Recycling at home

Reading residents have a red bin or box for recyclable waste, and a grey bin for waste that cannot be recycled. These are collected once a fortnight on alternate weeks.

Residents can also subscribe to the garden waste service to receive a green bin or bag which is collected once a fortnight.

General waste & recycling FAQs:

What shall I do with my bins for them to be emptied?

Please place your bin, bag or box at the boundary of your property by 6am on the day of collection. All bin lids must be down for collection. We will not collect any waste not contained within the bin or left as excess at the side of the bin. Contact us on 0118 937 3787 if you have trouble moving your bin because of your age, illness or disability.

We will not empty recycling bins containing non-recyclable items.

Why should I recycle?

Recycling is great for the environment, economy and the people of Reading. Recycling reduces the need for extracting and processing raw materials which can pollute the atmosphere and water. This also helps the environment by saving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping us to tackle climate change. Recycling as much you can prevents it from going to landfill which is harmful for the environment.

Recycling can also save money, which can be directed towards other important services.

What happens to my recycling once it has been collected?

Once your kerbside recycling has been collected by the collection crews it is taken to the Material Recycling Facility on Island Road in Reading. The material is separated using a combination of manual and automatic processes, including magnets, conveyor belts and lasers, before being baled up and sent to private companies – places like paper mills or plastics recycling plants where they are recycled and made into new products.

Find out what happens to all your waste and recycling at RE3 once we have collected it.

The label on the packaging says it’s recyclable. Why can’t I put it in my recycling bin at home?

Recycling symbols are printed on packaging by the manufacturer. These show that the material could possibly be recycled but only if there are suitable local facilities to process the material.

What happens if I put the wrong things in my recycling bin?

If you put the wrong things in your recycling bin you risk contaminating the whole load of recycling within the collection vehicles. If there is a large amount of contamination within the vehicle, the load may be rejected at the RE3 recycling facility as it is unable to successfully go through the process. Did you know that each collection vehicle can collect up to 6 tonnes of recycling at a time? That is an awful lot of recycling that would go to waste.

Placing wrong items in your recycling bin can damage the machines and put the operatives at risk. It can also make the entire process at the recycling centre less efficient. Did you know that batteries can be a fire risk within the collection vehicles?

Why does my recycling have to be clean?

Making sure bottles and other food or drinks packaging are completely empty and giving them a quick rinse before recycling stops other recyclables from being contaminated. You could use the leftover water from the washing up to make sure they’re clean.

Should I take lids off plastic bottles before recycling or leave them on?

When recycling, we ask residents to empty and squash the bottles to let the air out. You can then either put the top back on the bottle or place it separately within the recycling bin.

What if I can’t fit all my kerbside recyclables in my bin?

You can put out extra recycling alongside your main recycling bin on collection day. It’s normally best to use cardboard boxes or any spare recycling containers you may have to hold any excess recycling.

Large items of cardboard will normally be collected if flattened and laid alongside your recycling bin.

Will you introduce kerbside glass recycling?

Separating glass from the kerbside collection would require additional investments to the material recycling facility and modifying and purchasing new trucks. It is our intention to manage waste in the most efficient ways possible. Our current assessment suggests that collecting glass in separate containers is currently more cost effective, and allows us to recycle it into higher grade glass products. This brings additional value to our recycling process.

We continue to review the potential of adding collecting more recyclable materials from the kerbside.

Our top tips for recycling in Reading:

  • Keep your recycling loose. Plastic bags are one of the most common contaminants found in recycling bins.
  • Give your recyclable food or drinks packaging a rinse to ensure it can be recycled.
  • Take your glass and textiles to your local bring bank site to be recycled.
  • If in doubt about what can be recycled, check the free recycling app. Download now!
Last updated on 18/06/2024