Frequently Asked Questions for Staff E-learning

Why can I only recycle plastic bottles?

Plastic bottles are mainly made of two types of plastic (HDPE and PET) plastic pots, tubs, trays, bags and film are made of a range of different types of plastic.

All plastics in theory can be recycled but it is not always technically or economically viable. In Greater Manchester, we only collect plastic bottles because there is a sustainable market for them and we can guarantee they will be recycled.

People are sometimes confused about plastic and put all types of low grade plastic packaging in their mixed recycling bin – things like margarine tubs, food trays and yoghurt pots. We want these in the general waste bin so they can be used to make electricity.

Why can other councils recycle other plastics?

There are no sustainable end markets for pots, tubs and trays as these tend to be more difficult to recycle and made out of a lower quality plastic. Other council areas across the UK may collect plastic pots, tubs and trays, however not all of it gets recycled, some are used to make electricity or some may end up in landfill.

Can I put compostable cups, plates and cutlery in my food and garden bin?

No, compostable coffee cups, plates and cutlery do not compost quick enough in an industrial composting facility, they can be composted in a resident’s own home compost heap as it is a slower process. Please put these items in your general waste bin and they will be used to make electricity.

Can I recycle my food and drink cartons? (Tetra Pak)

Yes, you can put Tetra Pak in your paper and card bin.

What happens to my general waste?

Most people think that their general waste ends up in landfill. But it doesn’t. General waste is used to make electricity. The general waste from your home is delivered to a mechanical treatment facility in Greater Manchester. The waste is shredded and then transported by train to the Energy Recovery facility in Runcorn.

Once the waste has arrived at Runcorn, it is unloaded at the tipping hall. The general waste is fed into the furnace which creates heat. This heat is used to boil water to make steam which spin turbines. The turbines are connected to generators which make electricity.

Which bin does pet waste go?

Pet waste such as cat litter and dog poo should be bagged and put in your general waste bin. Do not put pet waste in your food and garden bin at home, it is not accepted at the composting facilities.

You can put pet bedding from domestic pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters for example in your food and garden recycling bin at home. The following types are allowed: hay, sawdust, straw, wood shavings and chipped wood.

When are the Recycling Centres open?

To find your nearest and to check opening times please look on

What do I do with Asbestos?

If you have safely removed it yourself, from your own home, you can take cement-bonded asbestos from your household to one of the following sites via the entrance where council and high-sided vehicles go. It must be double wrapped in heavy duty plastic wrapping prior to arriving at site. You will need to take your recent council tax bill or utility bill (gas, electric or landline telephone only) relating to the property where the waste is from. If you are using a hire vehicle, please take your hire agreement documents.

Arkwright Street, Oldham

Reliance Street, Newton Heath (Closed for construction works until 2021)

Longley Lane, Sharston

Cobden Street, Salford

Bredbury Parkway, Bredbury

Please look on for further information on opening times.

Can I buy compost ?

No, Revive® multi-purpose compost is a national Viridor product. Due to the change in contractor, it is no longer be available to buy in Greater Manchester. Your food and garden waste will still be turned into compost in an in-vessel composting process but it will be used initially as a soil improver on agricultural land.

Why was my bin was not emptied the other day?

You may have put some wrong things in. Please could you tell me what you recycled?

Mixed recycling

Paper and card recycling

Food and Garden

General Waste

Accepted: Accepted: Accepted Accepted

Foil and foil trays

Food tins and drink cans

Cleaning product bottles

Trigger spray bottles

Shampoo and shower gel bottles

Drinks bottles

Milk bottles

Glass bottles and jars


Cardboard boxes

Card packaging

Paper and shredded paper

Magazines and catalogues



Envelopes and mail

Junk mail

Greetings cards and wrapping paper

Food and drinks cartons

Raw or cooked meat and fish, including bones

Raw or cooked fruit and vegetables

Leftovers from your plate

Rice, pasta and beans

Bread, cakes and pastries

Dairy including egg shells

Teabags and coffee grounds

Flowers and plants


Grass cuttings

Hedge clippings

Twigs and small branches


Plastic pots, tubs and trays

Plastic packaging

Plastic bags


Food and drink pouches

Plant pots

Pet waste

Cotton wool and make up pads

Nappies and sanitary products

Tissues and used paper towels

Wet wipes


Common Wrong items: Common Wrong items: Common Wrong items: Common Wrong items:
Plastic pots, tubs and trays

Plastic packaging

Plastic bags

Plant pots

Food and drink pouches

Metal pots and pans

Glass cookware (For example, Pyrex)

Ceramics and crockery

Drinking glasses




Window glass

Nappies and sanitary products


Electrical items

Plastic bags

Plastic packaging


Cotton wool and make up pads

Tissues and used paper towels

Wet wipes


Plastic bags

Plant pots

Pet waste

Soil and rubble

Hose pipes

Japanese Knotweed

Himalayan Balsam

Clothes and textiles


Electrical items



Council specific

What do I do with bulky items, such as mattresses?

You could donate it to charity if it is in good condition or you can take your used mattresses to your local Recycling Centre. Check your own policy for collection service for mattresses and other large items such as tables, chairs and beds.

I recycle as much as I possibly can? Can I get another general waste bin?

Check your own policy to see if can offer a waste audit to ensure recycling everything they can. Advise to flatten and squash items to fit more in.

How do I get more compostable food waste bags?

Bolton When you are running low, please tie an empty bag around the handle of your green bin or food waste container on collection day and the crew will leave you a new roll of bags. You can also go to the One Stop Shop at Bolton Town Hall or the UCAN Centres for replacement rolls of bags.
Bury Please attach the yellow tag towards the end of the roll to your brown bin, or  you can collect these yourself from these libraries
Manchester When you get to the end of a roll of bags, you’ll find a tag to request a new roll. Attach this tag to your bin handle or pick up a new roll of bags at any Manchester library
Oldham Food waste bags can be purchased from a number of outlets in Oldham.
For the list of outlets please visit the Oldham Council website:
Rochdale To request for more bags, attach the yellow tag towards the end of the roll to your brown bin or street caddy. The collection crew will leave you a new roll or you can collect free compostable food waste bags from any of the libraries in Rochdale.
Salford Tie an empty liner to the lid of your pink lidded bin or outdoor street caddy and place out for collection as normal. Salford Council will deliver some more bags for free. You can also order compostable food waste bags by telephone 0161 909 6500. Or complete the online form on the Salford Council website.
You can also collect two rolls of bags, free of charge, from the Gateway centres and other locations across the city.
Go on Salford Council website for full list of centres where you can collect caddy liners. 
Stockport A roll of 150 bags is delivered to each Stockport household every year.
If you run out you can buy them directly from the supplier online or over the telephone on 0844 571 4444.
Most supermarkets now stock compostable food waste bags, just look out for the EN13432 composting association logo to make sure the liners are suitable to be used in your food waste caddy.
Tameside To request for more compostable bags, tie an empty liner around the handle of your brown bin and the collection crew will leave you a new roll
Trafford Trafford Council now provides everyone with a year’s supply of compostable bags.
If you run out of compostable bags, you can contact Trafford Council on 03330 035865 to place your order. You can also pick up a roll from any Trafford Council Library.

Recycle for Greater Manchester