Southend - can you identify the usual suspects

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We're highlighting some of the items you can, but might have thought you couldn't, recycle

Veolia, together with Southend-on- Sea Borough Council are asking residents to help identify a few ‘Unusual Suspects’! The Borough currently recycles around 50% of its waste, but the Council and its recycling and waste partner want to point out a few more items that residents may not think they can recycle.

Bleach bottles, foil food trays, shaving foam or air freshener cans are among a list of ‘Unusual Suspects’ that residents often do not realise can be recycled and all too often end up in landfill sites. This is not only bad for the environment, but is also more expensive for the council tax payer.

Veolia and the Council have run a communications campaign about the "Unusual Suspects" in 2018.

These ‘Unusual Suspects’ can be recycled in your pink sack (if they are recyclable glass, plastic or metal items), or blue paper and card box if they are made of paper or cardboard.
Just check below or here to see which items can be recycled and how.

Once collected the Borough’s recycling is taken to Veolia's waste transfer station on Eastern Avenue before being transferred to various materials recycling facilities (for sorting), or directly to recycling reprocessors (in the case of paper and card and textiles). Materials are then made into new products.

If every resident in the borough recycled just one bleach bottle, the energy saved would be enough to power a hospital for two weeks.  Recycling these unusual items can really make a difference to our overall recycling rates. Not only does recycling help secure a better environment for future generations but it also means that money currently spent on landfill can instead be spent on other essential council services, such as social care, highways maintenance or libraries.

We hope residents will get involved and make an extra special effort to recycle those perfume bottles, tissue boxes and soap dispensers, all of which are collected at the kerbside, making it easy to recycle.  Currently Southend Borough residents can recycle plastic bottles, yoghurt pots, cartons, plastic punnets and tubs, food and drinks cans, jam jars, glass bottles, cardboard boxes and newspapers. But there are also Unusual Suspects, such as foil trays and bleach bottles, which are too often overlooked.  Recycling has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and there are a lot more items that can be recycled today than many people may think.

Look out for information leaflets coming to your local community centre, library or Council Offices, or you can download one here:

Unusual Suspects leaflet (2.17 MB)

The website also has lots of information on what you can recycle at home.

To get involved in the campaign on social media, please follow:
Facebook: @SouthendBCOfficial (or just search Southend-on- Sea Borough Council)
Twitter: @SouthendBC

*Source: WRAP (Waste and Resource Action Programme)


Pink recycling sack

Blue paper and card box

Aerosols – e.g. air fresheners, deodorant, hair spray

Books (please remove hard backs and recycle in box loose)

Aftershave bottles

Cardboard aftershave box

Baby food jar

Cardboard chocolate and sweet boxes

Bathroom cleaning products*

Cardboard dishwasher tablet boxes

Biscuit tins

Cardboard perfume box

Bleach bottles

Egg boxes

Cooking sauce jars

Kitchen roll tubes

Empty medicine bottles

Paper price tags and labels

Face cream bottles and tubs

Tissue boxes

Kitchen cleaning products*

Toothpaste tube boxes

Liquid soap dispensers*


Mouthwash bottles

Perfume bottles

Pet food tins

Plastic and metal sweet, chocolate and biscuit tubs

Roller ball bottles

Shampoo bottle

Shaving foam can

Yoghurt, probiotic drink bottle