What you can and cannot put in your brown bin

Brown bin and green waste composting checklist - shows what you can put in your brown bin for recycling - don't forget that all food waste (cooked or uncooked, processed or unprocessed) is accepted in the brown bin. Home composting is the most environmentally friendly way to deal with some types of green waste.

Download a guide to what goes in your brown bin

Your brown bin is for:

Garden waste - such as grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, weeds (but not Japanese Knotweed), dead flowers, straw and hay, light shrub cuttings and leaves, sawdust, untreated wood chippings, bedding from vegetarian pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs.

Kitchen food waste - raw or cooked fish, meat and bone scraps, vegetables and fruit, eggs and dairy, cereal, bread, pasta and rice, tea bags and coffee grounds. Visit the Love Food Hate Waste website for helpful and practical tips to help cut down on avoidable food waste.

Shredded paper and cardboard egg boxes - these can also be home composted.

Soiled paper - kitchen paper towels, takeaway pizza boxes (it helps if these are crushed), cardboard boxes used to collect kitchen food waste.

Clean paper and card - only if there is insufficient room in your blue lidded bin. Please make sure that all plastic or cellophane wrappers, staples and tape is removed and placed in the grey bin first. These can also be taken to your local household waste recycling centre for disposal free of charge.

Please do not put any of the items listed above in plastic bags or biodegradable bags in your brown bin as this will prevent the composting process. Compostable bags can be used, but they must specifically state on them that they are '100% compostable'.

Double wrapping the food waste in newspaper will help stop smells and flies (but make sure there are no staples, plastic film or tape in the paper). If you do not want food waste in your brown bin for up to a fortnight, it can also be placed in the grey lidded bin for collection during the other week, however, any waste placed in the grey lidded bin will go to landfill.

Do not put any of the following in your brown bin:

  • Plastic, plastic bags or film
  • Flower pots
  • Garden tools - trowels for example
  • Electrical equipment
  • Cans, tins or foil
  • Treated wood
  • Glass
  • Textiles or carpets
  • Bagged waste
  • Turf, soil and stones
  • Disposable nappies - put them in the grey lidded bin
  • Cat or dog waste - put it in the grey lidded bin (provided it is from your own household pet and only forms a small element of your household waste)
  • Branches thicker than 1.5 inches
  • Cigarette butts or chewing gum - put them in the grey lidded bin
  • Japanese Knotweed

If your brown bin contains any of the items above it will not be emptied as these items cannot be accepted by the in-vessel processing plant that turns the material into soil improver.