Recycle logo

If plastic isn’t recycled, it is either sent to landfill, incinerated or littered, which can end up in our oceans and harm wildlife.

But are we recycling properly? From labels to rules, where and what to recycle can get confusing.

Fear not, we've got some tips and tricks to help make sure you get it right.

Bin image

What can be recycled, and where?

  • Recyclable plastics

    Rigid plastic: Clear or colours without any black.

    Flexible plastic: There are some flexible plastics that can be recycled, like bread bags.

    Always check on pack to see if the item or parts of the item can be recycled. 

  • Unrecyclable plastics

    Rigid plastic: Black or colours with black.

    Flexible plastic: There are some flexible plastics that can't be recycled.

  • Check the labels

    Check the labels carefully to see how you should separate the different parts of the packaging. Only put the recyclable parts in the recycling bin. In some cases parts of the packaging are recyclable whilst others are not.

  • Look out for instructions on the labels

    • Rinse and clean
    • Cap on or lid on
    • Flatten & cap on
    • Insert straw
    • Remove film/sleeve/window 

1. Check what can be recycled in your local area


Each council collects different types of waste, so we suggest checking this website to help you find out what materials are accepted by your council’s kerbside waste collection and where to find your nearest recycling centre.

Your council should provide you with the specific bins and details of what can and can’t go in them. If you’ve got kids, you might want to decorate or label them clearly to make recycling easier and more fun for them! 

Common items that can be recycled

  • Tins and cans - empty and washed
  • Cardboard and boxes – including egg boxes, cereal boxes and toilet roll tubes (just make sure they are flattened)
  • Paper - including envelopes
  • Plastic bottles/pots/tubs/trays – including milk bottles, toiletries and shampoo bottles, and drink bottles, rinsed and squashed, with lids replaced on the bottles.

2. Know your labels


There are lots of products that we are used to recycling every day, from plastic milk bottles to glass bottles and jars, but it doesn’t just stop there. By checking the labels on the back of the items in your kitchen, fridge and bathroom, you can make sure you are recycling everything you can.

The recycling labels on our packaging, wherever possible will now say either say “Recycle” or “Don’t Recycle.”


3. Give stuff a rinse

Plastic clean

Recycling should always be clean and dry, and one common mistake is trying to recycle items that have traces of food on them, like cans, bottles, trays, pots, tins and meat packaging. This also includes used tissues and paper towels. These items can ruin the rest of the recycling and lead to issues at the recycling plant. Remember to rinse out any leftover food or product in your packaging to make sure it is in the best state possible, and also so it doesn’t attract any pesky rodents!

To save water, you could use leftover water from your washing up bowl (remember it’s also easiest to do this as soon as you empty the package, before the food dries up.)


Black plastic

Accidentally putting the wrong thing in the recycling bin can make the whole collection unrecyclable, so it’s important to get it right.

Certain materials are just harder or not possible to recycle, such as:

  • Some lids and caps of plastic bottles
  • Crisp packets
  • Toothpaste tubes
  • Multi-laminate (items that consist of multiple layers of different materials), like petfood pouches
  • Bags and wraps

For example, black plastics should be avoided as many recycling facilities can’t detect them. This means a lot of black plastic ends up in landfill or burned. You won’t find much black plastic in store at Lidl - to date we’ve removed a whopping 1,500 tonnes and we will have removed it all by the end of 2020.

Black plastic

5. Look out for special materials


Some materials can be recycled but may need a separate bin - or need to be taken to a recycling centre. This includes electronic waste (known as WEEE), food waste and garden waste.

Batteries are a good example as they aren’t actually safe to put in the bin. They cause trouble in landfill by leaking chemicals into the soil. They do, however, contain valuable materials that can be recycled. Most electronic retailers and supermarkets, including Lidl, have special bins for them – find your nearest collection point here.