8 ways to take your recycling to the next level in Suffolk

Close Up Of Woman Carrying Recycling Bin

Just because something can't be recycled at home doesn't mean it can't be recycled at all - find out what else you can salvage here in Suffolk - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Over the recent years, the talk of climate change, environmental action and conservation has been at the forefront of many of our conversations.  

So much so, that recent statistics from YouGov show around 30% of Brits consistently place the environment in the top three most important issues facing the country.  

While trying to taking action against the ongoing climate crisis might seem daunting at first, in this instance, every little does help – and by making the most out of our recycling, we can all work to ensure we’re helping save the environment bit by bit.  

Recycling is one of the simplest things you can do to help save the planet

Recycling is one of the simplest things you can do to help save the planet - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Recycling not only helps save the environment by minimising the amount of carbon emissions created, it also reduces the need for new products to made from raw materials.  

However, it’s important however to ensure the correct items go into your domestic recycling bin.  

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Do you know what you can recycle within your household waste?  

According to the Suffolk Recycles website, the following are accepted within your recycling bin at home: 

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  • Plastic bottles, pots, tubs, and food trays  

  • Food and drink cans, aluminum foil and trays, and empty aerosols 

  • Paper, newspapers, magazines and junk mail 

  • Cardboard, clean food packaging, cards, and books (both paperback and hardback) 

However, it’s important to remember that anything recycled needs to be in an ‘unspoiled’ condition – otherwise it won’t be accepted.  

Metal cans and tins prepared for recycling

Cans and tins can be recycled within your household recycling, but must be cleaned first - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Quality is key,” explains Suffolk County Council’s waste team service development manager Dawn Murton-Cadby.  

“Companies that use your recyclables to make new products will not accept spoiled items - currently around 10,000 tonnes (about 20%) of the items we collect from Suffolk households are too spoiled to be recycled.” 

In addition, recycling the wrong items costs Suffolk’s taxpayers on average over £1,000,000 a year.  

“Spoiled items are also both unpleasant and dangerous for staff to remove, as this often has to be done by hand,” adds Dawn.  

To ensure your former household goods and packaging can be given a second chance, it is therefore vital anything dirty is washed before it is put in your recycling bin.  

“Materials for recycling should be clean, dry and loose, and not in bags. A quick rinse will be enough to clean most packaging and to remove most bits of leftover food. And there is no need to remove labels from the packaging.” 

However, there are a number of common household components that can’t be recycled from home. These include:  

  • Soft plastics such as black sacks, plastic bags, and wrappers 

  • Food 

  • Nappies 

  • Glass 

  • Cartons and pet food pouches 

  • Crisp packets 

  • Polystyrene 

But rather than simply binning them, there are a handful of places and facilities where these trickier items can go so they can be given a new lease of life.  

Here’s eight ways you can shift those tricky bits that can’t be recycled at home, to ensure you’re making the most out of your rubbish.  


Unfortunately, glass cannot be accepted in domestic recycling here in Suffolk. However, it can be taken to any number of local glass banks located throughout the county. Alternatively, your old glass can be recycled at one of Suffolk’s 11 recycling centres. 

Glass can't be recycled in domestic recycling, and instead must be taken to a recycling centre or a local bottle bank

Glass can't be recycled in domestic recycling, and instead must be taken to a recycling centre or a local bottle bank - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Crisps packets  

Rather than binning your old crisp packets, save them up and recycle them at one of the local Walkers and TerraCycle recycling points located across the county. All crisp brands are accepted - however, popcorn bags, crisp tubes, pretzel bags, and meat snack bags are not.  

Alternatively, crisp packets can be taken to one of the Co-op's soft plastic recycling bins located in-store.  


Textiles - whether that’s clothes, bedding, towels, or even old shoes - can all be recycled at one of the county’s recycling centres.  

Simply pop them in a bag to keep them dry (tying any old shoes and footwear together to keep them in pairs), and place them in a carrier bag before taking them to your local centre. There are also a number of local clothes recycling banks across the region that will accept your old textiles. 

Taking old textiles and clothes to a local clothes bank is the best way to ensure they're given a new lease of life

Taking old textiles and clothes to a local clothes bank is the best way to ensure they're given a new lease of life - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto


Containers such as TetraPak-style cartons and juice boxes can be taken to any Suffolk recycling centre. Due to their ‘mixed content’ material, they cannot be put in your household recycling. 

Before recycling, the carton should be squashed first before placing the lid back on. However, if you can’t get to a recycling centre, the bottle tops can be recycled if placed into another container (such as a milk container) as loose bottle tops are too small to survive the pre-sorting process at the recycling facility. 

Soft plastics  

Soft plastics such as cling film, food bags, plastic wraps and bread bags can all be taken to local participating Tesco, Sainsburys or Co-op stores for recycling.  

Garden cuttings  

Garden cuttings such as flowers, leaves, weeds and lawn clippings cannot be accepted with your usual household waste. The best way to get rid of these is to recycle them in your designated brown recycling bin.  

Alternatively, an eco-friendlier solution is to use your old garden cuttings in a compost heap at home.  

Composting at home not only helps you cut down on your fuel miles, it also improves the health of your soil. And best of all – it's free. Suffolk Waste Partnership has launched a scheme which gives Suffolk residents the chance to buy heavily-subsidised home composting equipment to help you get started, including bins for under £10 each.   

Household electronics  

Currently, all Suffolk recycling centres can accept the following for reuse: televisions, monitors, PCs, Sky boxes, DVD players, consoles, laptops, audio systems, power tools, bikes, vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers and strimmers. 

To recycle any of the aforementioned, donate them in one of the orange re-use containers on-site. However, you must pre-book an appointment to drop off any items for re-use.  

Old makeup 

Cosmetics all come with an expiry date - but did you know you can recycle your old makeup, rather than simply binning it once it’s reached its best before date? TerraCycle has teamed up with cosmetics giant Maybelline to place a number of makeup recycling points across the country – with many of them located right here in Suffolk. And the great thing is it doesn’t just have to be Maybelline makeup – any cosmetics brands can go in the designated bins.  

Simply pop your old empties such as compacts, tubes, pots, lipsticks, lipglosses, lip balms, mascaras, eyeliners and palettes in the recycling bin, and TerraCycle will do the rest. Once sorted and cleaned, the packaging is then shredded and extruded into plastic pellets. These pellets can then be used for a number of moulded, rigid plastic products such as benches. 

For any other household items not mentioned, visit Suffolk Recycling’s website to find out what else can and cannot be recycled.

Where is my nearest Suffolk recycling centre?  

  • Bury St Edmunds - Fornham Road, Bury St Edmunds, IP31 1SJ (East off A134, junction with Barton Hill & Fornham Road) 

  • Felixstowe - Carr Road, Felixstowe, IP11 3UT (Off the end of Langer Road, tip of A14) 

  • Foxhall - Foxhall Road, Brightwell, Ipswich, IP10 0HT (Half a mile west of A12, 1 mile before Speedway Stadium) 

  • Hadleigh - Crockett Road, Hadleigh, IP7 6RD (Off Lady Lane Industrial Estate) 

  • Haverhill - Off Chalkstone Way, Haverhill, CB9 7UR (Off the A143 - Sturmer Road) 

  • Ipswich - Portman's Walk, Ipswich, IP1 2DW (Off Sir Alf Ramsey Way) 

  • Leiston - Lovers Lane, Leiston, IP16 4UJ (Road to Sizewell Power Station) 

  • Lowestoft - Hadenham Road, South Lowestoft Industrial Estate, Lowestoft, NR33 7NF (Off Tower Road, via London Road-A12) 

  • Mildenhall - Off A1065, Mildenhall, IP28 7JQ (1 mile north of 5-ways roundabout) 

  • Stowmarket - Old Bury Road, Stowmarket, IP14 3QB (A1308 Close to north side of town) 

  • Sudbury - Sandy Lane, Sudbury, CO10 7HG (Off Bulmer Road, Ballingdon Hill - A131) 

Please note you will only be able to take waste to one of these recycling centres if you have pre-booked a slot

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