Why is recycling important?
Because it helps to first, reduce the pollution cause by waste in landfills and second, reduce the need for raw materials. Anything that cannot be reused, if possible, should be recycled.
However, recycling can seem really confusing as a lot of products don’t state whether they’re recyclable and of the ones that do, a lot say ‘check locally’.
One of the biggest reasons for this, and something which makes clarifying what is recyclable so difficult, is that all councils have different recycling capabilities. So in this post we aim to help clarify for you what can and can’t be recycled, or give you the best places to get information on your local area.
Here are some of the common waste symbols you will see on packaging and what they mean:
Below we list some of the commonly confusing object and how to recycle them:
- Black plastics – unless stated otherwise these cannot be recycled. The reason for this is that the conveyor belt that the different plastics are sorted from cannot distinguish the black plastics, meaning they head to landfill. Some companies are now using detectable black plastics. These will often be slightly off-black and clearly stated that they are recyclable.
- Plastic bottles – all plastic bottles are recyclable and should be rinsed out (especially if they contain chemicals), squished down to save space and tops replaced. Triggers from cleaning bottles can be left on, however soap pumps must be removed and disposed of in your normal waste bin.
- Clothing, Shoes and Textiles – around 20% of wastewater worldwide comes from fabric dyeing/treatment and the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions. However, the good news is that you can recycle the clothes you throw out, even if deemed to old for a charity chop. Drop off your old clothes/shoes/textiles at banks near you, use this link to search for your closest bank.
- Aerosols – aerosols are widely recyclable, simply make sure they are empty, do not pierce, crush or flatten the can and remove any loose parts such as lids.
- Plastic film and carrier bags – the following can be recycled: all plastic bags, bread bags, cereal liners, shrink wrap and rings from drink cans and water, frozen food bags, magazine and newspaper wrappers, bags for loose fruit and vegetables, bubblewrap. The following cannot be recycled: clingfilm, food and drink pouches, bakery wrappers (e.g. bags with lots of small holes in them), film lids (e.g. yoghurt pots), any dirty bags/film containing food, crisp packets, salad bags, compostable bags and any film claiming to be biodegradable.
Please get involved by sharing any of your recycling tips with the community in the comments below. If there are any other products you would like us to cover either comment below or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.