Recycle Right

Although residents in East Herts are doing a good job with recycling, we have been receiving a lot of items that cannot be recycled in our mixed recycling bins. We know that it can be confusing as to what can and cannot be recycled and even committed recyclers may not get it right 100% of the time, so this campaign aims to help make recycling simpler.

Don't forget you can always refer to our A-Z guide for what can go in each of your bins. 

We collect paper separately from your other recyclables. It is loaded into its own compartment in the recycling vehicle (our vehicles have two chambers, one for paper and one for your other recyclables). 

The paper is then collected and transported to Palm Recycling who turn it into newsprint and other paper products.

Because the paper has been sorted by you and has been kept free of contamination, it is more valuable and can easily be recycled back. This prevents waste and also conserves resources and energy used when making paper from scratch.

What can go in my paper box?

Yes  No
White envelopes including with windows Brown paper and envelopes (mixed recycling bin)
All paper colours except brown, including shredded Card (mixed recycling bin)
Junk mail  Wrapping paper (refuse bin)
Newspapers and magazines (remove any plastic wrapping) Tissue paper (refuse bin)
Brochures and catalogues  Greaseproof paper (refuse bin)
Books (pages only, please remove cover and spine)  
Post-it notes   


FAQs regarding paper recycling

I don’t have a separate box to store paper in 

To ensure your paper can be recycled, it must be placed in your paper box and not in your mixed recycling (blue-lidded) bin. Please request a new paper box if you do not have one.

We've addressed past concerns about inner paper boxes going missing with our contractor and are now providing larger kerbside boxes instead. Please be aware that these kerbside boxes do not include lids.

Why do I have to have another bin for paper? 

If your paper is mixed with your general recycling it can easily become contaminated.

The kerbside paper boxes allow residents to recycle more paper and give more space for recycling waste inside the mixed recycling (blue-lidded) bin.

My kerbside paper box has arrived and doesn’t have a lid.

We do not supply lids for the kerbside boxes. We recommend that you keep the box and/or paper recycling indoors until your collection day. However, we understand that not everyone may have sufficient space for indoor storage. If this is the case, we recommend keeping the box as sheltered as possible from the wind/rain – a good way to do this is keeping it next to a fence or wall and between your refuse and mixed recycling bins. 

There are lots of plastics you can recycle, but there are also some that you cannot.

Plastics you can recycle in your mixed recycling bin

Please make sure all of your plastics are clean and empty before putting them into your mixed recycling bin.

Type of plastic  Examples
Washing products Washing-up liquid bottles
Fabric softener bottles
Food trays and containers Yoghurt pots, food 'pots/tubs' for soup, noodles and cakes
Meat trays
Margarine tubs
Ready-meal containers
Punnet-style containers that hold fruit / vegetables, such as mushrooms or grapes
Health and beauty Hair gel containers
Facial or body cream pots
Shampoo and Conditioner bottles
Sun cream bottles
Bottles Milk bottles
Squash bottles
Water bottles
Cleaning Products Tubs for cleaning products, such as stain remover and detergent
Detergent bottles
Cleaning fluid bottles
Bleach bottles
Garden and garage Fertiliser and lawn care bottles
Pesticide and pest care bottles
Weed killer bottles


Don't forget to also recycle cardboard, cartons, glass, cans, aerosols and clean foil.

Plastics that cannot be recycled - put them in your refuse bin

Plastic carrier bags Plastic bread bags
Bubble wrap Plastic bags from breakfast cereals
Clingfilm Plastic wrappers from multipacks of cans and plastic bottles
Crisp packets Plastic wrappers from toilet roll and kitchen towel
Food and drink pouches Plastic freezer bags
Film lids from food trays Plastic magazine (home delivery) and newspaper wrap
Any non-Polyethylene film (e.g. PP, PVC, others) Plant pots (greater than 9cm in diameter)
Buckets Paint tins
Toys Lipstick
Pressed powder containers Toothpaste tubes


Plastic carrier bags

Please do NOT put plastic carrier bags into your mixed recycling bin. Most local supermarkets offer plastic bag recycling facilities.

Putting these types of plastics in the recycling can cause problems with the machinery at the recycling centre. This might mean that all the recycling can’t be recycled and will end up in landfill.

Plastics you can recycle at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre

  • Hard plastics from the home and garden 
  • Plastic toys 

For more information on locations and opening times of your nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre, visit

The problems with putting items that can’t be recycled into your recycling bin are:

  • They can spoil the recyclable items. Just think what a dirty nappy could do to clean recyclables! Please make sure you keep your recyclables clean and empty.
  • They get caught in the machinery at the recycling centre.
  • It might mean they can’t be recycled. Some items such as electrical goods need specialist equipment to process them for recycling which is only available if they are collected at a Household Waste Recycling Centre (dump or tip).
  • It increases the likelihood of our recycling facilities rejecting whole lorry loads and them being sent to landfill – which has both a negative effect on the environment and the council tax payers’ wallet.
  • It means it can’t be reused – charity shops are a good option for suitable items in good condition, such as toys, furniture and books.
  • It costs council tax payers more due to longer sorting times and processing costs.

How to make sure you're recycling properly

  • Ensure recyclables are clean before you place them in your bin.
  • Keep plastic film and carrier bags out of your recycling bin.
  • Use our online A-Z guide which shows what items go in each bin.
  • If in doubt, leave it out – this helps ensure we are only sending the right materials to be recycled.

The benefits of recycling right

Recycling right really does make a difference:

  • It enables us to collect good clean recycling that can be turned into something new. 
  • It can boost East Hertfordshire’s recycling rate. 
  • With your help we can recycle even more of the correct items.

The most common incorrect items found in the mixed recycling bin

  • Hard plastics – such as toys
  • Soft plastics – such as carrier bags, plastic film (cling wrap)
  • Electrical items
  • Food waste
  • Black bags of general rubbish