How Clean Does My Recycling Need To Be?

Pizza box suitable for recycling © Amy Nancarrow

Pizza box suitable for recycling

Pizza box not ready for recycling © Amy Nancarrow

Pizza box not ready for recycling

One of the most common questions about recycling is how clean do jars, cans and pizza boxes need to be before they can go in the recycling bin.

Small amounts of food left don’t interfere with the glass and steel recycling process. Scrape all the solid food scraps out of jars and cans and then put them in the recycling bin. If you’re concerned about having left over food in the bin you can lightly rinse out your jars and cans. Using left over washing up or rinsing water is best as there’s no point wasting good water just to wash recycling.

Before putting pizza boxes in your home recycling, check whether your council accepts them - visit to find out. If your council does accept them, just scrape out all the solid food scraps. If the pizza box has a removable cardboard mat take that out too and put it in the garbage. There should be no solid food left in the box.

If your council doesn’t accept pizza boxes they can go into compost bins or make good covers for worm farms.