Recycling guide for Bristol

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Recycling Guide for Bristol

Clifton suspension bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge at Sunrise by Harshil Shah (CC BY-ND 2.0) via Flickr

Bristol City Council provides a full range of waste collection services for households in the local authority area.

The city also has two main Household Recycling Centres (tips) and numerous recycling banks.

Residents are supplied with a black wheelie bin for rubbish that cannot be recycled, two recycling boxes, a food waste caddy and an optional paid-for garden waste bin or bags.

Bins need to be put out for collection by 7am on the day designated for collection in your particular area.

CLICK HERE to search by postcode to find out when your collection day is.

For queries regarding recycling and waste collection services telephone 0117 922 2100.

Recycling Collection Boxes

Households in Bristol Town Council area have two plastic boxes (green and black) in which to place various waste materials for recycling.

Residents are asked to separate items to facilitate collections and mark their boxes with their house number. If there is not enough room in the box for all the items extra material may be put alongside the boxes in untied carrier bags (not black refuse bags) for collection.

Black Recycling Box:

  • Old clothes and textiles in untied carrier bags to keep them dry (wet textiles will not be collected)
  • Rinsed Glass bottles and jars (no lids – these go in the green box)
  • Paper, envelopes (no brown paper, and please put shredded paper in an untied carrier bag)
  • Newspapers, magazines, catalogues, phone directories or junk mail
  • Pairs of shoes tied together
  • Household batteries, including rechargeable (in a small, clear tied bag)
  • Spectacles
  • Engine oil (in a secure container)

Car batteries and small electrical items will be collected if put out alongside the black recycling box.

Green Recycling Box:

The following items will be collected from the Green recycling box by Bristol Council recycling crews:

  • Cartons including Tetra Paks (flattened and rinsed)
  • Cardboard (flatten and remove tape)
  • All bottle tops, lids and caps (metal and plastic)
  • Bottles from the kitchen (milk, squash, cola, ketchup)
  • Bottles from the bathroom (shampoo, cleanser, shower gel)>
  • Bottles from under the sink (bleach, washing up liquid)
  • Pots (yogurts pots)
  • Trays (meat, fruit, biscuit trays)
  • Tubs (ice cream, margarine)
  • Cans. All food and drink cans (please rinse)
  • Foil and take away containers, rinsed and squashed
  • Empty Aerosols with lids removed
  • Type 1 PET – soft drinks bottles, water bottles, cooking oil bottles
  • Type 2 HDPE – detergent bottles, milk bottles, washing up liquid bottles
  • Type 5 PP – bottle caps, drinking straws, yogurt pots, margarine tub
  • Type 6 PS – if plastic tableware, vending cups, meat trays , fruit and vegetable trays

Put next to your green recycling box:

  • Small electrical items with plugs, rechargable appliances and mobile phones (must fit in a standard size carrier bag beside your box)

What NOT to put in your green recycling box:

  • All black plastic (regardless of “type”). Plastics are sorted by a machine that uses light to separate the different types of plastic. Black plastics can’t be seen by this optical sorting method.
  • Bin liners
  • Bubble wrap
  • Carrier/plastic bags
  • Cellophane
  • Cling film
  • Crisp packets
  • Hard plastics (e.g. flower pots, toys, videos, drain pipes)
  • Polystyrene
  • Type 3 PVC or V – plastic pipes, hard plastic eg the type used for outdoor furniture, plastic toys, CD/DVD cases, shrink wrap
  • Type 4 LDPE – carrier bags and bin liners, crisp packets, bread bags, frozen food bags, bubble wrap, non-plastic items
  • Expanded PS (polystyrene foam)

Food Waste Collections

Households 502155430_ca46611dde_min Bristol have a small brown kitchen caddy and large outdoor lockable brown bin in which to deposit food waste. Leftover and surplus food can be collected in the kitchen caddy and then decanted into the brown bin, which is put out for collection.

Residents are advised to line the kitchen caddy with a compostable liner or newspaper.

The collected food waste is processed into compost.

What to put in your food waste caddy/bin:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat and fish
  • Cooked and uncooked food
  • Leftover food
  • Bread, pasta, cereal and rice
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Dairy products and egg shells
  • Bones

What NOT to put in your food waste caddy/bin:

  • Small cardboard items such as toilet rolls or egg boxes (use green recycling box)
  • Small amounts of shredded paper (use black recycling box)
  • Plastic (use green recycling box)
  • Corn starch liners without the compostable logo
  • Metal (use green recycling box)
  • Glass (use black recycling box)
  • Any other household waste besides food waste

Garden Waste Collection Service

Householders in the Bristol Council area have four ways to dispose of/recycle their garden waste:

1. Purchase garden waste sacks and book a collection from the kerbside

Residents can purchase 75-litre garden waste sacks for £1.00 each online, which includes delivery and collection. Sacks can also be obtained from listed local retailers; from a local Customer Services point; from a local library; or by contacting 0117 922 2100 (bundles of 25 only).

To have your filled sacks collected, call the above number to book a collection (allow at least two days for this to take place). Collections may also be booked online.

Only sacks bought from authorised outlets and bearing the Bristol City Council and May Gurney logo will be collected.

(Details about what can and cannot be put into the garden waste sacks are the same as given for the green garden waste wheelie bin in 2. below).

2. Subscribe to an annually paid garden waste service with green wheelie bin collection

Domestic households in Bristol pay £53 for a year’s collection of garden waste together with the provision of a green 240 litre wheelie bin. After the first year the charge is £32 per year for continued collection.

Those on certain benefits and low income are charged a reduced rate.

Those who pay by direct debit qualify for a discount of £3 off the annual charge.

The service can be ordered by telephoning 0117 922 2100 or online.

What can be put in the green garden waste bin AND/OR garden waste sacks:

  • Flowers and plants
  • Grass cuttings
  • Leaves and bark
  • Hedge prunings
  • Branches – up to 10cm or 4 inches in thickness
  • Straw or sawdust – if bedding material, vegetarian animals only, such as gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits.
  • Weeds – no Japanese Knotweed
  • Leaves
  • Twigs
  • Plants

What should not be put in the green garden waste bin AND/OR garden waste sacks:

  • Cardboard – please put in or next to your green box
  • Japanese Knotweed
  • Soil and turf
  • Compost
  • Stone or rubble
  • Treated wood
  • Plant pots
  • Cat, dog or other pet litter
  • Vacuum cleaner contents
  • Nappies
  • Plastic, metal or glass
  • Any other household waste

3. Transport the waste to one of Bristol’s Household Recycling Centres (tips)

4. Compost the waste at home in a compost bin delivered to your property by the Council at a special price.

Bulky waste items collection service

Bristol Council will collect up to three unwanted bulk waste items from domestic properties by appointment for £15 a time. Four to six items collected at the same booking will cost £30. Those on certain benefits are entitled to a free bulky waste collection of up to three items every six months.

Book a bulky item collection online or call 0117 922 2100.

You can pay for your bulky waste collection by:

  • Using the online payment form
  • Calling the Bristol Council Customer Service Centre and paying with either a credit or debit card, or by sending us a cheque.
  • Booking with the Customer Service Centre and then using the reference number to pay by cash, cheque or card at a Customer Service Point.

The Council stipulates that items for collection should be put in front of the property by 7am on the appointed collection day, from where they will be collected before 5pm that day. Glass needs to be secured with an X taped across it, and disassembled items should be bundled. Crews will not transport items up or down steps, and will only collect items that can be safely carried by two people.

Items that the Council will collect include:

  • Fridges and freezers
  • Washing machines
  • Furniture.
  • Mattresses.
  • Electrical items (including TVs).

Items that cannot be collected include:

  • Paint and other liquids.
  • Any item over six feet in length.
  • Any item that cannot be carried by two people.
  • Car parts and tyres.
  • Chemicals.
  • Engine oil (place next to your black recycling box in a sealed container).
  • Asbestos (can be taken to Household Waste Recycling Centres (tips)).
  • Building waste (including rubble and hardcore).
  • Business waste (this includes furniture owned by the landlord of a rented property).
  • Heavily soiled items.

Alternative organisations
The Council donates working fridges, electric cookers and washing machines for reuse by various organisations. If you prefer you may wish to contact charity groups yourself to find out if they can collect and recycle your unwanted items. Some of the organisations suggested are:

Household Recycling Centres in Bristol (tips)

St Philips, Google Street View May 2014

Bristol has two Household Waste Recycling Centres where residents can dispose of a wide variety of unwanted materials and items, most of which is recycled.

The Centres are:

  • St Philips, Folly Lane, off Days Road, St Philips, Bristol, BS2 0QS
  • Avonmouth, Kings Weston Lane, Avonmouth, Bristol, BS11 0YS

Both are open daily from 8am until 6.45pm between 1 April and 27 October, and from 8am until 4.15pm between 28 October and 31 March. The tips are closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Both these centres are for domestic use only and for the exclusive use of Bristol residents and proof of residency may be requested/required during a visit.

If you bring waste to either of the Centres in a van, pickup truck or trailer more than five feet in length you will need a permit to make use of the facilities.

The following items/materials can be brought to the Household Waste Recycling Centres:

  • Books, DVDs and CDs.
  • Car batteries and domestic batteries.
  • Cardboard.
  • Cooking oil.
  • Domestic refrigerators and freezers.
  • Tin cans, foil.
  • Glass bottles and jars.
  • Green waste from gardens.
  • Hard plastic (for example, old toys, household items, drainpipes).
  • Hazardous household waste. Check official policy before you bring anything
  • Household electrical appliances (large and small, known as ‘WEEE’).
  • Household furniture.
  • Paper and magazines.
  • Plastic bottles.
  • Rubble and soil.
  • Scrap metal.
  • Shoes, clothes and textiles.
  • Shredded paper.
  • Spectacles.
  • Televisions and monitors.
  • Used engine oil.
  • Wood waste.

Household Waste Recycling Banks

In addition to the two main Recycling Centres described above, Bristol City is served by dozens of small recycling stations/banks, the majority of which are not run by the City Council.

Residents can deposit a wide range of unwanted material in the containers and bins at these banks.

Click here for a list of recycling banks, their location, and items which can be deposited for recycling at each.


Recycling Guides

Friends of the Earth Recycling GuideRecycling guides

A great free guide from Friends of the Earth about recycling.

Which Magazine Recycling Guide

Which magazines free guide to recycling

Recycling Guides Network

The Recycling Guide Network offers free guides and information on how to recycle for homes, schools and businesses.


RecycleNow offers online free guides, information and videos about what to recycle and how it is reused.

Know your symbols

General Recycle and Re-use symbols

Download these symbols as a pdf.

You’re sure to recognise some of these common recycling symbols, but do you know the meaning of them all?

Aluminium recycling logo ALUMINIUM This symbol indicates that the product is made from recyclable aluminium.
Compostable Logo COMPOSTABLE This is a Europe wide symbol confirming the product is industrially compostable. Take to your RC.
European Eco label EUROPEAN ECOLABEL A European symbol that shows the product has been produced in an environmentally friendly manner.
Glass recycling logo GLASS Please put this recyclable glass container in a bottle bank.
Green Dot recycling logo GREEN DOT In participating countries this means the manufacturer is funding a recycling program for products with this label. The UK isn’t a participating country.
Metal recycling logo METALS Please put recyclable metals into the skip at the RC.
Mobius loop logo MOBIUS LOOP This indicates whether the product can be recycled.
Mobius loop logo with percentage MOBIUS LOOP WITH PERCENTAGE This indicates how much of the product is made from recycled materials.
Paper recycling logo PAPER Products bearing this logo have already been recycled. The product must contain at least 50% waste paper or board not generated as mill waste. The figure shown is how much recycled material is used.
Tidyman logo TIDY MAN Implies that you should dispose of the product carefully, do not litter.
WEEE Directive logo WEEE DIRECTIVE Shows that a product can be recycled separately from other household waste under the WEEE directive.
Wood recycling logo WOOD This logo identifies products containing wood from well managed forests.

Plastic recycling symbols

These symbols identify the type of plastic used in identify the type of plastic used in a packaging.

Recycle PETEPolyethylene Terepthalate found in Soft drink bottles & Cooking oil bottles – recycled into Pillow stuffing & Carpets.




Recycling HDPEHigh Density Polyethylene found in Milk bottles, Shampoo bottles & Yogurt containers – recycled into Playground equipment & bottles.

Recycling PVCPVC found in Water bottles & Detergent bottles – recycled into Floor tiles, Bubble wrap & Traffic cones.

Recycling LDPELow Density Polyethylene found in Grocery bags, Dry cleaning bags & Frozen food bags – recycled into Compost liners & Rubbish bin liners.

PlasticRecyclingPPPolypropylene found in Ketchup bottles, Syrup bottles, Lunch boxes & Dairy food containers – recycled into Pipes, Pegs, Battery cases & Trays.

Recycling polystyrenePolystyrene found in Foam cups & plates, Food trays & packaging – recycled into Egg cartons, Coat hangers & Stationery trays.

Recycling other plasticAll other plastics and multi-materials found in Safety glasses & Car lights – recycled into Outdoor signs & Car parts.