SharePoint utilizes two Recycle Bins; the user/site Recycle Bin and the Site Collection Recycle Bin.  When an item is deleted by a user, the item initially goes into the site/user Recycle Bin and is retained there for 30 days. After 30 days, the item is automatically deleted from the site/user Recycle Bin and moved to the Site Collection Recycle Bin.

While an item is in the site/user Recycle Bin, only the user that deleted the item, or a Site Collection Administrator, can view and restore the deleted item. 30 days after originally being deleted, the item is automatically moved from the site/user Recycle Bin to the Site Collection Recycle Bin. Once an item is moved into the Site Collection Recycle Bin only a Site Collection Administrator can restore the item.

If an item in the site/user Recycle Bin is manually emptied from the Recycle Bin (prior to the 30 day limit), the item is moved to the Site Collection Recycle Bin.

Items in the Site Collection Recycle Bin are retained until manually emptied or the total storage of the Site Collection Recycle Bin consumes 50% of the Site Collection quota.  Once the storage of a Site Collection Recycle Bin reaches 50% of a Site Collection quota, the oldest items in the Site Collection Recycle Bin are automatically deleted to get the Site Collection Recycle Bin under 50% of the Site Collection quota.

Since there are multiple Recycle Bins within SharePoint. It's best to look in the Recycle Bin of the user that deleted the item first for deleted or missing content.  To learn more about this see Article 101281, "Where should I look for missing SharePoint content?"

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Last updated: 
August 30, 2016