Don’t fear the kerbside collection

July 27th, 2011 by Sustainable Witney Leave a reply »

Answer this one quickly, if you can: can you put Tetrapaks in your kerbside box for recycling? The short answer is “yes”; but you’d be forgiven for answering “no” or “not sure”, because a longer answer might be: “yes, but only since fairly recently.”

If you look around, you can find kerbside information on the West Oxfordshire District Council website; but they often delete or move pages without notice, which means that even that link won’t last forever. But their search isn’t too bad, so you should be able to find it if you search for, say, “paper black box.” But not “paper kerbside”.

If you’re after a friendlier website for local recycling information, the DEFRA-funded RecycleNow is much more pleasant to use: here’s the RecycleNow breakdown for home recycling for the postcode around Witney town hall. Even that information has yet to be updated for Tetrapaks or “juice cartons”. But they do offer friendly ways to get the information corrected.

The most important thing to realise is that over time more and more things become recycleable at the kerbside: glass, plastic, textiles (so old ragged clothes!) and corrugated cardboard can all be left in your black box. It’s a fair guess these days to assume that:

  • if it’s an everyday product of your kitchen (so not rubble or DIY waste)
  • and it’s not messy or likely to go messy (so not food-dirty containers, tissue paper or food waste itself)

then it’s probably recycleable. And if it’s food-contaminated paper or food waste (or indeed anything that will rot down) then you can put it in your food waste bin.

The only one that always trips me up is polystyrene: sadly, there’s not a lot that can be done with it except send it to landfill. Another reason, if one were necessary to avoid getting that new widescreen TV….



  1. moragcrowther says:

    corks from wine bottles?

  2. Sally says:

    I’d put cork in the garden waste bin as it’s a natural product – Or possibly the kitchen waste bin – assuming cork biodegrades ok?
    But if you seem to get a lot (!!) keep them & bring them along to our next swap shop on 3rd Sepetember- people seem to like corks for crafting activities. The FB Group – Witney Scrapstore is also excellent for offering unusual items as well.

  3. Sally says:

    I still get a bit confused with some plastics – “softer” plastic food trays & cellophane bags I don’t think can be recycled – my way of checking these is to look for the recycling symbol on the packaging – if it has one, think it’s safe to assume you can put it in the black bin.

  4. Kevin says:

    The days of polystyrene packaging should be numbered – here’s a guy who’s growing packaging from mushrooms…

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