General Recycling FAQs

What happens if I put the wrong things in my recycling bin?

If you put the wrong items in your recycling bin, they will be sent for disposal and will not be recycled. Sometimes things like nappies and food waste could actually spoil the rest of the recyclables and mean a whole load may need to be disposed of. If you continue to place the wrong items in your recycling bin, then your bin may not be emptied and may be withdrawn.

I’ve been putting these items that you’re telling me are wrong in my recycling bin for years. Why has it changed now?

The items collected for recycling in Nottinghamshire have been the same since 2006 when recycling bins were first introduced. Sometimes messages about recycling can appear in the news etc. but they may not be relevant to Nottinghamshire. It’s best to check our website or local District or Borough Council website.

Where can I get a recycling guide for Nottinghamshire from?

An updated recycling guide for residents in Nottinghamshire is available at or you can call 0203 567 4370 to request a copy in the post.

The label on the packaging says it’s recyclable. Why can’t I recycle it in my recycling bin?

Recycling symbols are printed on packaging by the manufacturer. These show that the material could possibly be recycled but only if there are suitable local facilities to process the material.

To keep the information as simple as possible, in Nottinghamshire we only want:

  • plastic bottles (rinse out, squash and replace the lid)
  • yoghurt pots
  • margarine tubs
  • paper
  • cardboard
  • metal tins, aerosols, and cans

What happens to the items that go in my general waste bin?

In Nottinghamshire, the contents of your general waste bin is sent to an Energy Recovery Facility. Once there it is burned and the energy is recovered to generate electricity which then provides heat to local district heating schemes. A very small amount of material is sent to landfill.

Does all the recycling just get sent to landfill?

No, all recycling collections in Nottinghamshire are transported to the Materials Recovery Facility in Mansfield where they are sorted and sent on to reprocessors to be made into new items.

How clean does my recycling need to be?

Please empty liquids from plastic bottles and give tins and cans a rinse to remove food residues so they don’t dirty other recyclables like paper.

Should I line my recycling bin with a bin liner or put my recycling in a carrier bag/bin bag?

No, never put a carrier bag or bin liner in your recycling bin.

All of your recycling should be placed into your bin clean, dry and loose so it can be easily sorted at our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Any items that are inside a plastic carrier bag or a black sack may be disposed of as general waste as they will not be recognised by the sorting machinery.

Do labels need to be removed from items like tins or bottles before they are recycled?

Labels can be removed but it’s not essential.

I’d like to know more about recycling, can I / my community group / school attend an information session or have a talk?

Yes, we work together with Veolia and offer a range of educational opportunities for Nottinghamshire residents including a tour of the MRF, educational lessons and activities. Find out more about Veolia's Activities and Projects here.

I think I put something valuable in my recycling bin by accident, can I get it back?

No, unfortunately we are not able to retrieve items from the recycling collections.

Why can other areas recycle different materials to us?

In Nottinghamshire the Materials Recovery Facility in Mansfield was designed to sort paper, cardboard, aerosols, cans, tins, yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and plastic bottles, as these recyclables have sustainable and economically viable end destinations where they get reused or recycled.

We only collect items that we know can be recycled. Where there is any doubt that items may not be recycled and would instead go to general waste, we do not collect those items.

Each local authority has their own arrangements in place which may allow them to collect a different range of materials. Please check the County Council or your local district/borough council website to see what can be recycled in Nottinghamshire.

Why am I not allowed to take, swap or buy waste items from the Recycling Centre?

When you bring items to a Recycling Centre, they become classified as ‘waste’. Waste is subject to legal controls and needs to be handled and transported safely. Members of the public are therefore not allowed to exchange items or take things that have been recycled or disposed of by other people.


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