We provide a weekly residual and recycling collection service for all kerbside properties and estates in Lambeth with unlimited recycling.

You can also bring your unwanted goods to a reuse and recycling centre, a local recycling point, or use one of the reuse and recycling schemes.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. What can I recycle from home?

Here's a guide that shows what items can be recycled at home.

Recyclable item Details
Paper and cardboard All paper, cardboard, catalogues, directories and Yellow Pages. (we do not recycle shredded paper)
Food and drink cartons All food and drink cartons, including Tetra Pak (please rinse and flatten all boxes).
Glass bottles and jars All glass bottles and jars (please rinse). No broken glass please.
Cans and tins All drink cans and food tins (please rinse and empty)
Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays including margarine tubs, yoghurt pots and any other types of plastic food containers (please rinse and remove film).

We need every resident in Lambeth to play their part by recycling as much of their waste as possible. You must put everything that can be recycled into your green wheelie bin, shared recycling bin or recycling bag.

Kerbside residents are also eligible to participate in our food waste collection service. Please visit our food waste page to find out what to recycle and where to buy replacement liners.

See our A to Z of what to do with your waste

2. What can't I recycle from home?

The following items must not be put in your green recycling wheelie bin or clear recycling bag.

Waste item Why can't we recycle it?
Shredded paper Becomes tangled in the sorting machinery at the materials recovery facility. Please only shred personal information. Shredded paper can be used as pet bedding or placed into compost bins. Alternately, place it into your refuse bin from where it will be used to generate electricity.
Plastic bags These can cause problems at the materials recovery facility (MRF), as they become tangled in the sorting machinery.
Plastic film Film is often contaminated with dirt and grease and can clog up the machinery at the materials recovery facility.
Foil or paper yoghurt pot lids Foil and paper yoghurt pot lids cause problems by falling through the machinery during the sorting process at the materials recovery facility. This can result in the contamination of other materials.
Food-soiled boxes Greasy paper cannot be successfully recycled.
Polystyrene As it passes through the sorting machinery it smashes into thousands of separate beads and causes a litter problem as well as clogging up equipment.
Pyrex or window glass At present all glass is recycled as aggregate, but our aim is to recycle it back into new bottles and jars as this is more carbon friendly. Pyrex and window glass are not suitable for this purpose as they only melt at much higher temperatures.
Light bulbs Energy efficient light bulbs contain small amounts of mercury which will build up at the materials recovery facility as they smash. You can recycle them safely at our Reuse and Recycling Centres.
Electrical items The plant is not designed to handle electrical items and they can damage machinery. When cables get caught in the equipment they can cause an emergency shutdown.
Chemical containers or batteries These are classed as hazardous waste and can pose a risk to human health and the environment. They need to be disposed of separately see Get rid of hazardous waste. See also reuse and recycling centres.
Paint Spilt paint will contaminate paper waste.
Soil or rubble Cannot be separated from other recyclables at the materials recovery facility and so it contaminates the other materials. Rubble can cause expensive damage to the machinery.
Textiles Clothing and textiles end up getting covered in food residues from packaging which makes them unusable. See Reuse and recycling centres and On-street recycling banks.
Aerosols Due to a number of explosions in the Material Recycling Facility (MRF), aerosols are no longer accepted for recycling. Please click here for more information.

Find out more for a poster that shows what items can be recycled at home.

Find out what to do with items that can't be recycled from home: Lambeth recycling map

See our A to Z of what to do with your waste

3. Recycling from kerbside properties

If you are a kerbside property with space to store bins you will have a black and green wheelie bin. If you have no where to store a bin, your waste will be collected via a bag collection.

When recycling, place all of your clean recycling into your bin or bag loose. Please do not place your recycling into carrier bags or black sacks.

On your collection day, present your bin or bags out on the pavement for collection by 6am along with your rubbish bin or bag and food waste bin; if eligible - the evening before is fine. Once your bins have been emptied, please return them to your property before 8am the following day.The exception to this are homes in a timed collection area.

Please make sure your recycling does not obstruct the footpath.

If you are physically unable to put out your recycling and do not have anyone who can help you, we can arrange an assisted collection.

If you need an assisted collection please call
020 7926 9000

When is my recycling collected?

We collect recycling from street properties on the same day as we do your rubbish - Recycling and rubbish collection days by street.

Collection days may be changed around Christmas day and New Year's day. Collection days are not normally changed around other public or bank holidays. Details of any changes will be posted on the Bank holiday bin collections page.

See our advice on storing your recycling between collection days. You can also take your recycling to one of our recycling banks.

Storing your recycling between collection days

Store your recycling in the most convenient location for you - either inside the house or in the back garden if you have one. Please try to keep your recycling dry if possible. All households are different and any of the following solutions could apply to you:

  • for outside storage - place your recycling in your green recycling bin
  • for inside storage - store loose in a cardboard box or other container and rinse materials to avoid any odour.

4. Recycling on estates

Most residents who live on a housing estate have their recycling collected from large communal recycling bins located throughout the estate.

Please don't put your recycling into black bags and it's best if you empty your recycling in loose. Too many of the wrong items into the recycling bin means that it won't be collected as recycling and will be disposed of as rubbish instead. Recycling saves money that can be spent on other services - It’s also important for the environment to recycle as much as we can, as it conserves natural resources.

Here's a guide that shows what items can be recycled at home.

5. Recycling in flats above shops

How do I recycle in a flat above shop?

Each residents in Lambeth who lives in a flat above shop will receive a free delivery of recycling bags several times a year. Please rinse out all recyclable items and place them into your clear recycling bag.

If you do not have access to a wheeled bin, please bag your recycling and present it next to an item of street furniture such as a litter bin or lamp post on your collection day.

You should present your recycling before 6am on your collection day. The exception to this are homes in a timed collection area.

How do I order more recycling bags?

Recycling sacks are delivered three times a year.* If you run out before your next delivery you can order more by visiting lambeth.gov.uk/clear-sacks

*Please note, if your address is part of a trial receiving flat-pack recycling bags these may be delivered on a different frequency.

If you can see the delivery date for recycling sacks in the waste services information box but can't order them through the form, please email StreetCareCallCentre@lambeth.gov.uk

Why are there green boxes on my street that say “clear recycling bags only” or “recycling only”?

Since 2017, Lambeth have worked with residents in flats above shops to improve the service they receive. Trials were conducted in 2017 and 2018 where green street boxes were placed on the pavement as a location for residents living in flats above shops to store their recycling between collections. If you live in a location listed below, please place your full recycling bags tied securely in the box for collection. Please refrain from putting loose items into these boxes.

  • Abbeville Road between 37 and 77
  • Abbeville Road between 28 and 58
  • Acre Lane between 104 and 138
  • Acre Lane between 140 and 156
  • Brixton Hill between 100 and 112
  • Brixton Road between 52 and 62
  • Camberwell New Road between 41A and 47A
  • Coldharbour Lane between 176 and 256
  • Coldharbour Lane between 338 and 352
  • Dulwich Road between 101 and 115
  • Gipsy Road between 229 to 251
  • Greyhound Lane between 1 and 17
  • Kennington Road between 327 and 349
  • Loughborough Road between 39 and 63
  • South Lambeth Road between 127 and 139
  • Tulse Hill between 182 and 192
  • Venn Street between 53-55 and 59
  • Wandsworth Road between 593 and 595-597

6. Reuse and recycling centres

Smugglers Way re-opened on Monday 11 May 2020 and Vale Street re-opened on Thursday 14 May 2020. We have introduced new measures to keep residents and staff safe and to reduce queues, details regarding visiting the sites can be found on the pages below.

There are two main reuse and recycling centres, located in Lambeth and Wandsworth. Lambeth residents can use any of these to recycle or dispose of household waste:

Lambeth Reuse and Recycling Centre
Vale Street
West Norwood
SE27 9PA.
Recycling and reuse only.
Smugglers Way
SW18 1JS
Recycling, reuse and general rubbish.

Domestic industrial waste (Smugglers Way)

From Monday 1 April 2013, all domestic industrial waste delivered by residents to Smugglers Way in a van will be charged for. Industrial waste includes DIY type waste such as tiles, flooring, kitchen units, bathroom suites and rubble.

For full details and charges, please visit the Western Riverside Waste Authority website.

7. Local recycling banks

For details of what can be recycled where, please see our recycling map.