turn off your office equipment when it is not being used
  • Cut lighting costs by up to 15% by turning off lights in empty rooms and replacing light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs
  • Make sure all dripping taps are fixed, something small like this can cost a business up to £400 a year
  • Turning the thermostat down by 1 degree can save 8% on your company heating bill
  • Invest in energy efficient equipment to reduce your energy and water costs, interest-free energy efficiency loans are available from the Carbon Trust
  • Assign Energy Champions to help encourage all staff to take it seriously and reduce energy consumption wherever they can
  • Look at your existing equipment, can it be made more energy efficient without having to completely replace it?
  • Ensure that equipment is well-maintained, which will keep it more energy efficient as well as prolonging its life
  • Could you improve your business travel costs to generate cost reductions? Are all journeys necessary? Could some face-to-face meetings be held using telephone or video conferencing instead?

Recycling for Business

If you are a business with commercial recyclable waste, Comply Direct can provide you with an solution that is both sustainable and economical.

By matching your recyclable waste to our network of reprocessors in the UK, Europe and the Far East we can obtain the best market prices and ensure a sustainable waste solution for your business.

Our policy of constant market review means our prices are always competitive and our services are fantastic value for money. We can also arrange collection anywhere in the UK and at a time to suit you. 

You can find more details on our waste and recycling services here.

If you’re unsure whether your waste is recyclable get in touch with our Waste Team who will advise you further.

National Waste Strategies

England,Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have each developed a National Waste Strategy which outlines how the UK plans to deal with the increasing amount of waste that is being produced year on year.

In January 2021, Defra published a Waste Management Plan for England. This details the current waste management situation in England and planning framework for future development.

In October 2017, SEPA published a Waste Data Strategy for Scotland. Which aims to improve the current information available on waste and deliver a range of benefits including aiding the implementation of Scotland's Zero Waste plan. 

Wales have published a towards Zero Waste plan which aims not only to provide benefits for the environment but improve social and economic wellbeing as well. A 2015 progress report has also been published by the Welsh Government, providing an up to date summary of what has already been implemented and the current plans for the future.

Northern Ireland published their Waste Management Plan in 2019. This strategy aims for sustainable development and overall waste reduction for the country.   

General Recycling Symbols  

European Ecolabel

Europe-wide award given to non-food products which minimise impact on the environment. 




Green Dot

The Green Dot symbol indicates that a contribution has been made to an authorised packaging recovery scheme. This is used in EU countries, but not in the UK. Permission to use the trademark is obtainable under license for export purposes. 




Indicates that a product, or part of a product, is recyclable.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           





 Mobius with Percentage

This is used on products that are made from a percentage of recycled fibre. The percentage by weight appears either in the centre of the loop or below it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


 Nordic Swan

This symbol is used on products that have had their manufacturing process assessed for impact on the environment. This label is concerned with impact to the environment during manufacture rather than the recycled content and the selection of raw materials.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



Do not litter - dispose of with care                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Plastic Recycling Symbols

Polyethylene terephthalate                                                                       

Example: fizzy drinks bottles and oven-ready meal trays                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  



High-density polyethylene

Example: milk bottles and washing-up liquids                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


                                                                                                                                                                          Polyvinyl Chloride

Example: Cling film, food trays, shampoo bottles and bottles for water




 Low-density polyethylene

 Example: Carrier bags and bin liners                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Polypropylene 

Example: Margarine tubs and microwaveable meal trays





Example: Egg cartons, foam meat trays, hamburger boxes, protective packaging for electronic goods, toys, vending cups and yoghurt pots


Plastics not in the above categories

Example: Melamine, which is often used in plastic cups and plates



Metal Recycling Symbols



Shows that the packaging is made from recyclable aluminium. 
Example: Food and drink cans



  This symbol indicates that the packaging is made from recyclable steel. However, please note that not all products that contain recyclable steel will carry this logo. For example, cookers and 
  fridges have recyclable parts but may not have this logo


Glass Recycling Symbols


Put in bottle bank

Applicable to all recyclable glass
Example: Jam jars and wine bottles



Paper Recycling Symbols

National Association of Paper Merchants

This mark is awarded to all paper or board that is made from a minimum of 75% genuine paper and board waste, no part of which should contain mill produced waste fibre



RESY system

This is a German system for reclaiming and recycling used paper and corrugated board containers. The symbol denotes that the packaging will be recycled and re-used 



Wood Recycling Symbols

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

This is the trademark of the Forest Stewardship Council. Products carrying this symbol are made of wood from forests managed according to strict environmental, social and economic standards 



Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification

Assurance that the product comes from certified forests managed according to the pan-European criteria as defined by the resolutions of the Helsinki and Lisbon Ministerial Conferences of 1993 and 1998 on the Protection of Forests in Europe