What can I recycle? | Colchester Borough Council

Coronavirus: view the status of our services

We are providing information for residents, businesses, and communities which we will review and update regularly. View the latest updates, advice and guidance.

What can I recycle?

What you can recycle and where to put it


  • Paper, card or plastic you can recycle
  • Glass or cans you can recycle
  • Clothes and shoes you can recycle
  • Garden waste you can recycle and what household waste can be thrown away

Quick Links

Food waste

Where does it go?

Locked in large external caddy

Quick reference

Yes please
No thank you
  • Fruit and vegetables (raw or cooked)
  • Meat, fish and shellfish (raw or cooked including bones)
  • Dairy products
  • Bread, cakes or pastries
  • Rice, pasta or beans
  • Uneaten food from plates or dishes
  • Tea bags or coffee grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Kitchen roll used to wipe up food and drink spills
  • Any sort of packaging or plastic
  • Liquids
  • Oils and fats
  • Pet food, litter or waste
  • Coffee filter paper
  • Biodegradable face wipes
  • Lolly sticks
  • Wooden cutlery
  • Any other recycling and rubbish


Order a new caddy


Purchasing food caddy liners


We are working in partnership with venues across the borough to provide food caddy liners at a discounted rate - from just 99p per roll. 

We advise using liners for your food caddy to reduce mess and smell, however you do not have to use liners if you do not wish to purchase them. Your food waste can be put directly into the caddy, we suggest lining the bottom first with some newspaper or kitchen roll.

Please note that if you are going to purchase liners from a stockist which is not on the list below, please look out for the 'seedling' logo on the roll Seedling logo which means that the liners are biodegradable.

Please do not line your bags with plastic bags as they are not biodegradable and cannot decompose naturally. 

Find your local stockist of food caddy liners


Paper and card

Where does it go?

Flatten boxes and place in clear bags.

Quick reference

Yes please
No thank you
  • Paper
  • Plain and Coloured Wrapping Paper
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Catalogues
  • Brochures
  • Comics
  • Junk mail
  • Yellow page/directories
  • Cereal packets
  • Tea packets
  • Cardboard boxes, flattened
  • Food boxes (not foil backed or waxed)
  • Egg boxes
  • Brown paper (in card bag)
  • Wrapping paper (paper based in card bag)
  • Brown envelopes
  • Washing powder boxes
  • Dishwasher tablet boxes
  • Cleaning product boxes
  • Kitchen and toilet roll
  • Greeting cards
  • Cigarette packets (with foil removed)
  • Used tissue
  • Kitchen roll
  • Wallpaper
  • Waxed paper
  • Waxed card
  • Wrapping paper (foil or plastic)

Order new bags

Glass, cans and more

Where does it go?

Cleaned and put in external green boxes (one for glass, one for others)

Quick reference

Yes please No thank you
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Metal cans and tins (tinned food and drink)
  • Metal lids
  • Foil
  • Aerosol cans
  • Biscuit Tins
  • Baby Milk Tins
  • Knives
  • Broken glass
  • Sheet glass including window panes
  • Drinking glasses
  • Ovenproof cookware (e.g. Pyrex, glass plates etc.)
  • Badly soiled metal items
  • General non-recyclable household waste
  • Garden furniture

Order new boxes

Clothes and shoes - collection by Essex Textiles launching 26 April

Where does it go?

Blue bags

Quick reference

Yes please No thank you
  • Clothes and textiles
  • Bed linen
  • Blankets
  • Tablecloths
  • Curtains
  • Towels
  • Handbags
  • Shoes
  • Oil and grease covered rags
  • Old paint sheets
  • Muddy rags
  • Duvets
  • Cushions
  • General non-recyclable household waste
  • Carpet

To order new bags, contact Essex Textiles.

Order new bags


Where does it go?

Clear bags. Rinse, squash and pop the lids back on plastic bottles.

Quick reference

Yes please No thank you
  • Plastic bottles like:
    • Plastic milk bottles
    • Fizzy drink bottles
    • Water bottles
    • Shampoo bottles
    • Bottles from household cleaning products
    • Bleach bottles
  • Plastic pots like:
    • Yoghurt pots
    • Cream pots
    • Soup pots
    • Salad pots
  • Plastic tubs like:
    • Margarine tubs
    • Ice cream tubs 
  • Plastic trays like:
    • Meat trays
    • Fruit trays or punnets
    • Biscuit trays 
  • Blister packs like:
    • Packaging containing batteries, toys, tablets 
  • Plastic plant pots
  • Worn out white garden sacks
  • Plastic bags like:
    • Carrier bags
    • Bread bags
    • Freezer bags
    • Fruit and vegetable bags
    • Multi-pack crisp bags
    • Salad and sandwich bags 
  • Plastic wrapping like:
    • Plastic nets & labels (e.g. for citrus fruits)
    • Plastic film from magazines and newspapers
    • Wrapping from food products
    • Wrapping around multi-packs of cans
    • Wrapping around toilet rolls
    • Cling film
    • Plastic cereal liners
  • Plastic film from the top of ready meals
  • Pesticide or chemical bottles 
  • Hard plastics like:
    • Children's toys
    • Milk crates 
  • Polystyrene, including:
    • Polystyrene food trays (e.g. take-away boxes)
    • Expanded polystyrene packaging (e.g. Loosefill polystyrene used for padding in packaging)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Electronic items 
  • Plastic strapping or rope (e.g. polyrope, lock lashing straps)
  • Aluminium Coated Plastic Pouches and Packaging 
  • Cat Food Pouches 
  • Crisp Packets 
  • Video/cassette tapes or CD/DVD cases 
  • Plastic toys 
  • Washing up bowls
  • Large items such as garden furniture

Order new bags

Garden waste

Where does it go?

White garden sacks

Quick reference

Yes please No thank you
  • Grass, leaves and weeds 
  • Flowers and plants 
  • Hedge clippings 
  • Prunings and twigs 
  • Hay/straw (bedding from non-meat eating animals only including small animal faeces e.g. rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs) 
  • Fruit/veg prunings from garden (no kitchen waste)
  • Large branches 
  • Plastic or black bags 
  • Paper (including paper used as bedding for your pet)
  • Soil, mud or rubble 
  • Plant pots 
  • Treated wood 
  • Large stones, bricks, paving slabs and soil 
  • Kitchen waste such as raw fruit and vegetable peelings 
  • Tea bags, egg shells, cardboard 
  • Animal waste or litter
  • Large branches and household timber with nails and screws inserted 
  • Nappies 
  • Waxed packaging and polythene 
  • Toxic waste and pesticides

Order garden sacks

Household rubbish

Where does it go?

Black bags

Quick reference

Yes please No thank you
  • Nappies, incontinence pads, catheter/stomach bags and sanitary waste
  • Plastic film and polystyrene
  • Pet litter and waste
  • Knives, broken glass or sharp objects (wrapped in newspaper or cardboard with warning label on)
  • Biodegradable face wipes
  • Clinical and hazardous waste including infectious medical items, needles, granular or powder pesticides, liquid pesticides or asbestos
  • Recycling materials
  • Garden waste
  • Commercial waste
  • Hot ashes
  • Electrical and electronic items
  • Batteries
  • Beverage cartons
  • Liquid waste including oil and paint
  • Large bulky household items including fridges, freezers, beds, televisions and cabinets


Information about black bags