Bradford’s Recycling Rules

27 April, 2022

Bradford’s Recycling Rules

Recycling rules are a lot like making the brews in a busy office, no matter how hard you try and follow instructions, you always end up looking like a mug. But we’re here to change that! We’ve laid out what you can and can’t recycle, as well as some general bin rules that may have been lost in translation. With this Bradford recycling guide, you’ll be a recycling genius in no time.  

 According to Bradford Council: 

Here’s what you CAN put into your recycling bins:  

Grey bin: 

  • • Catalogues, junk mail, newspapers, magazines 
  • • Cardboard 
  • • Office paper, envelopes, shredded paper (to prevent spillage, please put in a small cereal or other cardboard box) 
  • • Aerosol cans 
  • • Aluminium foil 
  • • Food and drink cans 
  • • Glass bottles and jars 
  • • Plastic bottles 
  • • Plastic food trays 
  • • Margarine/butter tubs 
  • • Yoghurt pots 
  • • Food and drink cartons (e.g. Tetra Pak) 

Brown bin:

  • • Grass cuttings 
  • • Leaves 
  • • Twigs and small branches (cut into small pieces) 
  • • Hedge clippings 
  • • Garden plants and weeds 

Here’s what CANNOT go into your recycling bins:  

Grey bin: 

  • Plastic plant pots or seed trays 
  • Plastic bags, bin bags, crisp packets, cellophane, cling film or bubble wrap – these are a low-grade plastic which get tangled in the sorting machine 
  • Foam/polystyrene take away cups, food trays or packaging 
  • Waxed/coated cardboard take away drink cups – the card and plastic cannot be separated 
  • Mirrors or sheets of glass – these can be taken to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre 
  • Pyrex jugs or dishes – made from toughened/treated glass 
  • Paint tins or oil cans – these can be taken to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre 
  • Wallpaper – some have adhesive or coatings on them which can’t be separated 
  • Plastic toys or kitchenware such as kettles and washing up bowls 
  • Greetings cards with glitter, foil or beads 
  • Black plastic food trays 

Brown bin: 

  • Soil, rubble and stone 
  • Plant pots and seed trays 
  • Wire or plastic plant ties 
  • Glass or metal 
  • Cardboard, plastic and plastic bags 
  • Food, including fruit and vegetable peelings 
  • Dog and cat faeces 
  • Pet bedding and straw 

As well, your council has a few extra notes to keep in mind when sorting out your waste.   

Before you throw away that black plastic food tray, please know that these contain black pigment and low-grade plastic. Unfortunately, this means they cannot be recycled and should not be placed in your recycling bin. 

It’s a recycling party! All recyclable items can go into the same recycling bin, including paper. 

Before you recycle your food and drink items, be sure to give them a quick rinse (just like our milk bottles!) before throwing them in the bin. You also don’t have to worry about removing labels or lids. Lids can be left on plastic bottles but be sure to squash the bottle first! 

Have a lot of recycling? Your bin will only be collected if the lid is closed with no waste at the side. If you find you always have more recycling than you can fit, you can order another bin to use. As well, be sure to squash any of your recycling down to make more room – we recommend doing this after a particularly stressful day at work. 

Garden waste collection is only available with an annual charge, so be sure to sign up if you need it. Or, you can take your garden waste to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre. Better yet, why not try your hand at composting? We have all the deets in our Composting 101 guide.  

There is now an annual charge for the garden waste collection service. You can still sign up to the garden waste collection service. Alternatively, you can take it to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre, or you may wish to make your own compost. 

 For more of Bradford’s recycling details, just follow the link here

Where does Bradford’s recycling go?

Before Bradford’s recycling is reused and repurposed, it has to go through a sorting process (not to be confused with Hogwarts’ sorting hat). Luckily, your council has its own sorting centre, called a Material Reclamation Facility. There, a combination of mechanical and manual sorting takes place. After, depending on what material your recycling is, it’s then taken and made into different things. 

Aerosol, aluminium, and steel cans 

These items are recycled into materials for the steel industry. Fun fact! Most of the aluminium ever produced is still in use today. How cool is that? 

Cardboard and paper

Your cardboard is recycled back into cardboard, while your paper turns into recycled paper, which is then used for newsprint. You may be reading the daily news on last month’s office memos! 

Food and drink cartons

Most of your food and drink cartons are recycled into energy. The remaining cartons are pulped, and the aluminium foil and polythene are separated from the fibres. The fibres are made into paper, and the plastic and aluminium are used in furniture.  


Glass is sorted by colours, crushed and then screened. This glass is then sold to manufacturers to make new glass bottles and jars, while mixed coloured glass is used as aggregate in the construction industry. 


Your plastic recycling is melted down and used for a wide variety of products. These include fleece jackets, fencing, garden furniture, water butts, and compost bins.  

If you’d like to learn more about where Bradford’s recycling goes, just follow the link here