March 15


5 things to ensure your recycling is actually recycled #recycling

In an endured period when convenience is becoming more optimal with seemingly each day as it passes, there is a growing trend of people taking steps to preserving the planet we have. The reuse, reduce, recycle slogan could frankly use rebuffing, with some recyclate not even making it through the recycling process. Here are five things which could ensure your recycling makes a difference. 

Recycling at home 

  • Wash your recycling as well as you can 

While there are regional recycling centres which have the capacity to clean some recyclable items, at-large items intended for recycling which still still have food on them cannot be processed. 

According to the North London Waste Authority, food waste is considered a contaminant and results in items not being able to be recycled.  But the advice is not to go overboard. Putting your recyclable containers in the dishwasher, or scrubbing to the end of obliterating your forearm muscles is really not necessary. Simply removing all food and rinsing items clean is all that’s required. It is genuinely the case that the little efforts make a big difference. 

  • Check your council can take your items

While different countries will have their national recycling campaigns, regional recycling centres do not process all items the same. It is possible that your local recycling centre does not process all of the same items as the centre in your neighbouring county. You can rely on your local centre for plastics, papers and cardboard, but for certain personal items like contact lenses or electrical items (like toasters or other plug and battery items ) it is worth taking a look online or making a call beforehand. 

All of this information will be provided by your local council website. If not, just give them a call. Or send a strongly worded email to your MP, I’m sure they will be appreciative of that. 

  • Order your recycling 

Recycling bins can be a real mess. Items can be jumbled up and mix together, and though items are assorted and collated in processing centres it is the space in the bin that will go to waste. Having a more ordered bin reduces the mass of recyclate and will make the volume of recycling more manageable for all. Just imagine how efficient our recycle process would be if we held our food and drink packaging in the same regard after using it as we regard it before using it. Moreover, imagine how difficult finding your food ingredients would be if your kitchen cupboard looked like your outdoors bin!

Recycling out and about 

  • Double-check the signs on public recycling bins 

Recycling in public can be tricky. We know that most litter bug behaviour is the result of thoughtlessness and a lack of public bins, but even intentions to recycle can be lost when public bins are not labelled clearly. It is always good just to check. The unfortunate reality is that the lack of public bins, particularly in open spaces, contribute indirectly to the single-use challenge that we face in society, because the only option for the area simply is putting recycling in a non-recyclable bin. One significant way to negate this is being prepared and carrying a bag that would be fine to keep recycling in until a proper bin is in the area. 

Recycling at work 

It is one challenge to ensure that recycling is ensured in families and house-shares, but in the work who is accountable? There are no consequences of lobbing a banana in the same bin as the plastic and cardboard. Pay checks are not held on the basis of food waste mismanagement. It is a matter for the individual to uphold people to decent accountability. Make some recycling posters and put them on the bins, if you can work with HR to send an email or buy some recycling bins. Fundamentally many of us spend many hours a day at places of work, we may as well treat them as we treat our own homes. And on they point, we may as well treat our planet as we treat our own homes. 

‘James C Cantwell

Freelance Journalist and Writer’