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Welcome to our in-depth exploration of recycling at the Colchester Recycling Centre, your one-stop solution for all things green in the heart of Essex. As we face the increasing urgency to address global environmental concerns, it becomes our collective responsibility to promote and practise eco-friendly behaviours. Recycling forms a crucial part of these habits, helping us conserve resources, minimise landfill, and reduce pollution.

In this post, we’ll break down exactly what can be recycled at Colchester Recycling Centre, with a comprehensive table to clarify each category of waste. This centre operates under the ethos of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, and offers a variety of services to help you do just that.


Location, Accessibility, and Operating Hours: Your Guide to Colchester Recycling Centre

Looking for an accessible and comprehensive recycling service? Colchester Recycling Centre is here to serve the community. Here’s everything needed to plan a seamless visit.


Conveniently situated at Maldon Road, Shrub End, Colchester, Essex, CO3 4RN, Colchester Recycling Centre stands ready to accept a diverse array of recyclable materials.

Disabled Access

The Centre is committed to inclusivity, ensuring all community members can use its services. Detailed information about disabled access to the recycling centre can be obtained from AccessAble, formerly Disabled Go. It is recommended to review this information prior to a visit and to reach out if there are further questions about accessibility.

Operating Hours

To accommodate various schedules, Colchester Recycling Centre is open seven days a week, with working hours adjusted for different seasons.

Winter Opening Hours (16th October to end of February)

During the colder months, from 16th October to the end of February, the Centre operates from 9am to 4pm every day.

Summer Opening Hours (1st March to 15th October)

With the arrival of longer daylight hours, from 1st March to 15th October, the Centre extends its operating hours from 9am to 5pm every day.

Holiday Closures

It’s also important to note that there are a few days in the year when the Centre is closed. The Centre will close early at 1pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Furthermore, it will remain closed all day on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day.

By utilising the services of Colchester Recycling Centre, community members play an active role in preserving the environment. Everyone’s contribution truly makes a difference.


What Can Be Recycled at Colchester Recycling Centre

At Colchester Recycling Centre, a diverse range of materials can be recycled, everything from everyday household items to more unique categories like electronics and batteries.

  • Batteries
  • Books
  • Car batteries
  • Cardboard
  • Clothing and textiles
  • Cooking oil
  • Engine oil
  • Garden waste
  • General rubbish
  • Light bulbs and fluorescent tubes
  • Mixed glass bottles and jars
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Printer cartridges
  • Scrap metal
  • Small electrical appliances
  • Tyres
  • Wood and timber

Table of Recyclable Materials at Colchester Recycling Centre

To help you understand what can be recycled, here is a quick reference table:

PaperNewspapers, magazines, office paper
GlassBottles, jars
PlasticsBottles, containers, film
MetalCans, foil, empty aerosols
ElectronicsTVs, computers, mobile phones
BatteriesAll types
Garden WasteGrass cuttings, leaves, branches
TextilesClothing, footwear, bags, fabric scraps
Large AppliancesFridges, washing machines

Here’s an in-depth look at each recyclable category:


Paper recycling helps reduce deforestation and save our trees. At Colchester, we accept all types of paper, such as newspapers, magazines, catalogues, phone books, office paper, junk mail and even cardboard. Paper items are often repurposed into new paper products, including everything from newsprint to cardboard boxes.


Glass is infinitely recyclable without losing its quality. That’s why it’s so important to bring your glass bottles and jars to the recycling centre rather than tossing them in the trash. This could include bottles from soft drinks, wines, spirits, or jars of pasta sauce or pickles.


Plastics form a significant portion of household waste, and at Colchester, we accept plastic bottles, containers, trays, tubs, and film. Recycling plastic helps reduce the demand for oil (which is used to produce new plastic) and helps keep harmful microplastics out of our oceans and food chain.


Metal recycling is particularly important due to the high energy saving potential associated with it. The Centre accepts aluminium and steel food and drinks cans, tin foil, empty aerosols, metal lids from jars and bottles, and even small appliances.


Electronics, often referred to as ‘e-waste’, include items such as televisions, computers, printers, and mobile phones. These items contain valuable materials that can be recovered and reused, including rare earth metals.


Batteries can contain harmful elements such as lead, cadmium, zinc, lithium and even mercury. By recycling old batteries at the Centre, you help prevent these harmful substances from leaking into the environment.

Garden Waste

Garden waste, including grass cuttings, leaves, branches, and flowers, can be composted and turned into nutrient-rich soil conditioner. This reduces the amount of organic waste going to landfill and helps nurture your garden.

Textiles and Clothing

Textiles including clothing, footwear, bags, fabric scraps, curtains, and beddings are also accepted. They can be reused, or if not in a usable condition, recycled into new textile items or industrial rags.

Large Appliances

Large appliances such as fridges, freezers, washing machines, and dishwashers are also accepted at the Centre. They are often stripped down and the metal, plastic and other components are separated for recycling.


Items Not Accepted at Colchester Recycling Centre

While Colchester Recycling Centre is proud to facilitate a comprehensive recycling service for numerous materials, there are certain items they cannot accept due to specific handling and disposal requirements. This limitation exists to ensure the safety of all visitors and staff and to comply with the legal regulations surrounding waste disposal.

The following items are NOT accepted at the Colchester Recycling Centre and you must arrange a separate collection or disposal for these materials:


Asbestos is a hazardous material that requires specialised handling and disposal due to the health risks associated with its dust and fibres. Thus, asbestos waste cannot be accepted at the centre.

Business Waste

At the Colchester Recycling Centre, they focus primarily on domestic recycling. Therefore, they do not accept waste generated by businesses. Business owners should organise their own commercial waste collection service.

Chemical Waste

Due to the potential risks posed by chemical waste, this type of waste cannot be accepted at the centre. This includes but is not limited to pesticides, solvents, and other potentially harmful chemicals. Specialised disposal methods are required for these substances to prevent harm to the environment and public health.

Clinical Waste

Clinical waste, including used syringes, medicines, and dressings, can pose a significant health risk if not correctly disposed of. The recycling centre is not equipped to handle this type of waste.

Dead Animals

Dead animals are not accepted at the recycling centre. They require specific methods of disposal that the centre is not equipped to handle.

Fireworks, Ammunition and Explosives

For the safety of staff and visitors, they cannot accept potentially dangerous items such as fireworks, ammunition or explosives. These items pose a significant safety risk and must be disposed of following specific legal guidelines.


The disposal of fuels such as petrol, diesel, and heating oil is a highly regulated process and therefore is not accepted at the Colchester Recycling Centre.

Gas Cylinders

Due to their pressurised nature and potential for explosion, gas cylinders cannot be accepted at the centre. They should be returned to the supplier or disposed of through a licensed hazardous waste disposal service.

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant species, and it is illegal to dispose of it at waste disposal sites due to the risk of further spreading. Special procedures exist for the handling and disposal of Japanese knotweed.

It’s essential to ensure you separate and organise your waste responsibly, being aware of the items that require specialised disposal. By doing so, you contribute to the smooth running of the recycling centre and the safety of everyone involved. Always remember, when in doubt about a particular item’s disposal, it’s best to ask for advice.

The Impact of Recycling

By contributing to the recycling efforts at Colchester Recycling Centre, you’re actively aiding in preserving our planet. Recycling is a sustainable option that reduces the demand for raw materials, helps conserve natural resources, and reduces the amount of waste that ends up in our landfill sites.

Explore Free Stuff 4 U: An Alternative to Disposal

Before relegating an item to the rubbish bin, consider the possibility that it might still hold value for someone else. In the spirit of reducing waste and promoting a circular economy, consider using platforms like Free Stuff 4 U.

Free Stuff 4 U is an online platform dedicated to encouraging the sharing and reuse of items. This resourceful community allows individuals to give away their unused or unwanted items rather than disposing of them, offering them a second life in a new home.

Whether it’s an old piece of furniture, some garden tools, or even an out-of-fashion piece of clothing, Free Stuff 4 U enables these items to find a new purpose. This approach not only saves resources but also fosters community spirit and sharing. Before tossing something out, think about giving it away – one person’s trash might just be another’s treasure.

Your small act of recycling can lead to significant environmental benefits. So, next time you’re about to throw away that plastic bottle or old newspaper, remember – recycling is the way forward.


In Conclusion

Colchester Recycling Centre is equipped to handle an impressive array of recyclable materials. Remember, recycling starts at home with the choices we make every day. By sorting our waste and ensuring it ends up in the right recycling bin, we can all contribute to a greener and healthier planet.

Do your part for a sustainable future, recycle right at the Colchester Recycling Centre!