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Recycling in Southampton

Voice FM is supporting Southampton Council with its drive to increase recycling levels in Southampton.
The campaign has begun with the Greasy Pizza Boxes promotion and will continue with more information about how we can raise Southampton up the national league table.
All the information you need is below...
 Southampton is 317th of 338 local authorities across England in the Annual Recycling League Table.
Our recycling rate is only 27.5% - meaning only 27.5% of our waste is sent for recycling, reuse or composting.
This needs to be improved.
The best performing areas are St. Albans and South Oxfordshire.

Recycling in Southampton (the good items)

Southampton has various obstacles we need to get over before we get ourselves up that league stable and performing to a higher standard.
We need to get people recycling right and understanding what can and can’t be recycled in Southampton. 
The six items that can be recycled in Southampton are:
  • paper,
  • cardboard,
  • aluminium cans,
  • tins,
  • aerosols
  • and plastic bottles. 

Recycling in Southampton (the good items)

Although an item may have a ‘recyclable’ icon on its packaging, that does not mean it can be recycled in Southampton.
Southampton City Council is working towards being able to recycle more, but for now, they need everyone to get the basics right and only put these six items in their recycling bin.
If residents are unsure about a certain item, they would prefer them to put it in their general waste bin, and avoid contaminating the recycling.
For people who want to recycle more than the six items that can be recycled at home… There are many alternative ways to recycle other materials in the city.
The council encourages you to please refer to their Recycling A-Z Guide at soton.cc/AZ.
How to recycle
Only recycle the six items listed.
Items in recycling bins can not be bagged!
They should be placed in the recycling bin clean, dry and loose. 
A ‘contaminated’ bin is a bin that the council's frontline crews have deemed unsuitable for collection, due to unsuitable items being identified inside the bin.
What is contamination?
A ‘contaminated’ bin is a bin that the council's waste crews have deemed unsuitable for collection, due to unsuitable items being identified inside the bin.
This is most commonly a problem in recycling bins. Items that contaminate recycling bins are any items that are not the six recyclable items listed above.
Items that can not be recycled cause a variety of problems. These include:
  • Reduced quality of Southampton's output from the recycling stream
  • Having unsuitable items manually picked out of the recycling stream at the Mixed Recycling Facility
  • Cause damage to our waste facilities, as well as harm to staff. Examples include items clogging up machines, and staff being harmed by stray needles, and other hazardous waste
  • Cause fires in our vehicles and recycling centres… The main culprits for this problem are irresponsibly disposed of batteries and electrical items
We know it seems simple however teams have reported items such as saws, car engines, needles, textiles and even, in one instance, a snake!
It’s worth noting, once a bin is contaminated, the entire bin won’t be collected.
Also contaminating items can invalidate all the efforts made by others.
Most common issues
  • Not knowing what items can be recycled. Again, it’s only the six above, for now.
  • Plastic pots, tubs and trays in recycling bins! We can not recycle these in Southampton! Yoghurt pots, microwave meal trays, plastic tubs regularly crop up in our recycling streams. We need as much education about these as possible.
  • People placing their recycling in plastic bags and then into wheelie bins. We can’t accept these!
  • Side waste: people placing extra bags alongside bins. These won’t be picked up and need to go to HWRC.
  • Greasy pizza boxes, especially in student areas: the grease on a pizza box is bad for our machinery. Please, please, put pizza boxes in the general waste bin and avoid contaminating your recycling bin.
  • Open bin lids: overflowing or bin lids not able to be closed cause bins to spill out on to street, but also are dangerous for our bin crews. When placed on the lorry for emptying, a bin with an open lid can swing back and hit crew members. For this reason, we don’t collect bins with open lids.
  • Batteries can cause fires! Batteries can never be placed in ANY household bin. They cause fires in the machinery, can place crews in harm’s way and ultimately and can slow down waste collections. People also are not aware of hidden batteries: mobile phones, vapes, laptops, toys, fairy lights etc. NONE of these items can go in ANY household bin.
  • Tins, plastic bottles and aluminium cans must be clean when they’re placed in the recycling bin. Please rinse out, dry and then place in blue-lidded bin.  
Good links
Enter your item, your postcode and this tool will show you alternative ways of recycling your waste in your area.
This is an A-Z of frequently asked about items. This is always being added to.
Another handy recycling locator tool, full of information about recycling electrical goods etc.
This website/app outlines where residents can refill their water bottles for free, rather than buying a new plastic bottle. In some cases, businesses also offer to refill lunch boxes.
Tackling food waste, this app/website offers people a chance to pick up leftovers from cafes and restaurants near them at a (heavily) discounted price. If you’re a business, you can sign up your store to participate, rather than throwing away unsold items.