Mar 30, 2020

Top tips for recycling more at home

Words by Jessica Mevel

With millions of us now working from home, we actually have time to double-check whether that yoghurt pot is recyclable or not. Let’s use this as an opportunity to create some new and improved recycling habits.

Here are our top tips for zero contamination in your recycling bin.

1-Check your services are running as normal
Many councils are changing services due to Covid-19 so make sure your recycling efforts don’t go to waste. If your council aren't collecting recycling or garden waste, we've created some new household services to help.

2-What should actually go in Mixed Recycling?
This is one of the biggest confusions in recycling. Mixed Recycling should only be; Paper, Cardboard, Metal tins and cans, foil, and clean plastic bottles and containers. Some services allow glass but everything else should be standard. No flexible plastics or film. No other types of metals than tins and cans. Make sure the whole household knows.

    3-Look out for the triangle symbols 1, 2 and 5; those are the ones that can go in your recycling bin.

    You might be surprised about how much you can actually recycle in your home. We bet you’re already pretty good with the stuff in the kitchen, like milk and juice bottles. But don’t forget about the items you use in your bathroom, like shampoo and mouthwash bottles, or cleaning products, e.g. laundry detergent containers.

    If you’re ever unsure, just take a look at the packaging for the triangle symbol: 1, 2 or 5.

    Find out more about the triangle symbols with our plastic grading poster.

    4-Know the easy mistakes

    Now that we are stuck at home, are you finding yourself buying more take out? Those greasy pizza boxes that you’ve always put in the recycling bin… Think again.

    Turns out the grease on the cardboard makes it non-recyclable. So, when you’ve finished eating that greasy pizza, have a look at the box, the lower half likely has a lot of grease on, so pop that in your general waste bin. If the top half of the pizza box is nice and clean, you can put that into your recycling bin.

    5-Don’t try to recycle flexible plastic/film at home

    This is something we often see. People think “It’s plastic so it must be recyclable” but actually that flimsy plastic must go in your general waste. Think of it as 2D plastic. 3D plastic is fine to go in your recycling but 2D plastic – general waste.

    For example, your blueberries tray is fine to go in your recycling bin but that little plastic film on top of it – general waste. Same goes with your bistro salad, the flexible packaging it is in, at home, general waste.

    6- No tissues, blue roll, paper towel

    Please pop all of that in general waste. Tissues and co already come from recycled materials and can no longer be recycled as the pulp is too weak.

    7-Always avoid black plastic

    The black colour means the optical sensors often used in recycling facilities can’t identify black plastic food trays properly when sorting. When buying food, try to watch out for that black plastic, and avoid bringing it into your home altogether. You will often find it sneaking into biscuit and crackers packaging, and occasionally sushi trays too.

    During the Covid-19 pandemic, councils are having to prioritise household waste recycling - if that's the case in your area, take a look at our at-home recycling services.

    Look out for our Facebook Live Q&A session next week with our CEO Bruce Bratley. In the meantime follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all things recycling.

    By Jessica Mevel


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