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What you can put in your bins

Find out what you can put in your recycling, food, garden and rubbish bins.
Bank holiday recycling and food waste collections

If your recycling and food waste bins are normally collected on a Monday, we’ll be collecting them a day later due to the bank holiday. 

However, if your recycling and food waste bins are collected on another day, we’ll be aiming to collect them normally (due to the shutdown of the Blackwall Tunnel on Saturday).

Garden waste subscriptions and bin removals

Subscribe or renew your subscription for the year April 2024 to March 2025. 

Residents can subscribe by paying the full amount of £93.50 using a debit or credit card. Subscribed residents can expect to receive a sticker within 10 working days. New subscribers without a bin can expect to receive their bin within 10 working days.

From June 2024, we will start to remove unsubscribed bins. If you wish to continue to use the service, subscribe as soon as possible to avoid disruption to the service. 


(Green bin or clear sacks)

If you live in a house or a house that has been converted into flats you will have a 240 litre green recycling bin. An estate or a block of flats will have communal recycling bins, some bigger estates have more than one bin area.  

If you live in a flat above a shop you will be issued clear sacks to dispose of your rubbish. These are delivered on a quarterly basis (usually in March, June, September, December).

What can go in your recycling bin
  • paper, magazines, newspapers, envelopes, junk mail, catalogues and non plastic / metallic wrapping paper
  • glass (leave lids on glass jars and bottles)
  • cans including cleaned out food tins and drinks cans
  • flattened cardboard food boxes, egg cartons, cereal boxes and cardboard packages (remove plastic padding)
  • kitchen or toilet roll inner cardboard
  • plastic drinks bottles (keep lids on, do not flatten)
  • plastic shampoo and cleaning bottles
  • cleaned out plastic food containers including yogurt pots, fruit punnets, ice cream tubs
What can't go in your recycling bin
  • black bin bag rubbish
  • nappies
  • cat litter or dog poo
  • food waste
  • garden waste (subscribe to a garden waste subscription
  • large items such as furniture (book a bulky item collection)
  • tissues
  • clear and coloured plastic bags e.g. carrier bags, sandwich bags and black bin liners
  • wet or dirty paper or cardboard, wallpaper
  • laminated or waxed paper
  • crisp packets
  • sweet wrappers
  • hard plastics such as Tupperware 
  • plastic bags, cling film or bubble wrap
  • plastic pots that are not clean or are soiled with food such as food trays or tins
  • cardboard that has been soiled with food such as pizza boxes
  • textiles, clothes, toys, shoes or suitcases (take these to your local charity shop or textile recycling bank)
  • window glass, broken glass, light bulbs,  fluorescent tubes, Pyrex and ceramics
  • any liquids
  • wood
  • scrap metal
  • masks and disposable gloves
  • coat hangers 
  • small electrical items including batteries

We will not collect contaminated recycling bins. If your recycling's contaminated, we'll collect it with the general waste and you'll be sent a warning. See our A-Z of recycling to find out how to dispose of your unwanted items correctly and sustainably.


(Black or blue bins, or orange sacks) 

In Lewisham, the black bin is for rubbish that can't be recycled. If you live in an on street property or in a converted house, you will have one or more 180 litre rubbish bins. An estate or a block of flats will have communal rubbish bins, some bigger estates have more than one bin area.  

What can go in the rubbish bin

Household rubbish and items that can't be recycled.

What can't go in your rubbish bin

Food waste

(Grey food bin)

If you live in a house, or a flat in a converted house, we'll provide one 23 litre grey food waste bin for outside and one 5 litre kitchen caddy for use in your home.

We're not currently collecting food waste from estate properties.

What can go in your food waste bin
  • vegetable and fruit waste and fallen fruit
  • food scraps (cooked and uncooked)
  • bread
  • cheese
  • egg shells
  • tea bags and coffee grounds
What can't go in your food waste bin
  • nappies
  • garden waste or soil (subscribe to garden waste collections)
  • household waste
  • packaging e.g. food and drink cartons
  • liquids e.g. milk, oil, liquid fat
  • plastics of any kind including bin liners and plastic bags
  • stones or rubble
  • kitchen towel or tissue
  • cat litter and dog poo (please put pet waste in your household waste bin)
How to recycle your food waste at home
  1. Line your kitchen caddy with a clear bag or newspaper. 
  2. Put all your leftover, mouldy or out-of-date food in your kitchen caddy. 
  3. When your caddy is full, tie the liner, or wrap your waste in newspaper, and put it in your outside food waste bin. 
  4. Keep the lid of your food bin locked to keep out foxes and other pests. 
  5. Leave your food waste bin at the edge of your property on, or by, the pavement before 6am on your weekly collection day.  

Garden waste

(Brown bin)

Residents in Lewisham can opt in for a paid for garden waste collection services. Find out more about more signing up to garden waste subscription.

If you've signed up for garden waste collections, you'll receive a 240 litre brown bin. 

What can go in your garden waste bin
  • grass clippings and leaves
  • plants and prunings
  • garden weeds
  • small tree branches
  • hedge trimmings
  • fallen fruit
What can't go in your garden waste bin
  • household waste
  • food waste
  • bricks, stone or rubble
  • soil
  • plastic - including plant and flower pots and bags
  • nappies
  • cat litter
  • ceramics
  • dog poo
  • garden furniture
  • hosepipes 
  • timber
  • polystyrene
  • potting mix
  • non-garden waste
  • Japanese knotweed (you will be breaking the law if you dispose of invasive species via garden waste - check government advice on invasive species disposal).