A perennial point of conflict in households across the country, the question of what can and can't be recycled sees us wrack our brains every time we go to bin a yoghurt pot or loo roll tube.

The rules can be confusing, and putting the wrong thing in the recycling bin can contaminate the rest of it and see a pile of recyclable goods sent to the landfill.

While everyone has a different colour bin depending what part of the Liverpool City Region they live in, the same recycling rules apply in Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral and Halton.

READ MORE:Cycle lane on major Liverpool road officially opens

The Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) has a detailed list of almost everything that can and can't go into your blue, grey or brown bin, or black box and blue and pink bags in St Helens.

We've compiled a list, all in one place, of the recycling rules in the region to help you avoid accidentally sending recyclable goods to the landfill.


Paper products are among the most valuable recyclable materials, but they must be clean.

Grease, food, paint and dirt can mean otherwise recyclable paper will have to go in the waste bin.

Shredded paper should be placed in the regular waste bin as the paper fibres are too small for recycling.

Here's a list of paper products you can and can't recycle in Merseyside:


Like paper, most clean cardboard can be recycled if it is free from dirt and stains.

The most common items that you can and can't recycle in Liverpool

Cardboard containers like grease-covered pizza boxes sadly have to go into the regular refuse bin.

Remember to flatten cardboard boxed and remove plastic from cardboard packaging before placing it in the recycling bin.


Empty and rinsed aluminium cans and tins are suitable for the kerbside recycling process.

Larger metal items must be taken to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre.


Many glass items, except for heat-resistant types like Pyrex, can be recycled.

Just make sure they're empty, rinsed, and have the lids back on if possible.


Plastic good can be tricky, with black plastics often catching people out.

According to the MRWA, "almost all plastic bottles are recyclable as long as they are not black plastic".

Make sure to rinse bottles, put the lids back on, leave the labels on, and don't squash them.

Some items, like Tetra Pak food and drink cartons, recycled in kerbside bins and must instead be taken to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Other products in this category are:

Sometimes, recycling and disposal aren't the only options.

The MRWA encourages people to take items like clothes to Household Waste Recycling Centres, or to donate the.

If you have books or furniture in good condition, think about taking them to charities or voluntary organisations instead of dropping them in the recycling bin.

Emmaus Merseyside is a charity providing a home, education, training and work to people who have experienced homelessness.

According to the charity's website, it "accepts donations of second hand furniture, household items, clothing, kitchen appliances, garden furniture, electronics, bric-a-brac, books, music, media and much more."

The sale of items donated to the charity helps fund the charity and its support for people who have experienced homelessness.

But they "can only accept items that are in good saleable condition", and there are legal and practical limits on what they can accept.

Always call or check with charities and charity shops before donating items.