Business support and advice
Ongoing support and advice for businesses as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Wishful recycling

Plastic bag with say no to plastic bags text

What is wishful recycling?

Wishful recycling is the term for putting non-recyclable or potentially reusable items in the recycling bins which often results in polluting a clean batch of recyclables.

The machines that sort and process the materials also become damaged, which creates an inefficiency.

We know you, as Preston residents, are eager to recycle as much as you can so let's get clear on what's accepted and what's not accepted as part of our recycling program.

Items you can't recycle

'Wishful' recyclables you should not place in the recycling bins/boxes include:

  • Plastic bags
  • Polystyrene
  • Plastic film
  • Plastic wrappers
  • Wallpaper
  • Tetra Pak containers: wax coated drink boxes, juice and milk cartons
  • Metal pots, pans, cutlery, padlocks
  • Glass and ceramic cups, plates, crockery
  • Electrical items
  • Toys
  • Textiles
  • Dirty items: normally acceptable items that contain food or food residue
  • Books

Items you can recycle

For a full list of items you can recycle in red and yellow lidded recycling bins please visit what can I put in my recycling boxes and bins?

Alternative reusable and recycling options

The following information offers alternative ideas for reusing or recycling your unwanted items:

Give away your unwanted items

Why not consider giving away your unwanted items for others to reuse...

Freegle is an online service which allows you to get and give unwanted items for free from residents within your local community to help keep potential resusable items out of the waste system.

For more information on giving away your items and how to join the community visit I Love Freegle - Preston Freegle Group.

To find out what residents are giving away in Preston currently visit I Love Freegle - Preston items.

Alternatively, you can donate your unwanted items to local charities, a number of which will collect free of charge.


Most supermarkets accept plastic bags and batteries.

Household Waste and Recycling Centres

The Household Waste and Recycling Centres, run by Lancashire County Council, recycle many items including:

  • hard plastics
  • light bulbs
  • Tetra Paks
  • batteries
  • electrical items
  • textiles

Remember - before you put your recycling bins at the kerb, make sure the items inside are 'acceptable' items rather than 'wishful' recycling items.

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