Reading Does Recycling

Article from Winter edition of Your Reading residents' newsletter

Here in Reading we're already recycling 32% of our household waste - our new campaign is designed to help us get to 50%.

Did you know..

that the average household in the UK throws away about a tonne of rubbish every year? That’s the weight of a small car! These days most people agree that it’s important to recycle (or compost, or reuse) as much of our waste as possible – it helps protect the environment, conserve resources, save energy and reduce landfill. It’s also cheaper – it costs three times more to send a lorry load of waste to landfill than it does to recycle it. Here in Reading we recycle about 32% of our household waste. But are we doing enough? Our neighbours in Wokingham and Bracknell recycle 40% of their household waste, the national rate is 46% and the government target is 50%.

Getting to 50%

We think we can do better and that’s why we’ve launched a new campaign to help Reading recycle 50% of our household waste. Most people say they want to recycle more but are confused by what they can put in their recycling bin so we’ll be providing more information on what you can and can’t recycle. You can find lots of information about recycling on the Council website here: and by downloading the re3cyclopedia app. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter for tips and reminders. In Autumn 2020 you’ll see some big changes to services. We’re introducing food waste collections and swapping your 240 litre grey bin for a 140 litre bin, which research shows encourages people to sort more of their waste to be recycled.

Focus on food

Between 30% and 40% of the household rubbish put into the ‘grey’ bins in Reading is food waste. This often ends up in landfill where it rots and releases methane – a harmful greenhouse gas. When recycled, food waste can be turned into fertiliser for farming and energy – just 6 recycled tea bags could produce enough electric to boil the kettle for another cuppa! It’s also cheaper – every time we compost a lorry load of food instead of sending it to landfill we’ll save £100. We’re introducing weekly kerbside food waste collections in Autumn 2020 – in the coming year we’ll give you all the information and equipment you need to take part

Waste and recycling in numbers

  • One tonne is the amount of waste produced by the average household in the UK every year
  • 73% of people are unsure about what they can or can't recycle
  • 18% of the rubbish put in grey (non-recycling) bins in Reading is actually recyclable
  • 32% is the amount of household waste recycled by Reading residents every year
  • 50% is our target for the amount of household waste to be recycled in Reading
  • £100 is the amount we'll save every time we compost a lorry load of food instead of taking it to landfill.

Around the borough

You can recycle clothes, shoes and glass bottles and jars at one of more than 50 recycling banks around the Borough – use the re3cyclopedia app to find your nearest recycling bank. You can donate good quality clothes, books, DVDs, furniture and many other items to your local charity shop.

Recycling Centre

re3 is Reading’s local recycling centre based at Smallmead in Reading. Reading residents can take their waste here (take ID to prove your address). re3 can accept almost anything from mobile phones to mattresses. You can even buy re3 compost made from the garden waste deposited at the centre. Charges may apply for industrial waste or hard to dispose of items such as asbestos – check out their website for more details:

Christmas Waste

  • Your bin collection days will change over the Christmas and New Year period – check your collection dates at
  • Garden waste collections will pause for the festive season, stopping on Friday 20 December and restarting on Monday 6 January.
  • You can put wrapping paper in your red recycling bin but please put metallic paper in your grey bin.
  • You can take glass bottles and jars to the many glass banks around Reading.
  • You can cut up your real Christmas trees and put it in your green bin, or take it to any re3 recycling centre or one of the many collection sites around the Borough.
  • On the first collection after Christmas you can leave out an extra bag of rubbish next to your grey bin, and leave any extra recycling in a cardboard box next to your red bin or box.
Visit to find out everything you need to know about waste and recycling in Reading.