National Recycling Week helps you reduce your waste and recycle right – 9-15 November.
Recycling isn’t as complicated as it seems. While some councils may have slightly different inclusions, the basics are always the same. If in doubt, throw it in general waste. We have shared below top 10 recycling tips.
1. Recyclables must be loose, not bagged in the recycling bin.
Do not ever bag your commingled recycling before putting it in the yellow-lid bin. The facilities that receive the recyclables are rarely able to separate the recycling from the bags, and the soft plastic can cause damage to machinery.
It is also quite dangerous to open the bags manually, as the operator opening them risks a needle stick or broken glass injury.
2. Empty recyclables of all food and liquid.
Leftover food and liquids in containers can contaminate other recyclables when placed in the commingled bin. To prevent contamination and preserve the quality of the material for recycling, ensure that they are rinsed out before recycling – a quick scrape and rinse will do.
3. Plastic lids off.
Plastic lids are made from a different type of plastic than the bottles they came with, which is why they should be separated and sent to general waste. This also helps to ensures the bottle or container is empty – leftover liquid in containers can contaminate a whole load of recyclables.
4. Clothing and textiles do not go in the commingled recycling bin.
Clothing, shoes and bags do not belong in the commingled bin. At sorting facilities, they jam machinery and contaminate other recycling. Unwanted wearables should be repurposed or donated directly to charities.
5. Check the label on meat trays.
Carbon black meat trays cannot be detected by optical sorters in recycling facilities due to their non-reflective surface, so it’s best to leave them in the general waste bin. For meat trays of other colours, it’s best to check the label, as some may be made of non-recyclable material. If in doubt, it’s best to leave it out of the commingled bin.
6. Toothpaste tubes must be clean to be recycled.
Toothpaste tubes are made from either plastic, aluminium or a combination of both, so they can be recycled if they are reasonably clean. Cut open the tube and rinse it out to remove residual toothpaste. After removing the plastic cap or lid, it can be recycled in the commingled bin.
7. Aluminium caps can go in the commingled bin.
Yes, but they are too small to be sorted by the machinery at recycling facilities. Save them in an empty aluminium can until half full, then crush it so that the tops stay inside.
8. Aluminium foil is recyclable if clean enough.
Foil from yogurt tubs, pre-baked foods and chocolate Easter eggs are recyclable but only if you scrunch them up into a ping pong sized ball so that it can be easily picked up and sorted at recycling facilities. Foil covered in food or oil should not be recycled.
9. You do not need to remove the staples from magazines and paper.
The tiny staples are not likely to contaminate the paper.
10. You do not need to remove labels from bottles and jars.
Labels are ok to be left on as they get removed during processing.