Putting rubbish in the right bin - why it's important

What is contaminated recycling?

Contamination is when materials that cannot be recycled are put in recycling bins. The most common wrong items are:

  • Plastic bags or film.
  • Black bin bags.
  • Food waste.
  • Electricals and batteries.
  • Nappies.
  • Wood.
  • Clothing.
  • Items with a mixture of materials such as toys, baby equipment and books.
  • The right items, but dirty or with leftover food, oil or grease in them. 

Our collection crews won’t be able to collect your recycling if it is heavily contaminated as it can cause ‘recycling loads’ to be rejected at our recycling facility. Contamination increases collection and disposal costs and lowers our recycling rate. 

Putting rubbish in the right bin is particularly important in areas that use on-street communal bins.
You can check what materials are accepted in all bin types in Aberdeen using the Recycling Sorter on the Zero Waste Scotland website. 

Good quality items are suitable for reuse and residents are encouraged to visit our reuse facilities page for information on locations of charity shops, clothes banks, and other reuse projects. This page is also intended to highlight upcycling and repair schemes you could use to help breathe new life into your old items and reduce the need to buy new. Items unsuitable for reuse can be taken to Household Waste and Recycling Centres for disposal as recycling or general waste.  

It’s very important that batteries are never thrown in the bin as they can combust and lead to fires. To find your nearest battery recycling point you can visit Recycle Your Electricals.

What happens if your recycling is contaminated?

  1. Our crew will not collect your recycling and will record it as contaminated in our system.
  2. A red tag will be left on your recycling bin.
  3. If you use a wheeled bin, you will need to remove the contamination from your recycling so it can be collected on your next collection day.

For more information on how household bins presented with contaminated recyclables will be dealt with visit Waste and Recycling Policies.

Other examples of what shouldn’t go into your mixed recycling bin include: 

  • Polystyrene.
  • Glass cookware, Pyrex, ovenware.
  • Window glass.
  • Cutlery, crockery, pots, and pans.
  • Ceramics.
  • Dirty/used tissues and paper towels.
  • Mirrors.
  • Light bulbs.
  • Paper or card stained or dirty with paint, foodstuffs or grease.
  • Glitter covered cards/wrapping paper.
  • Wallpaper.
  • Laminated plastic/foil pouches (e.g. baby food/cat food/coffee pouches).
  • Crisp packets.
  • Sweet wrappers.
  • Plastic toys.
  • Toothpaste tubes.
  • Coffee pods.
  • Paint pots.
  • Coat hangers.
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