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Frequently Asked Questions

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Q) What can I recycle from home?

You can recycle all below items from your kerbside collection:

Plastic bottle and plastic containers such as pots, tubs and trays
Paper and cardboard
Tins and cans
Food or drink cartons
Clean foil and foil trays
Empty aerosols

Q) What plastic items can I recycle now from the home?

You can now recycle your plastic bottles as well as clean plastic pots, tubs and trays.
This includes items such as:

Plastic food trays like fruit punnets or those used for meat or cakes

Yoghurt, cream, soup and snack pots e.g instant noodles

Cosmetic pots and tubs

Plastic bottles with trigger handles e.g bathroom cleaner

Ice cream and margarine tubs

Q) Should I remove the tops from plastic bottles and tubs before recycling?

If you can take the caps off before recycling, please do. It will allow you to squash the bottles easily and flattened bottles use up less space in your recycling container. Plastic caps are made from a different, less valuable material and extracting them in the recycling process also adds to costs.

Q) Should I wash out my plastic bottles, tins or cans before I recycle them?

Please rinse out your plastic bottles and food and drinks cans before you recycle them. Rinse them in used dishwater after washing up, to save water.

Q) Can I recycle food and drink cartons?

Yes, you can now put your food and drink cartons, such as milk, soup or juice in your recycling container.

Q) Can I recycle foil?

Yes, you can now put clean foil or foil trays such as those from takeaways in your recycling container.

Q) Why can't crisp bags and food and drink pouches be included with foil?

Food and drink pouches are made with bonded layers of aluminium and plastic; Crisp bags are made from metallised plastic film as is some gift wrapping - if they spring back when scrunched up they are not pure foil. Currently although trials are being undertaken by certain manufacturers there is not yet a viable market for recycling these items but re3 will continue to monitor and industry developments.

Q) Can I recycle hard plastic?

Hard plastic items e.g. washing up bowls, toys, kitchen utensils, garden furniture - These are often made from different types of plastic and can cause damage to sorting machinery due to their size. All good quantity househould items, including garden furniture, brought to re3 recycling centres are donated to Sue Ryder to fundraise for local hospice care.

Q) Does it matter what colour plastic containers I put in my recycling container?

You can recycle all plastic containers as long as they are not black

Q) Why can't I recycle black plastic items?

The majority of black packaging is currently coloured using carbon black or dark pigments which are not recognised by the optical sorting systems being used widely in plastics recycling, including at re3's Materials Recycling Facility.

Work currently being done in the recycling industry to use more detectable black colourants may mean that this situation could change in the future, but at the moment we are asking residents to put black plastic into the residual waste bin.

Q) Can I recycle glass or textiles?

Glass bottles and jars can be recycled at bottle banks situated in supermarket car parks, community recycling sites or re3 recycling centres. It is currently not possible to seperate these items at the Materials Recycling Facility in Reading hence why we are not able to collect them with your kerbside recycling. Please find your nearest bank using recycling locator tool

Q) Why can't you collect food?

There is currently no separate food waste collection service in the re3 area. In the meantime, re3 is supporting residents to compost and waste less food at home. A single person could save up to £290, and a family of four up to a £700 a year through cutting out food waste, so it makes sense to tackle food waste at its source. 


Q) What happens to my recycling items?

After your recycling has been collected, it is taken to our Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Reading where it is sorted mechanically or by hand. Items that cannot be recycled are removed. Once we’ve sorted your waste we send recycling to re-processing plants and product manufacturers who will turn your waste into high quality new products such drainage pipes, fleece clothing, engine parts or even train track.

Q) What happens if I put the wrong things in my recycling?

Recycling is sorted out mechanically and by hand at our Materials Recycling Facility. Items that cannot be recycled are removed, but a lot of time and energy has to be used to sort out wrongly recycled rubbish before any non-recyclable waste can be sent to a landfill site for disposal. Wrong items can also contaminate the rest of recyclable materials, making your recycling efforts less worthwhile. 

Q) Does re3 send waste abroad for recycling?

Wherever possible, re3 keeps recycling in the UK for reprocessing. Unfortunately, it is not always possible and a small amount of material may end up abroad.  For example, there are no recycling plants in the UK that can recycle beverage cartons.  These therefore have to be sent abroad i.e. to Sweden for recycling. Above all, it is our intention to manage waste in the most efficient, cost-effective and environmental friendly way possible. 

Q) Why does re3 need to use an Energy from Waste plant? Can't recycling be increased?

Recycling can and should be increased and the re3 partnership encourages residents to recycle as much as possible.  There will always be some waste that cannot be reused or recycled and with declining capacity in landfill sites we need alternatives.  Energy from Waste also recovers value from waste by turning it into electricity.

Q) How can I help?

One of the best ways to make sure your recycling is turned into new products is to ensure you put the right things in your recycling container. In recycling, even the smallest steps have significant benefits and if everyone can recycle one more item a day it will make a big difference. Currently around 15% of what we collect is not suitable for recycling. 

Q) What should I leave out of the recycling?
  • Pouches and tubes e.g. pet food, baby food, toothpaste tubes etc.
  • Plant pots
  • Plastic bags, including bin bags
  • Plastic film or wrapping e.g. cling film
  • Nappies, incontinence and sanitary products
  • Black plastic trays
  • Food wrappers like those used for sweets, and crisp packets
  • Bubble wrap
  • Polystyrene e.g. packing chips
  • Paper tissues and wipes, including baby wipes and household cleaning wipes
  • Food waste
  • Hard plastic items
  • Metal cutlery and cookware e.g. forks and knives, pots and saucepans - These items should be left out of recycling bins but can be brought to re3 recycling centres.
  • Plastic oil or pesticide containers - this sort of packaging may contain remnants of hazardous waste, so please bring them to the re3 recycling centres to be disposed of safely.


Q) If I pay someone to do some work for me at home, can the waste be taken to the HWRC?

If you pay someone to do work for you at home, the waste created by that work cannot be taken to the HWRC sites. Any trader completing work for you has a duty of care to dispose of the waste they create. Traders can bring their waste to the transfer station at either Smallmead or Longshot Lane, where they will be charged to dispose of waste.

Q) I am a Landlord, can I deposit waste from my rental properties at the HWRC?

No - waste generated from the refurbishment or maintenance of rental properties is classed as business waste and it is illegal for you to deposit this waste for free at the HWRC. You can pay for the disposal of this waste at the Transfer Station at either Smallmead or Longshot Lane. 

Q) I have a large bulk item I want to dispose of, but can't take it to the HWRC. What can I do?

Your local Council will collect bulky waste items for a small charge. Please visit your local council website for more information.

Q) Is there a weight limit at the HWRC sites?

There is a weight limit of 3.5 tonnes at Smallmead & Longshot Lane HWRC. We cannot accept more than this or we will be breaking our Site License and the Law. This includes vehicle and waste. If you have more than the allowance we recommend you hire a skip.We have a Duty of Care to ensure that overloaded vehicles do not leave site. If you bring an overloaded vehicle on to site (weighing more than 3.5tonnes), you will either have to pay to dispose of the waste via the weighbridge or leave the load on site and return to collect it in a suitable vehicle.

Q) I work from home. Does the waste I produce count as business waste?

Yes - the waste produced through your business activities at home is classed at business waste.  You cannot dispose of this waste as household waste through your kerbside collection or at the HWRC.  You can arrange to have your waste collected by a private waste contractor, or you can pay to dispose of it at the Transfer Station at Smallmead or Longshot Lane.

Q) Why can't I use the HWRC to dispose of my business waste?

Businesses have a duty of care to ensure that waste they produce is disposed of correctly.  It is illegal for businesses to deposit waste for free at the HWRCs.  You can pay to dispose of your waste at the Transfer Stations at Smallmead and Longshot Lane or pay a private waste management contractor to collect your waste. 

Q) Do I need to set up an account to be able to use the Transfer Stations?

No - you do not need to set up an account to use the Transfer Stations.  You can pay by cash or credit card. If you would like to set up an account, please call FCC Environment (formerly Waste Recycling Group) on 01302 303033

Q) I am a Charity, can I bring my waste to site?

There is a permit scheme for the disposal of Charity Waste at Longshot Lane, Bracknell or Smallmead, Island Road, Reading.To qualify for free disposal of your Charity Waste you must: 1) be a registered charity based in at least one of the three re3 Council areas and 2) meet the following criteria set out in the Controlled Waste regulations 2012 Schedule 1:

  • A charity shop selling donated goods originating from domestic property
  • A residential hostel which provides accommodation only to persons with no other permanent address or who are unable to live at their permanent address

If you meet the above criteria you will qualify for free disposal of your charity waste and a maximum of 12 permits per annum will be issued. To apply please fill the form (Charity Waste Application Pack)

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