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Recycling household items in Reading with re3

If you live off-campus in the Reading area, you may not know that re3 is responsible for sorting the recycling that the Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell local authorities collect from households on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. They have won and been nominated for awards for their facilities and technology. In addition to sorting the waste from household collections, re3 have recycling centres where you can take items that are not suitable for kerbside collections, plus recycling banks specifically for glass and textiles. To find out more, visit their website:

Key takeaways:

  • Recycling helps the environment, more than you may realise
  • Red bins are for recycling and they won’t be collected if they are overflowing, contain non-recyclable waste or if waste is not loose in the bin
  • RINSE materials before putting in the bin and SQUASH things to create more space
  • Reading Borough Council collects waste on alternating weeks (1 week black bin, 1 week red bin)
  • Wokingham Borough Council collects waste (including recycling) weekly
  • Check to see what can be recycled – more items than ever are now being recycled
  • DO NOT put glass in your recycling bin
  • Food waste is coming to Reading Borough Council
  • There are many additional things you can do to reduce waste beyond recycling – see

Reasons you should recycle

  1. It saves money. 70% of waste that goes to landfill can be recycled. Recycling waste costs the local council less money, so by recycling, you will be freeing up important resources that can be used on other public services
  2. It conserves resources. Recycled waste gets repurposed into new products, reducing the demand for raw materials. It also reduces the other resources required to extract materials, such as water. This is vital if we are to stop the climate crisis as the planet has a finite supply of these materials
  3. Conserves energy. Did you know that 95% less energy is used to make an aluminium can from recycled aluminium? The more we recycle, the more we can produce using recycled materials, which means less energy in production and less energy used for extracting raw materials – plus fewer greenhouse gas emissions
  4. Reduces landfill. re3 now landfills less than 12% of its household waste. According to Friends of the Earth we send 15 million tonnes of waste to landfill every year in the UK. When the biodegradable materials start to break down, harmful greenhouse gases are released. When electrical materials break down, which contains toxic substances like mercury, arsenic, and solvents it combines with ‘leachate’ – a toxic liquid formed when all types of waste break down – which pollute our soils and groundwater. Not to mention the local pollution landfills cause to marine and countryside life as well as taking up valuable space and ruining the beauty the UK has to offer

When is your next bin collection?

What happens to your recycling at re3?

Watch this video from 1 minute and 39 seconds to see what happens at an re3 recycling facility:

When food waste collections are rolled out early next year, the food will be sent to a facility that generates electricity from the food waste.

What can you recycle?

For a simple way to find out if you can recycle a particular item, check the re3cyclopedia. It’s available to use as an app or you can check on the website:

For a visual overview, please see the tables below. You may also like to print out this leaflet for your household to refer to easily:

Yes please!


Aerosol cans deodorants, air fresheners, anti-freeze cans
Aluminium cans and steal tins drink cans, food tins, biscuit or sweet tins
Card cereal boxes, corrugated card, egg boxes, kitchen and toilet roll tubes, flattened delivery boxes, greetings cards, empty pizza boxes
Cartons (Tetrapak) juice, milk and soup cartons
Foil and foil trays
Paper catalogues, brochures and directories, junk mail, flyers, letters and envelopes (including window envelopes), newspapers and magazines, printer paper (white and coloured), shredded paper (only if contained in envelopes), wrapping paper (not foil based)
Plastic bottles drinks, milk, toiletries, detergent
Plastic pots yoghurt, cream, snack or soup pots
Plastic tubs sweet tubs, ice cream and margarine tubs
Plastic trays fruit punnets, meat or cake trays

No thanks!


Black plastics black bottles, pots, tubs or trays (ready-meal trays, chocolate box liners)
Plastic film and bags cellophane, bubble wrap, polystyrene, plastic bags, crisp bags, food pouches, plastic cutlery or straws
Coffee cups
Electrical electronic equipment, light bulbs, batteries, wires and cables
Foil-based wrapping paper
Food waste
Glass bottles and jars
Hard plastic toys, furniture, plastic cutlery
Metal cutlery and pots and pans
Nappies, sanitary products, wet wipes
Pill blisters
Soap dispenser tops, trigger sprays
Textiles clothes, bedding, duvets
Toothpaste tubes, cream tubes
Tissues, kitchen paper, loose shredded paper, pieces of paper and card smaller than post-it note
Wet paper or cardboard

Written by Laura McClintock

Undergraduate at the University of Reading
studying Agriculture

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