Empty, Rinse, Recycle, Repeat

23 April 2021

Written by: Lambeth Council


Did you know that 30% of the wrong items in Lambeth’s recycling is food, or food and drink packaging that hasn’t been emptied or cleaned?

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Empty, Rinse, Recycle, Repeat

While we’ve been spending more time at home over the last year, recycling rates have risen in Lambeth. There are certain items we’re all pretty confident about recycling, such as glass jars, tins, paper and plastic bottles, and there are those that leave us rather confused.

Two big no-nos

Two things that should never end up in your recycling bin are food and drink. Recyclable items like paper and cardboard are easily spoiled by food, drink and other liquids, and once contaminated, they can’t be recycled and have to be discarded as rubbish. This wastes not only your recycling efforts, but those of other residents in Lambeth too. That’s why we’re asking Lambeth residents to Empty, Rinse, Recycle, Repeat to help us recycle even more!

Found in Lambeth’s recycling

Here are a few of the wrong items that have been found in Lambeth’s recycling, such as:

  • Margarine tubs with spread still inside
  • Half full glass jars of sauce
  • Plastic bottles full of water
  • Full crisp packets (both the packets and the crisps can’t go in recycling)
  • Banana peels.

Recycle right

75% of all household waste can be recycled, reducing waste in your rubbish bin and saving precious resources. Check out which items can and can’t go in your recycling and follow the simple steps below to make sure you’re recycling right!


veolia empty

Make sure to empty your containers

  • Pour water and other liquids (not oil), down the drain
  • Use up leftovers or shake, scoop or scrape any unwanted food or sauce into your food waste caddy or rubbish bin.
  • Depending on where you live, you might be able to recycle your food waste, but not in the same bin as your mixed and dry recycling. Check out how to recycle your food waste.


• 'Rinse empty containers under the tap'.

Rinse empty containers under the tap.

Give containers and packaging a quick run under the tap to rinse off any remaining food and liquids, such as:

  • Sauce
  • Butter
  • Spreads
  • Oils
  • Soup
  • Other bits of food – Give any stubborn bits of food a bit more of a scrub.
  • Soap or cleaning products.
'Once empty and rinsed, put them in your recycling bin'

Once empty and rinsed, put them in your recycling bin


Once your recyclable items are clean and empty, put them in your recycling bin to be collected. Our crews then take them to a recycling facility to be sorted into different materials. See this video to find out what happens to your recycling and waste.






'Keep emptying, rinsing and recycling!

Keep emptying, rinsing and recycling!

Keep emptying, rinsing and recycling your food and drink packaging, and cleaning or cosmetics containers, to help Lambeth recycle even more!