Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent by Darlington Borough Council - Recycling - recycle right

Recycling - recycle right

If you think you can recycle more, ask us for an extra recycling bin/box, glass box or paper caddy, and we will deliver one to you free of charge.

Most homes in Darlington have a recycling bin and in most cases we ask you to put your recycling at the front of your property. (This includes if you are on scheme B and have asked us to swap your recycling caddy and bag for a wheeled bin). This is because the recycling wagons are too wide to get down the back lanes.

What do I do with my waste?

What do i do with my waste?
Scheme A Scheme B
Black lid wheeled bin - general waste Black lid wheeled bin - general waste
Green lid wheeled bin  - cans, tins, aerosols, plastics and foil Green caddy - cans, tins, aerosols, plastics and foil
Caddy in your green lid bin - paper and cardboard Blue bag - paper and cardboard
Green box - glass Green box - glass


What can I recycle?

What can I recycle – paper and cardboard 

Paper and cardboard recycling details
Yes please No thanks
Newspaper and supplements Soiled paper or card – like greasy pizza boxes
Magazines brochures and catalogues Glitter covered cards or wrapping paper
White paper, computer paper, letters Non paper gift wrap, foil based wrappings or bags
Shredded paper, telephone directories Sticky paper like post its or sticky labels
Leaflets and flyers Wallpaper
Envelopes (without windows) Nappies, wipes or sanitary products
Gift wrap and brown paper Tissues or used paper towels
Cardboard boxes, cereal, washing tablets Cotton wool, make up pads
Online delivery boxes (remove tape) Food & drink cartons, coffee cups, sandwich boxes
Greetings cards  

Tip: any gift wrap that springs back after it has been crumpled is foil, so shouldn’t be included.

What can I recycle – plastics

Plastics recycling details
Yes please No thanks
Tubs/containers from yoghurt, soup, butter, ice-cream etc Black plastic like ready meal containers
Trays/punnets like ham, meat, fruit & veg Bottle tops, pumps and triggers
Brown plant pots Crisps and sweet wrappers
Cleaning bottles (remove pumps, triggers, bottle tops) Film lids from pots and trays
Shampoo bottles, shower gel Carrier bags, plastic wrapping, cling film, bread packets
Juice, cordial and milk bottles Laminated pouches – pet food
Cosmetic bottles Toothpaste tubes
Ready to use plant food Polystyrene
  Chemical bottles such as anti-freeze
  Bubble wrap

Tip: remember to remove any film lids or absorbent pads/cushions (meat trays or fruit punnets). If you can rinse and remove labels that would be great!

What can I recycle – glass

Glass recycling details
Yes please No thanks
Bottles of any colour, wines, beers or spirits Drinking glasses
Jars (with metal lids removed) Pyrex bowls, glass cookware
Non food bottles; perfume, aftershave, face-creams Vases
  Nail varnish bottles
  Microwave plates
  Broken window panes
  Light bulbs

What can I recycle – metal 

Metal recycling details
Yes please No thanks
Drink cans Laminated foil pouches (pet food, coffee etc )
Metal jar lids Coat hangers
Biscuit and chocolate tins Pots and pans
Aluminium foil and trays Kitchen knives
Aerosols Oil drums
  Kettles, irons

Recycling frequently asked questions 

Why can't I recycle everything with a recycle logo?

Not everything with a recycling logo on it can be properly recycled in the UK and not all recycling plants recycle all recyclable materials. The logo means the item can be recycled, but it doesn't mean it will necessarily be able to be recycled everywhere. That's why we have our own list of what we can collect and recycle in this area (what the recycling plant we use will accept). See the Responsible Recycling section below for more information. You can see a full list of recycling symbols and what they mean on the Recycle Now website.

Why can’t I recycle cooking oil? It could be used to make bio-diesel

We used to accept food oils for recycling, but we only got a small amount and most of it was contaminated. This meant we couldn't recycle it. You can put small amounts of oil in your general waste bin. Businesses should contact their food oil supplier who have recycling options available.

What happens to my waste that isn’t recycled?

All waste that can't be recycled is taken to a treatment plant. Most of the waste is processed to make RDF (refuse derived fuel) for industry. We know that recycling can be complicated. If you’re unsure whether something can be recycled, please put it in your normal bin rather than hoping we can recycle it. If you put something in your recycle bin that can’t be recycled, it could contaminate the whole wagon, meaning your whole neighbourhood’s recycling efforts go to waste.

Why do I have a sticker on my recycling bin saying it is contaminated?

This means you have put the wrong materials in your bin. It is important to take care with your recycling as we cannot recycle contaminated waste. It also costs the council money to dispose of it.

I saw my sorted recycling being thrown all together into the recycling vehicle, why?

Our recycling vehicles have three compartments, one for paper and card, one for glass and one for general recycling. During busy times like Christmas we hire extra vehicles and also if one of our vehicles break down.

The hire vehicles sometimes have two compartments instead of three, which means some recycling needs to be put together. All recycling is sorted when the vehicles arrive at the depot.


If in doubt, leave it out!

We know that recycling can be complicated but if you’re unsure whether something can be recycled please put it in your normal bin rather than hoping we can recycle it. If you put something in your recycle bin that can’t be recycled, it could contaminate the whole wagon meaning your whole neighbourhood’s recycling efforts go to waste.

We have to pay for contaminated waste to be treated so please if in doubt leave it out!

All waste that can't be recycled is taken to a treatment plant and most of it is processed to make RDF (refuse derived fuel) which is used in various industries. This means the majority of your household waste, even when it can’t be recycled, avoids landfill.

Responsible recycling 

As a council, we want to recycle responsibly.

The majority of material is reprocessed in this county however paper and card may go abroad to suitable paper mills for re processing depending on market conditions

We only collect materials that can be recycled, reused or treated in the UK. A lot of recycling that is sent abroad will often end up in landfill sites or dumped in our oceans.

We have a moral duty to know what is happening to the recycling you collect.

We can't collect everything we would like to as the UK does not have the infrastructure to recycle all the waste we produce. For example there are lots of different types and grades of plastic – we will only collect higher quality plastics that can be recycled in the UK.

We ask you to put the other ‘problem plastics’, which can’t be treated in the UK, in your general rubbish bin. We feel this is better than sending them abroad where we can't control what happens to it. 

The vast majority of the waste you throw away in your normal bin is treated in a special plant and turned into a fuel (called SRF) which is used in cement production. This means as little as possible of your household waste ends up in UK landfill.

None of our problems are sent abroad for another country to deal with.

Changing times

It’s important that we tell you how to recycle right and what items we can recycle.

Recycling is like a market. The value of items goes up and down. Sometimes this means we have to stop collecting certain materials because we can’t find anyone to buy it from us and recycle it. 

For example, years ago recycling companies wanted to buy black plastic from us as they could make a profit from recycling it and selling it on. This meant we collected black plastic from you and it was sent for recycling.

However, the black plastic market stopped making money and the company we worked with stopped taking black plastic for recycling. Instead, they separated the black plastic from the other high quality plastics and sent it to a plant down south to turn it into fuel (SRF).

There is an SRF plant very close to Darlington, so it made more sense to stop sending our black plastic to a company miles away when we could do it close to home. That’s why we asked you to stop putting black plastic in your recycling bin and instead throw it away with your normal rubbish.

This is just one example of how changing markets in recycling affect what we will ask you to collect.

We will keep you informed of any changes on our website, One Darlington magazine and social media and will continue to look for new opportunities to improve our service even more. 

By 2025 we want 50% of your household waste to be reused, recycled or composted. By recycling right you can help us achieve this.


Paper recycling

We collect about 3,000 tonnes of paper and card each year.

By recycling just one ton of paper we save:

  • 17 trees
  • 7,000 gallons of water
  • 463 gallons of oil
  • Three cubic yards of landfill space
  • Enough energy to heat an average home for six months
  • Recycled paper produces 73% less air pollution than if it was made from raw materials
  • The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year.


Aluminium and steel can recycling

We collect about 300 tonnes of steel and 100 tonnes of aluminium each year.

  • Recycling just one aluminium can saves enough energy to keep a 100 watt light bulb burning for almost four hours or your television running for three hours.
  • 350,000 aluminium cans are produced every minute.
  • Once an aluminium can is recycled, it can be part of a new can within six weeks.
  • There is no limit on the amount of times that aluminium can be recycled
  • During the time it takes you to read this sentence about 50,000 aluminium cans will have been made.


Glass recycling

We collect about 2,000 tonnes of glass each year. The energy saved by recycling one glass bottle will:

  • Power a 100 watt light bulb for almost an hour
  • Power a computer for 25 minutes
  • Power a TV for 20 minutes
  • Power a washing machine for 10 minutes
  • Each UK family uses an average of 500 glass bottles and jars annually.


Plastic recycling

We collect about 600 tonnes of plastic each year. The energy saved by recycling just one plastic bottle will:

  • Light a 60 watt light bulb for six hours
  • Power a computer for 25 minutes
  • Around 18 plastic bottles make one Nike football kit
  • Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials, meaning we can save a lot of energy by recycling plastic.