What is contaminated recycling

Contaminated recycling happens when the wrong items are put into a recycling bin, bag or box. The most common wrong items are:

  • black (or orange) bin bags
  • nappies
  • food waste
  • clothing
  • the right items, but dirty or with leftover food, oil or grease in them 

Our collection crews won’t be able to collect your recycling if it is contaminated. We need your  recycling to be clean, dry and empty. 


What you can recycle

What happens if your recycling is contaminated

When your recycling is contaminated

  1. our crew will not collect your recycling and will record it as contaminated on our system
  2. a  red ‘we tried to collect’ tag will be left on your recycling bag, bin or box
  3. you will need to remove the contamination from your recycling so it can be collected on your next scheduled collection.

The first time your recycling is contaminated

  • we will send you, and any other households at the property, a postcard to let you know that we couldn’t collect your recycling and some information on household items that commonly cause contamination 

The second time your recycling is contaminated 

  • we will send you a letter to let you know of the ongoing issues with contamination in your recycling - and where you can find more information and help

The third time your recycling is contaminated (in a rolling 3 week period) 

  • one of our Communications, Education and Outreach Officers will visit your property for investigation and education

The forth time  your recycling is contaminated (in a rolling 3 week period) 

  • the details of your property will be passed to Camden's Borough Monitoring Team for further investigation and action 

Email Veoila on uk.occamden@veolia.com for more information and support with recycling contamination or call 020 3567 8105 

Common items that shouldn't be put in your recycling

These items are already a real issue in Camden’s recycling (and can cause 'recycling loads' to be rejected by our recycling facility): 

Other examples of what shouldn’t go into your recycling bin, bag or box are:

  • dirty/used tissues and paper towels
  • cotton wool or makeup pads
  • glass cookware, Pyrex, ovenware
  • window glass
  • cutlery, crockery, pots, and pans
  • ceramics
  • mirrors
  • light bulbs
  • household batteries
  • paper or card stained or dirty with paint, foodstuffs or grease
  • glitter covered cards/wrapping paper
  • sticky papers (e.g. post-it-notes, sticky labels and paper tape)
  • wallpaper
  • laminated plastic/foil pouches (e.g. baby food/cat food/coffee pouches)
  • crisp packets
  • sweet wrappers
  • plastic toys
  • medicine packs (e.g. headache pills etc.)
  • toothpaste tubes
  • paint pots
  • wood 
  • coat hangers 

Many items that we can’t accept in our  recycling collections can still be recycled separately or taken to  
Regis Road reuse and recycling centre (NW5 3EW).

Find out what else you can recycle