Do you want to know how to recycle more of what you use and throw away? To celebrate Global Recycling Day, we’ve created a sustainable guide containing tips to help you recycle more of the correct materials.
First, let’s start with some recycling facts to put the problem into context.
The UK recycles only 45% of plastics. The rest ends up in landfills or oceans, where they pollute the environment and cause damage to wildlife.
The 8 million tonnes of plastic that enters the oceans every year is equivalent to dumping 1 billion elephants into our marine habitats.
Plastic takes hundreds of years to break up but never completely goes away.
All the plastic that we throw away could circle the world 5 times.
Glass is 100% recyclable over and over again, but the UK only recycles 50% of it.
Glass doesn’t decompose in landfill, so it puts a massive strain on the environment and contributes to carbon emissions.
We could compost at least 50% of our food waste but don’t.
Food in landfill releases dangerous greenhouses gases. However, we could use food to make animal feed or convert it into gas to produce electricity.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
A circular economy is about eliminating waste and reusing our finite resources again. Recycling plays a vital part in the circular economy as it focuses on turning unwanted rubbish into new valuable materials. The main benefit is that it reduces damage to our planet caused by pollution and climate change.
However, recycling shouldn’t be considered a first resort. If you can’t reduce, reuse, repair, or repurpose what you have, recycling may be the next best thing.
Our sustainable guide below provides some valuable tips to help you recycle more of the correct materials.
You can recycle these materials in your recycling bin at home:
Paper and card
Break them down by flattening boxes and remove any bubble wrap or packaging materials
Rinse out bottles and jars
Recyclable plastics (rigid)
Empty and rinse plastic bottles to avoid contaminating other products at the recycling facility
Make sure they don’t contain any harmful chemicals such as anti-freeze
Remove the pumps before disposing
Keep lids on if you’re crushing bottles down
Metal containers such as tin, aluminium and steel
Don’t crush cans as they are harder to recycle at facilities
Empty aerosol cans first and remove any removable parts
Rinse foil trays and scrunch foil up to make a ball (the bigger, the better)
If the foil doesn’t stay scrunched up, it’s not recyclable
Glass bottle screw tops
Compost in your home composter or use a sink incinerator if you have one
Don’t pour cooking oil down the sink as it’s one of the most common causes of water pollution
At selected supermarkets
Flexible plastic bags (carrier, bread, cereal bags that are not inside boxes)
Wrappers for cans and bottles, ring joiners, food pouches
Crisp packets, fruit and veg bags
Local council and recycling points (such as in-store)
Electronics (consider selling or donating first)
Check with your local council to find out if they will collect batteries
Clothing (consider selling or donating first)
Plastics that aren’t home recyclable such as bubble wrap
You can also use bottle banks to recycled glass
Terracycle is a recycling scheme that can earn you reward points redeemable for charitable gifts, products or donations. These are some of the products you can recycle:
Coffee capsules, pens, contact lenses, food tubes such as Pringles
Return schemes at some of the following stores also offer rewards for recycling: