Join the Big Recycling Hunt

Tips on how to recycle correctly at home so all waste goes into the correct bin.

Did you know that Oxfordshire residents are among the best in the country at recycling? Our recycling rate is around 60% but despite this great work, some items are still disposed of in the wrong bin.

The theme for this year’s national Recycle Week is “The Big Recycling Hunt” - a national movement to encourage people to recycle correctly ensuring all waste is disposed of in the correct bins. We’re asking everyone to hunt for missing recycling to make our recycling rate even higher.  The main things we find in rubbish that could have been recycled are:

  • Food waste 
  • Card and paper,
  • Empty aerosols,
  • Food and drink cans,
  • Plastic bottles, pots, tubs, and trays.

If you can’t avoid generating this waste or repurposing it to use it for something else, then recycling is the next best option.

The figures below show the amount of each item that makes up Oxfordshire’s rubbish bins:

The Big Recycling Hunt #recycleweek @OxfordshireRecycles
Image of black bin. Nearly 50% of waste in rubbish bin could have been recycled. Non recyclable waste made up 52% contents, 25% was food waste, 6% card and paper, 4% dense plastics, 2% food and drinks tins, 10% other recyclable items

Food waste

Oxfordshire already recycle nearly half of all food waste produced, over 25,000 tonnes of food is still thrown away in the rubbish bins. What does this amount of food look like? It is about the same as 800 million packets of crisps – the same number as there are people in the whole of Europe. Some food gets thrown away uneaten in its packaging because it has gone off. If this happens, please separate the food from the packaging and put it into your food bin. You can also then recycle the packaging.

Card and paper

Most paper and card can be recycled – except for things like paper towels and greaseproof paper. Almost 6,000 tonnes of paper and card has been found making up the rubbish bin each year. This missing recyclable paper and card weighs the same as around 23 million empty cardboard boxes. If these were laid end to end, they would stretch from Oxford to Malaysia.


There have been numerous recyclable aerosols found in the rubbish bins each year. Empty aerosols can be recycled in your kerbside recycling bin and partially full or full aerosols should be taken to a Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Food and drinks cans

Nearly 2,000 tonnes of metal tins, the equivalent weight as more than 4 million cans of baked beans, are found in the rubbish bins each year, which is valuable metal that could have been recycled.

Food tins should be rinsed before you recycle them. The best time to do this is at the end of washing up so you’re not increasing your water use. Drinks cans should also be empty, tip them upside down and leave them to drain in the sink if needed.

Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays

All Oxfordshire councils accept plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays at the kerbside. This is mostly food packaging but also bottles and tubs from other rooms of the house – for example, washing up and cleaning bottles.

  • Leave the lids on the bottles
  • Remove any plastic film lids from pots tubs and trays – these could be recycled separately in the bins at some large supermarkets
  • Leave the spray nozzle on things like spray cleaner bottles

As with food tins, please make sure all food containers are rinsed.

More than 4,000 tonnes of dense plastics are still being found in the rubbish bin each year, the same weight as more than 90 million plastic drinks bottles.

Be a part of The Big Recycling Hunt, making sure to find those items that have escaped the recycling bin.

We all want to see cleaner oceans, streets, and a healthy planet. It can feel like an overwhelming challenge, but change is possible. It is important to recycle correctly as the environmental and economic value of the item can be recovered to create new products. Recycling reduces the need for new raw materials, reducing carbon emissions and the energy used to make the products we buy.


More recycling tips

With so many products out there and different messages it is understandable that not all waste is disposed of in the correct bin, however these are the best places to look for information so you can recycle correctly:

1. For more information about Recycle Week visit the Oxfordshire Recycles webpage or follow them on Facebook or Twitter

2. Search the Waste Wizard to find out if your waste item is recyclable and ensure it is put in the correct bin. Just enter your postcode and the item you want to check, and it will give you clear instructions.

3.Visit your district council’s website – district councils are responsible for bin collections

    Cherwell District Council
    West Oxfordshire District Council
    Oxford City Council
    South Oxfordshire District Council
    Vale of White Horse District Council