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Cambridge City Council

What goes in which bin

Your coloured bins are used as follows:

  • Blue bin: recyclable materials
  • Black bin: non-recyclable and non-compostable materials
  • Green bin: food and garden waste

We include a cut-out-and-keep guide to what goes in which bin in most editions of Cambridge Matters, the magazine we deliver to all residents every three months.

Search our recycling and rubbish A to Z to find out about how to recycle, reuse or dispose of specific items.

To recycle batteries, tie them in a small plastic bag and put it on top of your blue, green or black bin. We can recycle small batteries such as AA, AAA, 9V or button-style this way. If we cannot collect them because the container on the lorry is full, put them out again next time.

Blue bins

Put these in your blue bin:

  • Paper, including newspapers, magazines and envelopes
  • Cardboard including corrugated boxes, greetings cards and thin card packaging
  • Cartons, such as Tetra Pak
  • Plastic bags (except black bin bags)
  • Empty and clean plastic bottles, pots, and trays
  • Food and drink tins and cans, including sweet tins
  • Empty aerosols
  • Wrapping paper (no metallic plastic)
  • Clean tinfoil and foil trays
    Empty and clean glass jars and bottles
  • Non-metallic plastic packets or wrappers e.g. bread bags, pasta bags

Do not put these in your blue bin:

  • Food
  • Liquids
  • Nappies
  • Clothes, textiles or shoes (take to charity shops or clothing banks)
  • Expanded polystyrene or Styrofoam
  • Foam and sponge
  • Non-packaging plastic, including toys, bowls and decorations
  • Flat glass or mirrors
  • Pyrex
  • Kitchen paper and tissues
  • Dirty packaging
  • Paint tins
  • Metallic plastic wrappers e.g. crisp packets
  • Black bin bags
  • Electrical items

Black bins

Put these in your black bin:

  • General household non-recyclable and non-compostable material waste
  • Disposable nappies should be put in the black bin

Do not put these in your black bin:

  • Empty or full paint tins
  • Rubble
  • Bricks
  • Soil
  • Very heavy items
  • Electrical items
  • Loose ash or dust (please bag)

Green bins

Put these in your green bin:

  • Garden waste, such as grass cuttings and leaves
  • Untreated wood
  • Straw and sawdust
  • Food waste, including meat, fish dairy, and peelings
  • Used paper tissues
  • Cut-up real Christmas trees (lid must close)

Do not put these in your green bin:

  • Any plastic
  • Plastic bags or sacks, including biodegradable or compostable bags
  • Cat or dog waste
  • Soil, stones or turf
  • Treated wood
  • Rubble

We cannot collect extra garden waste.

You can home compost, visit a Household Recycling Centre or apply for an additional green bin if you have extra garden waste.

You can use a kitchen caddy with a paper liner for your kitchen food waste, and empty it into your green bin when full.

Service related queries

For questions about a service we provide, please use our contact us form