Top recycling Tips from LAGER Can

LAGER Can (Litter Action Group for Ealing Residents) shares with ActforEaling their tips and pitfalls for recycling – including the most troublesome mistakes.

This colourful image above was a winner of the Greener Ealing competition which hopefully many will have spotted on their trucks around the borough, promoting Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, Respect Ealing.

Here are the LAGER Cans team’s top recycling tips.

1. Recycling works! It really is worth taking care to recycle all the permitted items you can. Everything that you recycle correctly, at home or in Ealing Council street and park recycling bins, is reprocessed and reused. Plastics, metals and glass are generally reprocessed in the UK.  Aluminium cans may be processed in the UK or Germany, based on demand. Aluminium cans and glass bottles have a particularly high reprocessing value. Paper and cardboard are reprocessed in Kent or at one of the modern pulp-mills in south-east Asia. 

2. Summary of items accepted by Ealing Council and their recycling processing company here

3. If you have a blue wheelie bin for your recycling, please put your recyclables loose in the bin. Plastic carrier bags are not recyclable by Ealing Council. Please reuse them or recycle them at a soft plastics recycling point (see below).

3. If unacceptable items are found in any batch of recyclables, they have to be manually removed, and the Council (that means we – the residents) have to pay extra for the batch to be processed. In the worst cases of contamination, a whole batch of recyclables can be rejected, meaning it has to be processed as rubbish, which carries a greater cost.

4. 95% of the sorting of recyclables is done by machine; however, at any one time 50 people carry out manual sorting and quality control. We can make their job more pleasant by ensuring our recycling is not soiled.

5. Many places that will accept for recycling the items that Ealing Council will not accept. Search for this information by postcode at Recycle Now.

The dos and don’ts of recycling – including the most troublesome mistakes


Recycle in your food caddy or buy a wormery to convert your food waste to compost; otherwise put food waste in with your rubbish (in your black bin/bags). 
NEVER put food in with your recycling. This will contaminate the entire batch of recycling and cause it to be rejected.
Rinse food containers before recycling. They do not have to be perfectly clean.NEVER put heavily soiled food packaging in recycling – put it in with your rubbish.

Nappies; sanitary products

Dispose of nappies and sanitary products, whether soiled or not, with your rubbish. NEVER put nappies and sanitary products in with your recycling. These will contaminate the entire batch of recycling and it will be rejected. 


Domestic and vehicle batteries can be collected with the Ealing recycling doorstep collection (keep household batteries in a tied up bag; please do not place car batteries on the pavement)
Or Return used batteries to a retailer for disposal – most supermarkets accept them.
NEVER put batteries in with your rubbish or recycling as they can cause fires.


Put any unwanted textiles in a carrier bag alongside your recycling for collection. The recycling lorry crew will put these in a separate compartment of the bin lorry. Textiles collected by Ealing Council are sent to the Salvation Army. 
Alternatively, take them to a charity shop or a charity textiles bin, or offer for reuse (see below). 
Do not mix textiles in with your recycling, because they are unacceptable by the processor and may cause the batch to be rejected.

Paper and cardboard

Recycle dry paper and cardboard. If items are too large for your recycling bin, tear or cut them into smaller pieces. Store any excess in clear plastic bags and place by your recycling bin on collection day.Newspapers, magazines, envelopes (including window), catalogues, directories, junk mail, shredded paper are all acceptable.Note there is no need to remove Sellotape or other plastic tape from paper or cardboard packaging, as this comes away during reprocessing.Recycle gift wrapping paper as long as (1) it does not have glitter, and (2) when you scrunch it up it stays scrunched.
Recycle pizza and other fast food packaging, provided it is not heavily soiled. Tear any heavily soiled bits off and put them with your rubbish. 
Recycle food and drink cartons (Tetrapak style, eg juice, soup, milk cartons)
Do not allow paper and cardboard to get wet. The cost of processing is estimated by weight, and wet paper and card weigh much more than dry items. It will therefore be rejected. 

Do not put food or heavily soiled cardboard food packaging in with your recycling – put it in with your rubbish.


Recycle aluminium drinks and food cans. If lids or ring pulls have become detached, place them in the cans and crush them.
Do not separate the lids or ring pulls from food cans or they will fall through the conveyor belt at the recycling plant.
Recycle aluminium foil packaging and wrapping. Rinse first. Collect foil wrapping and squeeze into a roll or clump before putting in with your recycling. This enables it to be pulled out by electromagnet or by hand. 
Do not put heavily soiled aluminium foil in with your recycling.
Recycle aerosol cans – remove caps and lids
Recycle nitrous oxide ‘bullets’. These items, usually silver in appearance, about 7cm long, are often found in open spaces, having been used by recreational drug takers. They are made of aluminium and can be recycled.
Return gas bottles to the retailer or take them to Greenford Household Waste and Recycling Centre.NEVER put Camping Gaz or any other gas bottles, including large nitrous oxide gas chargers, in with your recycling as they are likely to explode and cause injury.
Take unwanted metal kitchen utensils and pans to a charity shop or offer for reuse (see below).Do not put saucepans, frying pans etc in with your recycling.


Recycle plastic bottles. Rinse, squash and replace the lids.
Recycle plastic tubs and pots.
Do not put loose lids in with the recycling as they will fall through the conveyor belt during processing. 

Save your soft plastics (clean cling film, food bags, crisp packets, carrier bags etc) and take them to a supermarket which accepts these, eg, Tesco, Co-op etc. Soft plastics can be reprocessed into plastic bags, boards (an alternative to plywood) or polymer for reprocessing into other plastic items.
Do not put soft plastic items in with your recycling.
Take non-packaging hard plastic items such as washing up bowls, buckets, Tupperware, toys etc to a charity shop or offer them for reuse (see below).
Do not put hard plastic items in with your recycling.


Rinse glass jars and bottles and replace the lids before putting in with your recycling.Do not remove the lids or recycle them separately, as they will fall through the conveyor belt during processing.
Offer undamaged drinking glasses, Pyrex for re-use.Do not put drinking glasses or Pyrex in with your recycling.
Return energy-saving lightbulbs to selected retailers; put older-style light bulbs with your rubbish. Do not put light bulbs in with your recycling.
Broken glass, window glass – wrap up carefully and put in with your rubbish.Do not put broken glass in with your recycling as it could cause injury to a refuse collector or recycling operative. 

Other common items NOT to put in with your recycling

Before discarding consider if any of these items could be reused, or used for craft projects. For example, corks can be used for drainage in plant pots.

ItemWhat to do with it
PolystyreneNot recyclable – put with your rubbish
Jiffy bagsNot recyclable – offer for re-use or put with your rubbish
Pringles and similar cartonsNot recyclable – put with your rubbish
CorksNot recyclable – put with your rubbish
Coffee cups and lids Costa takes back its own cups and those from other retailers. Otherwise put with your rubbish.

Ideas for disposing of non-recyclables that you no longer want (but someone else might!):

1. Offer them to your friends and neighbours. However, please do not leave them on the pavement as this is flytipping. If you are caught your good intention could lead to a fine.

2. Offer them on social media sites. You’d be surprised at the level of interest in your unwanted items, and you can state that items have to be collected. Examples include Facebook group Ealing Reduce, Reuse, Recycle; OLIO; Freecycle; Freegle; Nextdoor and many other great groups and forums. 

3. Donate to a charity shop.

4. If you can’t get to a charity shop when it’s open (note that leaving items outside charity shops is flytipping), some charities will collect. Examples of organisations that will collect are listed below – check out their websites for details. 

British Heart Foundation
Anglo Doorstep Collections
Trinity – helping the homeless

5. Take them to an on-street ‘bring site’. These large bins are operated by charities such as the Salvation Army. Different operators accept different items, including textiles and shoes; small electricals; etc.

6. Offer metal items and car batteries to a scrap metal dealer.

7. Take large items that won’t fit in your rubbish bin to Ealing Council’s Household Waste and Recycling Centre at Greenford. You can access the site by car or bicycle, but not on foot. Access is by appointment only, and disposal of some items is chargeable. Full terms and conditions

8. Use Ealing Council’s Bulky Items Collection Service. At £40 for up to eight items, this may not be good value. If not, ask your neighbours if they have anything so you can share the cost. Full details


9. Hire a commercial rubbish collector. Make sure the collector shows you evidence of having a commercial waste licence. Should a disreputable operator subsequently flytip your rubbish and it is traced back to you, you could receive a Fixed Penalty Notice for flytippingSee a register of licensed waste carriers

LAGER Can, March 2022

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