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Residents urged to ‘Check it before you chuck it’

We are urging residents to ‘Check it before you chuck it’ as part of a drive to increase the amount and quality of recycling in the district.

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils have launched a new campaign asking people to check before they chuck items in their recycling bins.

An estimated 3,340 tonnes* – the equivalent of just over 200 double decker buses – of items that residents put in their recycling bins during 2022/23 were not actually recyclable – that’s 11 per cent of all the contents of our green bins for the whole year!

It can be very difficult to remove non-recyclable items out of the large loads of recycling in our collection trucks or at the recycling facility; and if it’s food waste or other messy items then it could result in whole truckloads of recycling having to be rejected.

We all need an occasional reminder to ensure we get it right so, this autumn, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils will be placing stickers on all green household recycling bins to encourage people to ‘Check it before you chuck it’. 

The sticker features a QR code for people to scan to help them check, along with a reminder that all items in the green bin should be clean, dry and loose.

Even if the label says that something can be recycled, you should still check to make sure – recycling labels on packaging are often incorrect and we may not be able to recycle that item locally.

By ensuring you only put the correct items in your recycling bin, you will play your part in helping to keep us among the top recyclers in the country!

To find out which bin an item should go in, please ‘Check it before you chuck it’ at

Cllr Mark Coleman, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Waste at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Over the last year, we’ve seen an increase in the amount of non-recyclable items ending up in people’s green bins.  This can result in lots of perfectly good recycling having to be rejected.  We are very proud that we continue to be among the best recycling districts in the country and we would love to keep it that way, so we urge everyone to please, check it before you chuck it.”

Cllr Sue Cooper, Cabinet Member for Environment at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We all need to reduce the amount we throw away, so only get rid of items when you are sure you can’t reuse them or donate them. Then we would urge people to check that they are putting them in the correct bin.  We really don’t want any non-recyclable items in our recycling bins.  This can cause real problems, especially if it’s messy, like food waste or used nappies, or potentially dangerous such as batteries or electrics.”



South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse have placed in the national top ten districts for recycling every year since 2009.  The districts are currently second and fourth best recycling districts in the country.

Most recent figures published by DEFRA confirmed that 62.7% (south) and 61.9% (vale) of all items that residents put out for collection are sent for recycling.  This compares to the national average of 44.1%

*tonnes of items wrongly put in people’s recycling bin by district – 1,760 tonnes (South) / 1,610 tonnes (Vale).

These are the most common things that people wrongly put in their recycling:

Problem itemWhere they should go
food wastealways in your food waste bin
soft plastic packaging
(such as film lids from food cartons, salad bags and cling film)
your local supermarket may have a collection point, if not then please put them in your general waste bin
used sanitary productsgeneral waste bin
used tissuesgeneral waste bin
old unwearable clothesin a tied carrier bag next to your green recycling bin
batteriesin a clear bag on top of your green recycling bin
small electricals
(including disposable vapes)
in a tied carrier bag next to your black bin
empty crisp packetsyour local supermarket may have a collection point, if not then please put them in your general waste bin