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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 small household batteries, for example AA, AAA, 9V, button – please put them inside a small tied plastic bag and place this loosely on top of the lid of your blue, green or black bin. On occasions when the battery container on the bin lorry is full, we cannot collect the batteries. If this is the case, please wait until the following week.

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