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Blue bins (recycling)

Blue bin collection dates

Blue recycling bins are collected fortnightly in South Tyneside from all households who have individual bins.

Find out your Bin collection dates

About your blue recycling bin

Your blue bin is for recycling.

If you put something that cannot be recycled into your blue bin, our collection crew cannot empty it and a tag or yellow and black tape will be placed on the bin. 

One incorrect item placed into your blue recycling bin can cause contamination and whole truck loads of recyclable materials may be rejected.

Please remember:

  • Do not place any batteries in ANY bin. Remove batteries from all household appliances that you place in your grey bin, as these carry the risk of causing a fire. Household batteries can be taken to most large retailers who sell batteries in store.
  • Do not put any plastic bags or black sacks in your blue bin. Your recyclables should be placed in the caddy or the bin loose.
  • Do not leave out large items or extra bags as these will not be collected.
  • Do not put garden waste in your blue bin- this should be put in your green bin if you subscribed to the payable service.
  • Wash all materials before placing in your recycling bin; it helps to keep your bin clean and prevents contamination.
  • Return your bin to your property on the same day after collection.
  • Please only put the correct items in your recycling bin to prevent contaminating the load.
  • Do NOT put flares in any of the bins.
  • Squash the materials together before placing in your blue bin for more space.
  • If in doubt, leave it out.

For information about garden waste, see Garden waste (green bins)

What to put in your blue bin

The main part of your bin is for: 

  • Cardboard packaging (cereal boxes, egg boxes, ready meal sleeves, toilet / kitchen cardboard roll holders)- No takeaway boxes such as pizza boxes
  • Plain card like birthday/Christmas cards (not with any glue/glitter/metallic/3D pic)
  • Glass bottles and jars (beer, wine, perfume / medicine bottles, pasta sauce)
  • Food tins (baby milk formula, tins, pet food)
  • Drink cans
  • Aerosols
  • Cartons (milk, juice)
  • Plastic (milk / juice / water / shampoo bottles, washing up liquid / bleach / fabric softener bottles, yoghurt / soup / noodle pots, margarine / ice cream tubs)

The inner caddy is for paper. This includes: 

  • White office paper
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Envelopes (including those with plastic windows)
  • Junk mail
  • Telephone directories (yellow pages)
  • Catalogues
  • Printed paper
  • Brochures
  • Letters/writing paper
  • Shredded paper

For more detail about what can go in your blue bin, see: 

What to put in your blue bin


Frequently asked questions

Why has my bin not been emptied?

There are a number of reasons why your bin may not have been emptied:

  • Has a yellow and black tape or sticker been left on your blue recycling bin?
    If so, the tape was left on your blue bin because our collection team noticed that it contained item(s) that are not recyclable. If you put non recyclable items in your blue recycling bin, such as food waste, nappies, clothing and textiles or the items are in plastic bags, it can contaminate and spoil the whole truck load of recyclables collected. Your recycling bin will not be emptied until the offending items have been removed and you will have to wait until your next collection day.  
  • What time was your bin placed out for collection?
    Bins must be placed outside on the edge of your property where it is easily visible and accessible to the collection crew, before 7.30am.
  • Was the correct bin placed outside for collection?
    Unfortunately, we can only empty the correct colour bin on collection day. Find out your Bin collection dates

Can I have two bins/caddies? 

If you regularly have more recyclables in your blue bin than what can fit, you can use:

Some of the recycling sites offer textile banks, shoe and book banks, these are all materials which cannot be recycled in your blue recycling bin. We have containers at the Recycling Village for excess cardboard, timber, plywood and electronics.

If you can't get to the recycling sites or to the Recycling Village, contact us on 0191 427 7000 or email to discuss.

Can I have a smaller bin?

Even if your recycling bin is not full, please put it out for collection. You may be surprised at what materials can go in your blue recycling bin. 

To discuss your bin size then please contact us on 0191 427 7000 or email us at

I don't have enough space for my blue bin, can it be taken away?

If your space is limited - how about sharing with your neighbour or others in your street? Contact us on 0191 427 7000 or email us at and we can talk to you about possible solutions. 

If all of these materials are collected together, how are they recycled?

Your recycling is taken to our Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) where the different materials are identified and sorted using manual separation and specialist equipment to identify and sort the items by type, weight and grade. Once this process is completed the different materials are sent to reprocessing outlets where they are turned into new products.

Paper is kept separate from the other materials so it can be sent direct to the paper mill for reprocessing without the need for the separation process. This means that less of your waste goes to landfill, and as the materials you have saved in your recycling bin and caddy are recovered and sorted, valuable resources are reused instead of being dumped. Recyclable materials often require substantially less energy to reprocess than manufacture using what is known as virgin materials.

Why should I recycle responsibly?

  • Residents are now recycling more of their household waste, and this means that the amount of waste we throw into landfill is dropping. This is great news for the environment including saving energy and conserving natural resources. 
  • Placing non-recyclable items into your blue recycling bin such as food waste, nappies etc. can cause major problems with contamination and can mean that the whole load of recycling is rejected. The load is then returned to the council for a more expensive treatment process. 
  • Raw materials, and the energy to convert them into new products, can be reduced if we collect good, quality materials from households. Don't forget to rinse your materials! It also reduces the cost of producing new products for everyday use. 
  • Putting normal household waste including nappies, food leftovers, pet waste etc. into you blue recycling bin causes major problems with contamination and a whole load of recyclables can be rejected. 

What happens if I put non-recyclables in my blue bin?

Contamination is when items which cannot be recycled (such as food waste, nappies, take away boxes), are placed into your recycling bin. When non recyclables are placed in the bin, this causes them to contaminate the rest of the items in the bin. Items that have left over food on them or liquid can ruin the rest of the recycling in the lorries and at the sorting plant. Items that have left over food on them cannot be recycled - this includes pizza boxes. The grease cannot be separated during the recycling process and one box can ruin a whole load.     

It is also important to place paper into the inner caddy and all other materials like glass jars and cardboard boxes into the main part of your recycling bin.  

If your blue bin is contaminated, it will not be emptied

Black and yellow tape will be placed on the lid of your bin. You will be asked to check your waste and to remove any items which are not allowed in your blue recycling bin. Your bin will not be emptied until the offending items have all been removed, and you will have to wait until your next collection day.

Why is it important to not put wrong items in your blue recycling bin?

  • If every household put just one wrong material in their recycling bin that cannot be recycled such as food, nappies or pet waste, it may result in entire loads of potential recyclable materials being rejected
  • There is a further cost to the council to arrange for the disposal of the rejected load at a much higher cost than the cost of the recycling

Why do I need to separate my paper by placing it into the caddy?

  • Paper is collected separately from the other materials so it can be transported to the paper mill direct for reprocessing without the need for the separation processes 

Why is it important to keep your recycled items dry?
It's important to keep your recycled items dry and your bin lid closed. No wet paper or cardboard should go in the bin and you should empty all cans and bottles before recycling.

If your recycling gets wet, the paper and cardboard will stick to any glass items. This means we cannot recycle these items anymore.

Wet paper and cardboard can also stick to the machinery and clog up the system at the recycling plant. Therefore, we cannot remove wet cardboard placed next to your bin either.

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