Recycling Masterclass

Recycling is great. We love it! But there's always some small niggling questions. Should bottle tops be removed? Can jam jar lids be recycling with tins? If you're stuck with a recycling conundrum, email us at and we'll find an expert to answer it.

"Can shampoo/conditioner bottles be recycled with the plastic milk bottles?"

Yes. Any plastic bottles can go in. Just rinse and squash them. Yorwaste currently take any kind of plastic bottle.

"What do I do with plastic bottle tops?"

They can be left on the bottles, but only if the bottle is squashed. If the bottle is not squashed and the lid is on, it causes problems when baling the plastic. If the lids are removed they can be put into the plastic bottle recycling bag.

"What should I do with jam jar lids?"

Chuck them in with the tins.

"Do I need to remove labels from jars and bottles first?"

Well, if you can, then they can be either recycled with paper or alternatively composted. But it's not essential. All the glass will be eventually crushed at the recycling plant and the non-glass material will be separated.

"Can I really recycle aerosols?"

Yes, these can be recycled with the metal tins. They must be fully emptied first otherwise they can explode when they are being crushed and baled.

"Can toothpaste tubes be recycled?"

Basically no, they can't be recycled, at least not in York. Some plastic re-processors take all types of plastic but Yorwaste who take York's plastic only take bottles regardless of their type. Occasionally, you get metal toothpaste tubes which can be recycled like other metal tubes, such as tomato puree tubes.

"How do I recycle mixed materials, such as cleaning product triggers which have plastic and metal combined?"

If something has an easily removable bit of a different material then it's best to remove it. In the case of the cleaning spray, if you can remove the metal spring, put it in with the plastic.

"Can I put cardboard drinks cartons in with the normal cardboard collection?"

No! no! no! Drinks cartons, although mainly cardboard, also have several layers of plastic and metal. They can't be recycled as normal cardboard, and need to go in to a special drinks carton (or "Tetrapak") bank. In York, there are five such collection banks.

"Can I stick cardboard in the normal paper collection?"

Again, afraid not. Paper and card are made from different grades of pulp. Mixing up recycling like this affects the quality of the end recycled product.

Last modified: Tue 22 January 11:45 PM