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What goes in my bins and boxes?

Coronavirus update

Last updated: Thursday 26 March 2020

If you’re on a black, blue and brown bin collection cycle, we will only collect your black bin for now to allow resources to be redirected. 

There is a temporary disruption to the Bryson recycling box collection. Please leave your recycling boxes out as usual. If your collection does not take place, please save up your recycling for your next collection, if you can. We will update you on our website and social media, when this service has resumed.

We have suspended the wheelie box trial serving around 5,000 households in north Belfast. 

We have introduced this approach to protect the health and safety of staff and the public and will keep this under review.

Waste disposal and cleaning guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Use normal household products like detergents and bleach to clean frequently-touched surfaces.

Please securely store all personal waste, such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths in rubbish bags. Place these bags into a second bag, tie it securely and keep it separate from other waste in the room in which you are self-isolating. Keep these bags aside for at least 72 hours before putting into your usual black or grey waste bin.

It is really important that you do not put these items into your recycling bin or boxes. 

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 2 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 3 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