Black box paper recycling collection

We collect your black box paper recycling every other week, which could include:

  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Old letters and bills
  • Envelopes
  • Catalogues and phone books
  • Cardboard packaging and boxes (flattened or cut up to fit inside your recycling box, or left in a neat, manageable 2ftx3ft bundle next to it) also include boxes for pizza, cereal, eggs etc.
  • Cardboard tubes (e.g. toilet rolls)
  • Greeting cards (no glitter)
  • Shredded paper - place in a large envelope, paper bag, or cereal box to prevent the paper escaping and causing litter

Please don't put these in your black box:

  • Hardback books (we cannot recycle the cover - why not give them to charity?)
  • Drink and milk cartons - these go in your green box
  • Tetra Paks (e.g. juice cartons) - these go in your green box

Recycling guide - printable leaflet

Find out about what happens to your recycling.

Common questions about black box recycling

My paper is kept outside what happens if it gets wet?

The council collects paper and card recycling when it's wet. However, we do ask residents to store their recycling in a dry place before collection day if possible, as the recycling potential of paper is higher when it's dry.

What can I do to stop paper and card recycling getting wet?

Ideally, keep your paper and card recycling box in a sheltered area such as inside your home, under a porch or in a garage until collection day. Place your green box on top of your black box if you can. Cover the box with a plastic bag/sheet, wooden fence panel, or lid, which is suitably weighted - ideally something from your home that is unused, we’d love to hear from anyone that has a particularly creative cover.

Is wet paper and card difficult to recycle?

Wet paper and card clog together, which is damaging to the automatic sorting equipment at the paper sorting facility and it makes separation of the different types of paper and card more difficult. This can result in the facility using more chemicals to break down the card and paper and result in higher energy costs from the longer sorting process.

How can I stop my paper recycling blowing in the wind?

Covering the box is good practice, especially on windy days, and the easiest way of doing this is to put your green box on top of it. Or you might prefer to buy a net to cover the box and keep the contents contained. These are available to buy from libraries and cost £1.30 each. Nets are tied to the box handle to ensure they don't get lost.

Are wheelie bins the solution?

For this to be effective, all households would need wheeled bins, which would be a multi-million pound cost with comparatively little saving. In addition, as a round with wheeled bins takes longer there could also be other additional costs including staff and potentially vehicles too. Some residents may have practical constraints of storing wheeled bins.

Why can't I buy my own wheeled bin for paper and card recycling?

We cannot collect from wheeled bins as if the bin does not meet the necessary British Standards it can result in health and safety issues for the collection crews. Also, from previous experience, the occasional wheeled bin led to collection difficulties and made the service inefficient.  The council is unable to replace any privately owned bins that become damaged through collections.

Why can't paper and card be mixed with other materials?

Collecting paper and card separately generally ensues that the material is clean and free from contamination. As a result, the value of the paper and card is higher than if it is collected with other materials such as glass bottles and cans. We are able to sell the collected material to markets in Europe where it is turned in to higher quality end products.

Large cardboard boxes do not fit in the back box, can I present them for recycling?

Yes, please flatten and break the boxes into pieces before placing in your black box and consider helping neighbours that are less able to do this. If you have more than fits in the box leave in a neat, manageable 2ftx3ft bundle next to it. This is because unflattened cardboard boxes quickly fill up our collection lorry and once full the lorry must travel to the waste depot to get emptied before returning to collect. This reduces the efficiency of our collection service and increases the vehicle emissions associated with managing waste. If cardboard boxes are not flattened, broken down or there is a significant volume, our collection crews will not take them.

I always have too much paper for my black box, what should I do?

If you need another black box for your paper and card please request one. You can use plastic carrier bags, loosely tied, if you prefer but please don't use black bags instead of a black box, as we might mistake your recycling for rubbish.

Recycling and waste management

Telephone: 0300 303 8658