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A Guide to General Waste

A Guide to General Waste

Guide by Clearabee

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A Guide to General Waste

Each category of waste requires a different approach to get rid of it effectively.

Some waste like bulky waste is difficult to manage due to its size while general waste can be tricky to reuse and recycle. A research document published by Government shows just how much waste we can produce. One figure stated that in 2016, UK households produced 12% 220 million tonnes of waste which was produced that year.

Things are heading in the right direction with the recycling rates of packaging hitting 70%. Now that households are producing so much general waste, we have put together this guide to help define general waste and provide advice on how to effectively get rid of it.

General Waste FAQs

For some quick insights, here are some frequently asked questions we often receive regarding general waste.


Clearabee General Waste Removal Options

If you already know all you need to know about general waste and are just interested in booking a service to get rid of your rubbish you can our bin collection page for an instant quote based on your postcode. If you are interested in a clearance on a larger scale you could try our waste calculator which allows you to pick and choose what items you’d like clearing for a bespoke quote.

Visit our bin collection page here or our waste calculator here.


General Waste Definition

In a lot of cases, general waste is more easily defined by stating what it isn't.

This is because in the modern day of multiple bins for different items, the general waste bin is often used for what isn’t green waste, rubbish that cannot be recycled and a few more examples. Hazardous and electrical items must also not be included in general waste and as such should be disposed of separately.

For an even better understanding of general waste here are some examples of what falls in this category and why.



One of the most common items that may appear within your general waste may be food items. Whether they are expired or leftovers, they normally end up in your kitchen bin and subsequently the general waste bin.

recycle sign

Non-recyclable plastics

It can be easy to think that everything which is made of plastic can simply be thrown away into your recycling bin. Even though supermarkets and other food brands are making strides into creating more recyclable packaging, a lot is simply impossible to recycle. If you cannot find the recycling logo on your packaging, it belongs with the rest of your general waste.


Recyclable items that have become too dirty

Many items like a recyclable paper bag may become impossible to recycle if it becomes too dirty. A good example may be a paper bag which has been used to deliver fast food and has too much grease on it. 


Non-recyclable metal

Like plastics, you may be led into thinking that everything made of metal can be recycled. A prime example of metal items that cannot be recycled are non-stick frying pans. An item is easy to recycle when its raw materials are accessible, because of the non-stick coating the metal underneath the pan is extremely difficult to retrieve. This is not the case with a simple cast iron or stainless-steel pan without a special coating.


Cooking oil

Although it’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t put used cooking oil down your sink, this doesn’t stop a lot of us from breaking the rules once in a while. But even this can cause a blockage over a few years and the average cost to unblock a drain will be around £100. Save yourself the risk of losing that money to an unnecessary cost by storing your used oil in an old jar under the sink and then throwing it away once it is full.

plastic bag

Carrier bags

The plastic bag charge, which came into effect in 2015 has curbed the UK’s dependency on these shopping receptacles but they are still widely available. Once used they are made up of such low-quality plastic that they cannot be recycled.



Although sweet and crisp wrappers are made up of recyclable items like plastic and metal, they are so intertwined that it makes recycling them impossible in a lot of cases.

These are just a few examples of waste and in the next section, we’ll see exactly what can and cannot be put in a general waste bin and how that may differ across the country. We’ve outlined a loose definition of general waste but, there exists a government document that outlines in detail the legal definition for waste here


General Waste Bins

What you can and can't use your bin for.

black bin

With a definition in mind here are two lists of what you should and what you shouldn't put into your general waste bin. These are not exhaustive lists so if you have something that you are unsure of you may have to may your own quick enquiry.

these may differ slightly from one council to another, most local councils have their own website where you can check to make sure. 

What you can put in your general waste bin:

  • Dust from hoovers, polystyrene, plastic carrier bags, nappies, cooking oil, cigarette ends, hygiene materials like cotton buds and wet wipes, dust from hoovering, wrappers, non-recyclable plastics, non-recyclable metal, brocken glass and ceramics, wallpaper, pet litter, bedding and faeces, food

What you cannot put in your general waste bin:

  • recyclable plastics, glass and metal, hot ash, paint, green waste like clippings and cut grass, electrical waste, heavy waste like soil and rubble, bulky waste like furniture and carpet, DIY and construction waste, clinical waste, asbestos,

You may have noticed that we have been using the term general waste bin and not ‘black bin’ which many people would be more familiar with. This is because what that each bin is used for, its colour and how often they are collected may be completely different depending on where you are in the UK.

This should put into perspective how confusing council collected bins can be at times. This problem becomes especially apparent as collections become less and less frequent. In the next section, we will look at how to get the most out of your general waste bin. 


General Waste Disposal: Get the Most out of your Bin

Make sure you use your bin correctly and consider having an additional collection.

The most common method to get rid of general rubbish of is the aforementioned general waste bin but it is by no means the most efficient on its own. You are at the mercy of how often your local council collects the bins and some are only being collected once every three weeks.

A justification as to why council general waste disposal has been reduced of late is due to the additional bins which have been provided. With bins for recycling and sometimes a separate bin for metal and paper recycling, this should alleviate the amount which ends up in your general waste bin. As such it should need collecting less frequently but in practice, this is not always the case.

After a busy weekend, you may end up with more general waste than you were anticipating. Scenarios like these, as well as the day-to-day general waste can leave you with a full bin days away from your collection. Here we’ll look at a few tips on how to reduce your general waste and make your bin go the extra mile.

Make sure you produce as little food waste as possible

Planning is key when it comes to food waste, if you over-portion or cook too much of something this can leave you with a surplus of food. Some may take the easy route of throwing it away. If possible you should see if leftovers can be reused to avoid them occupying your bin.

An even better solution would to only buy what you know you will use. If you end up purchasing the same bread week-in-week-out and never end up finishing it, it may be time to look for a smaller alternative.

For those with garden space, a compost bin is an ideal solution.

Cut down on single-use plastics/items

Sandwich bags, toothpicks, cotton pads and shopping bags are all items that cannot be recycled and once used are thrown away. Although these are all small items, once your week or fortnight’s worth of these items are added together it may be taking up a substantial chunk of your general waste disposal.

It’s best to cut as much of these items out of your life as you can. The less single-use plastic you use, the less it impacts the environment, takes up less space in your bin, and will save you money by having to use reusable alternatives.

Be careful!

Every household has its clumsiest inhabitant who will end up breaking their fair share of plates, mugs and glasses. A cheap vase may be easily replaced but once broken but will be a pain to get rid of when it’s taking up space in your general waste bin.

If something is damaged but not destroyed you should check to see if it is repairable. An example might be a pair of jeans with a tear, they’ll be plenty of online guides to help you save them from going in the bin.

Everything in its right place

Make sure your waste is in the correct bin, if most of your recycling waste ends up in your general waste bin you’ll end up with one bin half empty and the other overflowing.

Additional Bin Collections

Most councils can provide additional bin collections but they are can be laborious to book and take a while to arrive. One of the best methods to get the most of your general waste disposal bin is with a Clearabee bin collection which will effectively double its capacity. Learn more in the next section or make a booking here.


General Waste Collection with Clearabee

Our bin collections are hugely popular, are available throughout the UK and can see your bin collected on a next-day basis.

Clearabee is the UK’s largest rubbish removal company with services ranging from ‘Man & Van’ clearances, skip hire and bin collections services.

How does a general waste collection work with Clearabee?

If you notice you have an overflowing bin you can make a simple enquiry here, where you can enter your postcode for an instant quote. If you are happy with your quote you can carry onto the next step which is our simple online booking process. We've designed our booking process to be as quick and efficient as possible, letting you checkout in a matter of minutes. What’s more, is that if you book before 10 pm you will be able to have your bin collected on a next-day basis.

Prices may vary based on your postcode put prices as of 2021 sits at around:







360L Bin

360L Bin


Although much of what is categorised as general waste is not recyclable we still strive to be as responsible as possible when handling it. We use vans that are built upon specialised chassis to maximise their efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. We have also funded the creation of our Clearabee forests which are expected to offset thousands of tonnes worth of carbon emissions. You can read more about our environmental commitments here.

Man & Van Waste Collection

If you have a different waste as well just general waste we can look into the option of a ‘Man and Van’ style removal. We can deliver this service on a same-day basis and collect waste based on its quantity in cubic yards. Our smallest collection is our ‘flexible collection’ which removes 1 cubic yard for £84.99. 2 cubic yards is equivalent to 2 washing machines so we could remove a couple of bags of waste as well as old items which have been clogging up space in your shed or garage.


Clearabee Services

Just to recap Clearabee offer a wide range of services that will help you with the removal of your bulky waste items.


‘Man and Van’ | Skip Hire | Skip Bags | Sofa Removal