Which bin should I use?

Please read our Recycle Guide to help you manage your recycling and waste: AND Recycling Guide 2023 (adobe.com)

Reduce pressure on your grey bin by maximising the materials you recycle in your blue and green or brown bin.  The best way to manage your recycling is to download the Bin-ovation App. This will keep you up to date about collections, as well as answering any questions you have about what goes where!

Available at the App store: https://apple.co/2OVn3u8
Available at GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/2Ino2AE

What goes where?

Use your blue bin to recycle certain clean paper, cardboard, aluminium and plastic products as listed below. Use your brown or green bin for food waste and garden waste such as grass clippings, weeds, leaves and tree branches or twigs. You don't need a green and a brown bin as both bins are used to recycle the same materials. 

Watch this short animation that explains  what happens to recyclables after they are collected at kerbside.

Download a handy list of what can and cannot be placed in your blue bin

Acceptable in blue bin

Not acceptable in blue bin


Paper (ensure paper is dry)
newspapers and magazines, junk mail, plain envelopes, office paper, telephone books, catalogues
brown paper, wrapping paper, shredded paper, padded envelopes, windowed envelopes, napkins/tissues, kitchen roll, wallpaper. Put shredded paper, kitchen roll and napkins/tissues in your green/brown bin or your home composter.
Cardboard (ensure that cardboard is clean and dry)
cereal and egg boxes, corrugated cardboard, clean frozen food boxes, greetings cards, postcards
takeaway pizza boxes and other fast food containers, boxes soiled with food (remove all plastic wrapping and polystyrene packaging) Remove plastic tape and tear into sections to make space in your bin. 
Takeaway pizza boxes can be ripped up and placed in your green/brown bin.
Plastic bottles and packaging
(rinse bottles and squash with tops attached)

milk bottles, drinks bottles, shampoo bottles, detergent bottles, sauce bottles, yoghurt pots, cartons, margarine containers, medicine and pill bottles, plant pots, sweet tubs, plastic food trays

polystyrene, plastic bags, plastic film, clothes hangers, toys, paint pots, plastic food tubes, DIY products in plastic tubes, soft plastics/bags/wrapping

Please see Frequently Asked Questions | Ards and North Down Borough Council for information on correct disposal of soft plastics/bags/wrapping

Squash items to make space in your bin

Food and drink cans (rinse and squash)
soup cans, baked bean cans, tinned fruit/vegetable cans, pet food cans, drinks cans, metal biscuit tins
no food residue Leave paper labels on cans
Aerosol cans (ensure aerosols are empty, do not crush or pierce) antiperspirant deodorant cans, airfreshner cans.  Roll on deodorants. No full aerosol cans or gas cylinders/canisters of any description  
Tin foil, aluminium food dishes
(rinse food dishes)
no food residue  
Drink cartons (rinse and squash)
juice cartons, milk cartons

Polyethylene cups

**Under no circumstances should batteries or electronic equipment be placed in the blue bin**

Green/brown bin   

Acceptable in green or brown bin

Not acceptable in green or brown bin


Garden waste
flowers and weeds, grass and leaves, hedge cuttings,
plants and shrubs,twigs and branches, (prune branches into short lengths)

soil, stones, sods, plastic bags, tree trunks if you have a large amount of garden waste, try home composting

Food waste
all raw and cooked food, fruit and vegetables, pasta, bread, meat and bones,
fish, egg shells, scraps from meals, tea bags and coffee grounds

plastic bags, liquids, oil, plastic packaging, general waste use compostable liners (not plastic bags)
Food waste page has more information

Small amounts of cold ashes from coal, peat or wood fires (placed loose in bin) wet paper and card, disposable paper plates, paper tissues, shredded paper, kitchen roll and napkins, cork, compostable pet bedding from all domestic pets, small amounts of dog and cat waste (fouling)

no hot ashes large amounts of pet waste  

Grey bin

Grey bins are collected from every household. Use this bin for general waste that is unsuitable for recycling or composting.

A guide to using your bins is attached below.

Glass collection
Acceptable in the glass box

  • All glass bottles (lids attached)
  • All glass jars (lids attached)

Not acceptable in the glass box

  • Drinking glasses
  • Glass kitchenware or home-ware for example Pyrex
  • Broken glass
  • Light bulbs and fluorescent tubes
  • Mirrors
  • Panes of glass
  • China for example cups and saucers

Please dispose of these items at the Household Recycling Centre.

What do I need to do?

All glass bottles and jars are to be placed in the glass collection box provided by the Council, simply rinse out your glass bottles and jars and place them in your glass collection box, don’t worry about removing the labels or lids.

Please don’t overfill your glass collection box.

You must present your glass collection box in a clearly visible place at the kerbside on the day of collection.

If you fill your glass collection box before your collection date please take advantage of one of the 16 bottle banks we have in the Borough.

Disposing of needles and other sharps

Sharps (needles, syringes and lancets) are clinical waste and must never be placed in a domestic bin of any type as they can cause injury to recycling and processing operatives.

Your doctor will provide a prescription for a sharps box and they can then be taken to a pharmacy for disposal free of charge.

Sharps boxes can also be purchased from pharmacies.

An overwhelming majority of residents have really embraced the food waste recycling message and we wish to thank everyone for their commitment. We do not want the efforts of the majority to be undermined and as such we will be commencing routine monitoring of grey bins for the presence of food waste.

Where we find that someone has got it wrong we will provide up to two opportunities to get it right next time. An information label will be attached to the grey bin.  If anyone has any concerns or queries please contact us on the dedicated email recycling@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk or 0300 013 3333 - select option1. Unfortunately, if someone continues to use their grey bin for food waste despite all the Council's advice and support, their grey bin will not be emptied until the situation is remedied.