How to Recycle in Portsmouth: Part 2, Recycling the Unrecyclable

In the second of a three part series running this week, Tamara Groen from the Shades of Green blog gives you all the information you need on recycling items many assume cannot be recycled.

Note: This article was originally published on Shades of Green and has been reprinted with permission.

In my first article, I talked about what can be recycled in our lovely port city of Portsmouth, both at kerbside and at recycling banks scattered across the city.

To recap, the council kerbside collection accepts metal cans, tins and aerosols, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard as well as small electrical equipment (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment or WEEE). For those adventurous souls who like to venture into the great outdoors, there is a mix of council, charity, and supermarket recycling banks across the city that accept a variety of materials – mostly textiles, glass jars and bottles, and printer cartridges.

But let’s not forget my pièce de resistance – mixed plastics at Sainsbury’s.

Though I am pleased I can reduce my waste through recycling mixed plastics, it does require more effort than kerbside collection as I have to leave my house. I have rocked up to Sainsbury’s Farlington with a car full to the brim – and this is no exaggeration – with mixed plastics from my household, my next-door neighbour, and at least 5 other people from Portsmouth Green Party who don’t have cars: only to find the recycling bank is overflowing and I have to take it all back home again.

These are first world problems, I know – but incredibly frustrating nonetheless! So much so, I took it upon myself to contact Sainsbury’s to ask about their scheduled emptying of the banks and they notified me that they had ordered a second bin to the store to accommodate all the recyclable plastic.


Today, PGP member Tamara went to @Sainsburys Farlington with a boot full of plastics from neighbours and other local Green Party members for recycling but the banks were full and overflowing. Don’t get us wrong, we’re glad that people are recycling and that Sainsbury’s offers this service when @PortsmouthCityCouncil doesn’t but it’s frustrating when we try to be green and something stops us. You feel us? | #Portsmouth #Greenparty #greengram #hilsea #Green #greeninpompey #plastics #plasticwaste #greenstagram #fratton #pompeygreen #copnor #goinggreen #Greenliving #pompey #Southsea #earthkind #greens #southcoast #portsea #stamshaw #sustainability #Greenliving #eco #ecofriendly #eastney #milton #leighpark

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Enough of my ranting. Let’s turn our green dial up and look at the other household bits and bobs that can be recycled in Pompey at supermarket collection points and recycling banks.

Household Batteries

Collection bins for domestic batteries can be found in most chain supermarkets – and not just the larger superstores but also, for example, your local Tesco Express. Check the supermarkets you frequent the most and I guarantee you will find a battery collection bin.  My nearest one is at my local Co-Op.

You can also locate your nearest battery recycling online. A quick postcode search on Recycle More for ‘domestic batteries’ shows collection points at a variety of shops including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, One-Stop, Toys ‘R’ Us, Debenhams, Mothercare, and Maplin Electronics – but remember not all options are necessarily listed online or in one place.

Since 2010, a change in the law means that larger providers that sell batteries also need to provide in-store collection for used batteries. Tesco has battery-recycling points at all Express, Metro, Superstore, and Extra stores and also accepts batteries from:

  • mobile phones
  • laptops
  • hearing aids
  • watches
  • cameras
  • cordless power tools
  • electric toothbrushes
  • razors
  • hand-held vacuum cleaners

Sainsbury’s also offer a take back scheme for all portable waste batteries. Lots of other stores also have collection bins for batteries – just keep your eyes peeled.

It is so important to recycle batteries because if they are disposed of in landfill they can leach chemicals into the ground causing soil and water pollution. The majority of our waste in Pompey is incinerated and burning batteries can cause atmospheric pollution. A large proportion of batteries bought in the UK are not recycled and end up with household waste.

Recycling your batteries prevents these toxins from entering our environment.

You can also consider switching to rechargeable batteries which are a greener, more cost-effective option and can also be recycled at the end of their lifespan.

A final note, check the batteries of your smoke alarms and, unless it is a ten-year alarm, remember to change (and recycle) the batteries once a year.

Plastic Carrier Bags

I have noticed collection points for recycling plastic carrier bags at some larger supermarkets such as the Commercial Road Sainsbury’s, the Palmerston Road Waitrose and the Commercial Road and North Harbour Tesco’s.

Some of these collection points also allow for other packaging films to be included such as plastic bread bags and the plastic wrappers from toilet roll and kitchen towel packs, but check before you head off with all your plastic packaging!

Water Filters

Tesco’s at North Harbour has a recycling station for water filter cartridges. Other than Tesco’s, the only other option I am aware of is the collection points for BRITA branded water filters, which can be recycled locally at Boots, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Argos, where boxes are provided for the collection of used Brita cartridges.


Juice cartons, milk cartons, cartons for tomatoes and soup…I wish I could tell you these can be recycled locally. But sadly, they can’t. Don’t get me wrong, it is possible to recycle cartons and tetrapaks – Portsmouth City Council just doesn’t provide this facility.

Some of you have asked the Shades of Green team if cartons can be recycled with kerbside recycling of paper and card or at Sainsbury’s mixed plastic banks.

Good question but the answer is unfortunately no. This is because cartons are made of a mix of paper, plastic and aluminium foil and so would contaminate either the paper or plastics collection if included.

The nearest permanent carton recycling banks I have found through Recycle Now are in Bognor Regis and Chandlers Ford. Southampton City Council is currently trialling mixed plastics recycling banks which happily for our neighbouring city does include cartons (tetrapaks) as well as plastics like plastic meat and ready meal trays and plastic bottle tops.

I am seriously jealous. This is my call to action – if Southampton can have cartons recycling, so can Pompey!

Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Let’s end on a bright note (see what I did there?)

I am pleased to tell you that recycling light bulbs is pretty straightforward. Old style standard light bulbs cannot be recycled but energy saving light bulbs – which are a type of fluorescent lamp – can be recycled. Robert Dyas, Commercial Road Sainsbury’s and Curry’s PC World all have collection points/ recycling banks for energy saving light bulbs.

Have you spotted any recycling banks or collection points that I have missed? What other recycling facilities would you like to see in Portsmouth? Let us know in the comments below or by emailing us at And ’til next time, Happy Recycling!