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What goes in my bins and boxes?

Coronavirus update: changes to waste services

Last updated: Friday 3 April 2020

This page gives information on which waste services have been suspended, which are running as usual and what to do with coronavirus waste. We are reviewing our service delivery on a daily basis. Please check this page or our social media regularly and share updates with neighbours and friends who may not be online.

Waste and recycling collection services

  • From Wednesday 1 April, normal collections have resumed for black, brown and blue bins. Please present your bins for collection on your usual collection day. Blue bins that were missed will be collected on the next scheduled day. Find your bin collection day online.
  • Bryson recycling box collections are continuing as usual. From 6 April, you will need to sort your recycling differently. Find out how to sort your recycling from 6 April.
  • Purple glass recycling box collections have been suspended. If possible, please continue to separate and store any glass waste until our normal collection resumes.
  • The wheelie box trial in north Belfast has been suspended. Please put your food and garden waste into your brown bin for collection. If possible, please continue to separate and store any recyclable waste until our normal collection resumes. If this is not possible, you can put these into your black bin.
  • We're unable to deliver green food waste bags at this time. If you have none left, you can put food scraps into your brown bin without a bag, or wrap them in newspaper instead.
To help our crews as much as possible, you should:
  • not leave side waste or extra rubbish bags next to your bin, as we can’t collect them
  • sort your recycling properly
  • ensure you wash your hands, before and after handling your bins or recycling boxes
  • wipe the handle of your bin and boxes down after you leave it at your usual collection point
  • not approach our staff and follow social distancing guidance
  • make sure disposable gloves are placed into your black bin once you’ve finished using them
  • visit NI Direct for more advice on bin hygiene and fly-tipping
You must not put items such as used tissues or disposable cleaning cloths into your recycling bins or boxes. This is very important.

Coronavirus waste

If you have suspected, or confirmed coronavirus, before you put items such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths in your black waste bin, you should:

  • double-bag them, tying the bags securely
  • keep them separate from other waste for 72 hours before putting them into your black waste bin for collection

Recycling centres and civic amenity sites closed

Our recycling centres and civic amenity sites are now closed. This is for the safety of our crews and the public. 

New black bin orders are suspended

If your black bin has been lost or stolen please email or call 0800 032 8100.

Bulky waste collections suspended

We’re not taking new bookings for bulky waste collections.

More information

Thank you for your continued support and patience in these challenging circumstances.

What goes in my bins and boxes?

Please note: Cardboard drinks cups (including takeaway coffee and tea cups) cannot go into food waste collection.

Compost bin

(Brown bin or green for former North Down residents.)

Recycling bin

(Blue bin or green for former Lisburn residents.)

Purple recycling box

Black bin

Food waste
Paper (no wallpaper) Glass bottles and jars
Tissue paper
Grass cuttings
Dry cardboard   Plant pots (plastic)
Plants and flowers
Aerosol cans   Metal and plastic lids of glass bottles and jars
Leaves, twigs and small branches     
Plastic bottles
  Bubble wrap
Hedge trimmings
Food and drink cans
  Plastic cutlery 
Shredded paper
Food and drink cartons (such as milk or juice)           
  Cellophane wrapping
Takeaway pizza boxes (torn up)
Clean aluminium foil and foil dishes   Envelopes with cellophane windows (not removed)
Cold ashes
Magazines / catalogues
Teabags and coffee grounds Biscuit tins   Crisp bags and containers
Egg shells Soft back books   Plastic bags
Fruit and vegetable peelings Toilet roll tubes   Barbecue foil bases
Bones Cardboard food boxes (such as cereal boxes)
  Broken light bulbs
Paper napkins Plastic pots, tubs and trays   Plastic ready meal packs (film attached)
Wet paper and cardboard Envelopes with cellophane windows (removed)   Carry-out coffee containers and lids 
Bottle corks Egg cartons (cardboard or plastic)   Nappies and sanitary waste


If you have two recycling boxes and a green food waste bin.

Please recycle your waste as follows:

Black recycling box

Red recycling box   

Green food waste bin    

Paper (no wallpaper)
Cardboard Meat, fish and cheese 
Plastic bottles Glass bottles and jars Fruit and veg 
Plastic pots, tubs, trays  
Textiles* Bread, cakes and pastries 
Food and drink tins Batteries* Rice, beans and pasta
Aerosols Hand tools Teabags and coffee grounds
Clean aluminium foil*   Potato and vegetable peelings 
Food and drink cartons e.g. milk or juice   Any other leftover food

*Please put in a separate bag.

If you have three stacked recycling boxes (wheelie box) and a green food waste bin.

Please recycle your waste as follows:

Blue recycling box

Red recycling box

Green recycling box

Green food waste bin

Paper (shredded paper*) 
(no wallpaper)
Food and drink cans Glass bottles and jars
(no broken glass)
Meat, fish and cheese 
Biscuit tins Cardboard Fruit and veg 
Foil *
Aerosol cans   Bread, cakes and pastries 
Food and drink cartons   Rice, beans and pasta
Hand tools
Plastic bottles   Teabags and coffee grounds

Plastic pots, tubs and trays   Potato and vegetable peelings 

    Any other leftover food
*Please put in a separate bag.
Your general waste bin is only for waste that cannot be recycled, like plastic bags, wallpaper and cling film.

Recycling your food waste

Tips to help you increase your recycling:

  • Remove all food packaging before putting the waste in your food waste bin
  • Remember to rinse and recycle the packaging, if possible
  • Only use the food waste bags we supply - they decompose with the food waste and we supply them free of charge
  • If you need more food waste bags, please tie your last bag to your food waste bin or you can always collect rolls of food waste bags from any of our main recycling centres.

If you don’t have a food waste bin or a kitchen food waste caddy, you can:

If you are waiting for a caddy and have a food waste bin, you can place food waste directly into your food waste bin or wrap it in newspaper.

Disposing of needles and other sharps

Sharps (needles, syringes and lancets) are clinical waste and must never be placed in a domestic bin of any type as they can cause injury to recycling and processing operatives.

Sharps boxes can also be purchased from pharmacies.

Putting the wrong materials into your bins or boxes?

If you put the wrong materials into your recycling bins or boxes, we won't be able to collect them.  It can contaminate our collection and all waste in the lorry may have to go to landfill. 

We'll put a non-collection tag on it telling you why it wasn't collected.  Please remove the offending item, dispose of it correctly and put your bin or box out on the next collection date. 

Contact us
Waste management
0800 032 8100
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street