What and where can I recycle?

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

There is an ever growing list of items which can be re-used or recycled. New processes and facilities are being developed to treat our waste as a resource, rather than something that we want to dispose of. We can all do our bit to help increase the amount of waste that is either re-used or recycled.

Below is an A-Z list of things that can be recycled:


Each year around 500 million aerosols are used in the UK. That is about 10 for each person. Aerosols are recyclable. Please remove the plastic top, and take it to your nearest can recycling bank or put in your black box.


Recycling 1kg of aluminium cans saves 8kg of bauxite (the raw material mined to make aluminium), 4kg of chemical products, and 14kw of electricity. Recycling aluminium saves 95% of the energy used to process raw materials, and reduces emissions by 99%.  Recycle your aluminium drinks cans by taking them to your nearest recycling site, or using your kerbside recycling box. Aluminium cans are collected together with steel cans, which are separated using large magnets that remove the steel cans for separate reprocessing.


Instead of using new carrier bags when you visit supermarkets, re-use old ones, or take a "bag for life", which can be used over and over again. These are now available at most major supermarkets, and many high street shops.


Car batteries should be taken to one of the Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRC) at Frizington or Millom, which are run by Cumbria County Council. Sometimes garages will accept them, but may charge. Household batteries can also be taken to the HWRC, but using rechargeable batteries or appliances which work on mains electricity is a better way or reducing waste from batteries. You can now recycle batteries at many local supermarkets.


When you have finished with a book, give it to someone else to read, or take it to a local charity shop or book bank.


Information about recycling bottles can be found under the heading Glass.

Bulky Waste

Copeland Borough Council runs a bulky waste collection service. We charge £25 to collect up to three items. Please ring 01946 598300 to arrange a collection.

Cartridges for printers

Many stationery companies have a returns policy, meaning that you can take them back to where you purchased them. Some charities also take and buy back ink cartridges for recycling.

Check your favourite charity websites.


Pass unwanted clothes to friends and family, or take them to a local charity shop or textile recycling bank. Much of the clothing put into recycling banks is sent for resale in other countries, which supports local economies.

Electrical & Electronic Equipment 

It is best to repair equipment wherever possible, but if you are simply updating equipment, you can recycle electrical and electronical equipment at your local Houshold Recycling Centres. Alternatively, contact your local charity shop, as they may take such items, if they are still in a good condition. There are also organisations which refurbish electrical equipment for re-sale.


These can be reused by placing stickers over the previous address, and many charities provide re-use labels. You can also recycle envelopes in the kerbside boxes or at our recycling sites, provided that any plastic windows in the envelopes are removed first.

Fridges and Freezers

These should be disposed of safely, due to the gases that are used to provide the coolants for them. Copeland can arrange to collect these for disposal as part of our low cost bulky waste service. Please call us 01946 598300. alternatively they can be recycle at you local Houshold Recycling Centres (Millom or Frizington). You can also visit the recycle for cumbria website for a list of names of organisations that will take white goods (if in working order) for reuse.


This can be donated to a number of charities. The following organisations provide a collection service for furniture which is in a good state of repair and requires no maintenance - Impact Housing 01900 68648 and Age Concern 01900 872824. Where items are no longer in a fit state for use, they can be picked up for a low charge by our bulky collection service, by calling 01946 598300. You can also visit the recycle for cumbria website for a list of names of organisations that will take furniture (if in working order) for reuse.

Garden waste

About a third of the waste that we produce at home can be composted. This includes vegetable kitchen waste and garden waste such as grass clippings, dead flowers and prunings from trees and shrubs. Use your green waste collection scheme, or make your own compost with the help of a home compost bin. Find out more here.

Gas bottles

Recycle at you local Houshold Recycling Centres (Millom or Frizington). Alternatively if you cant transport these items Copelands Buky Waste servioce will come a pick up items for a small fee.


8-10% of the contents of the average dustbin is made up of glass. Most of this can be recycled over and over again. You can use your black kerbside box to recycle bottles and jars if you are on the collection scheme, or see our list of recycling sites find out which sites have glass recycling banks (needs to have a link to recycling site list).

Hardcore and rubble

Recycle at you local Houshold Recycling Centres (Millom or Frizington).

Hazardous Waste

There is legislation governing the disposal of hazardous waste. Please telephone 01946 598300 for advice on the collection of hazardous waste.

Junk Mail

You can stop junk mail being delivered by registering with The Mailing Preference Service either via the Mailing Preference Website or by telephoning them on 0805 703 4599

Kitchen Waste

Uncooked fruit and vegetable peelings can be placed in your home compost bin. See our page on Home Composting to find out how to order a subsidised home compost bin.

Mobile Phones

Many charities have a mobile phone recycling service. Contact your preferred charities to see if they run one. You can also recycle them locally at Whitehaven Tesco, Cleator Moor Co-op, Chapel Street car park in Egremont and Tesco in Millom.


3% of household waste in Cumbria consists of disposable nappies. Reusable cotton nappies are available, and are not as difficult to use as the old style terry toweling nappies. You can get a voucher to try reusable nappies through the Cumbria Real Nappy Campaign website or by telephoning 0845 055 1188.


Please place newspapers in your black recycling box, if you are on a kerbside collections scheme, or alternatively use one of the councils recycling centres.


It is illegal, and dangerous to dispose of car engine oil down the drain. It should not be disposed of with your general household rubbish, but taken to one of the County Councils Household Waste Recycling Centres. Please check the county councils website  to see where your nearest site is located.


Many products we use today have excess packaging. You can reduce waste by choosing products which have less packaging, buying items such as fruit and vegetables loose, and using refills for products wherever possible. Buying in bulk often requires less packing for one large container than several smaller ones. Plastic bottles, cardboard and paper packaging can be recycled at our bring sites. Check our list or sites to see which ones take which materials.


Please do not put paint in your normal household waste bin. Surplus paint and empty containers can be taken to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre, or donated to a local charity.
In this area Free For All Community Recycling at Wigton will take surplus paint. You can contact them on 016973 44919 or 016973 45656 or write to: Free For All Community Recycling Wigton Ltd, The Old Slaughterhouse, Water Street, Wigton, Cumbria. CA7 9AW


Plastic bottles can be recycled at some of our recycling points. Please enter you postcode in the 'my property ' section to find your nearest recycling point.

Plastic bags

Can now be recycled at several supermarkets in the area, but better still, use "bag for life" and minimise waste from plastic carrier bags. These are available in many high street shops and supermarkets.

Scrap Metal

You can take scrap metal to your Household Waste Recycling Centre, or large quantities can be taken to a scrap metal dealer


Many food cans are made from steel. These can all be rinsed and placed in your black box for collection on our kerbside scheme, if you have this service in your area. Otherwise, please take them to one of our recycling sites, located throughout the borough. Larger items can be taken to the County Councils Household Waste Recycling Sites. Recycling steel saves 70% or the energy it takes to produce steel from raw materials.

TV and monitors

Recycle at you local Houshold Recycling Centres (Millom or Frizington). Alternatively if you cant transport these items Copelands Buky Waste servioce will come a pick up items for a small fee.


Composting vegetables and vegetable peelings is the best way to dispose of unwanted vegetable waste. Make your own compost with the help of a home compost bin - see also kitchen waste above.


Recycle at you local Houshold Recycling Centres (Millom or Frizington).

Check out this document for a list of what you can recycle and where across Copeland.

Click here for details of what can go into your brown bin.

Published: 18 February 2013 - 1:48pm

Where you see this symbol FAQ you can submit a question and we will add the answer to our pool of Frequently Asked Questions for the benefit of other users. Whilst using the website if you come across a term or word you do not understand, then you can submit it to our glossary and we will provide an explanation, which again will help other users. We try to use plain language where possible and your feedback will help. Thank you.