National Recycle Week 2022: which bin to use, how to find my nearest centre - where to recycle mobile phone?

Recycle week sees retailers, brands, waste management companies, governments and the media come together to galvanise the public into recycling more often

Recycle Week is a major event which takes place every year to celebrate and encourage recycling across the nation.

It is the one week of the year where retailers, brands, waste management companies, trade associations, governments and the media come together to galvanise the public into recycling more often.

This year the event will run from 17 to 23 October, after being postponed due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. It is set to be a major event in the calendar after last year’s campaign saw more than 29 million digital impressions, and 82% of people saying it had prompted them to change their behaviour.

Here we explain this year’s theme, as well as where you can find your nearest recycling centre and which bins are used for recycling.

What is this year’s theme?

Organised by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) under the Recycle Now national campaign, Recycle Week this year is about getting real with our waste and how we are all going to get there together.

The theme for this year is ‘Let’s Get Real’ and will challenge perceptions and myths around recycling, and target contamination to improve recycling behaviours.

This year’s campaign will focus on three common questions that many of us have when it comes to recycling:

  • Does my recycling really make a difference? 
  • One item in the wrong bin can’t hurt, can it? 
  • Recycling is so confusing, isn’t it? 

Which bin is for recycling?

Your coloured household wheeled bins take different kinds of waste. Each household has three bins:

  • your blue bin is for recyclable waste
  • your brown bin is for garden waste and food waste
  • your green or grey bin is for non-recyclable waste

However, coloured bins vary across the country. For exaple, in Westminster, red bin bags are for light general waste and blue bags are for recycling such as paper, cardboard, glass, cans and pots. In Essex, a green or grey bin is for general refuse waste and pet waste, a brown bin is for food waste, a blue bin is for recycling. Meanwhile in Leeds, a black bin is for general waste, a green bin is for recycling and a brown bin is for garden waste.

You can check what goes in each bin by searching on your local council’s website online.

Recyclable waste includes items such as paper, cardboard, aerosols, food tins, drink cans and cartons and plastic bottles. You cannot put these items in your recycling bin:

  • plastic bags
  • plastic wrap or film
  • polystyrene
  • light bulbs
  • Pyrex and Vision cookware
  • mirrors
  • children’s toys
  • textiles or shoes
  • garden waste
  • food waste
  • liquids

Items that can go into your green or grey bin for non-recyclable waste include plastic bags, polystyrene, sanitary products and nappies.

Where can you recycle a mobile phone?

Up to 80% of a phone is recyclable, so you don’t need to send it to landfill or leave it in the drawer. Mobile phones contain a range of materials including metals and plastics that can be extracted and re-used. There are an increasing number of options for recycling and re-using old mobile phones.

Broken mobile phones can be disposed of at most Recycling Centres in the container for small electricals. Or if your unwanted phone is in good working condition and reasonably up-to-date, online resellers and high street shops such as Cash Converters and CeX can buy electrical or electronic items. Comparison sites like Compare and Recycle can help you find the best company for you.

Most charities also accept old mobile phones, whether they are working or not. They can raise valuable funds by passing them on to mobile phone recycling companies.

How to find your nearest recycling centre

You can find your nearest recycling centre by using Recycle Now’s locator. You can also find on the website where to recycle a specific item and what to put in your recycling at home.

The national campaign says on its website: “More and more people recycle everyday. This helps to reduce the need for landfill and more costly forms of disposal.

“Recycling also reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining and processing raw materials all of which create substantial air and water pollution. This helps to save energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping to tackle climate change.”