Tips to improve your recycling

Mother and daughter in the kitchen recycling items.

Monday 12 September 2022

More and more people in Essex are recycling items from around the home. We all know how to recycle plastic bottles and cardboard, but sometimes it’s difficult to know what items to place in which container. We’ve come up with a list of quick and easy ways to help you improve your recycling.

Why does recycling correctly matter?

Items which are not recyclable but placed in your recycling bin or sack can cause issues during the recycling process. Items are often sorted by hand and may be unsafe to handle. They may also damage machinery, reduce the recycling quality and lead to greater costs when dealing with recycling.

Items that cannot be recycled

Items that should not be placed in the recycling bin or sack include: 

  • any type of nappy or sanitary waste
  • any type of hard plastics such as toys, washing baskets and buckets
  • plastic items such as polystyrene and bubble wrap
  • glass cups, Pyrex jugs and glass ovenware

These items should always be placed in your general rubbish bin or black sack.

How to improve your recycling

All items placed in your recycling bin or sack should be clean and dry. Unclean items, such as items with stains, food or liquids on them may soil other items meaning they can no longer be accepted for recycling. To avoid unclean items, follow these easy recycle rules:

  • Give plastics a quick rinse in leftover washing-up water. Squash plastic bottles and pop the lids back on. Labels can be left on as they can be removed during the recycling process.
  • Give tins and cans a quick rinse. Pop the lids inside and squash the sides to stop the lid falling out. Labels can be left on.
  • Give glass bottles and jars a quick rinse and pop the lids back on. Labels can be left on.
  • Ensure paper and card is clean and dry with any tape, decorations or glitter sections removed before recycling.
  • Remove plastic lids from aerosols and place both items in your recycling.

To help you improve your recycling and recycle more from around the home, we've created a quick video.

Find out how to improve your recycling at home by watching this video.

To find a full list of items accepted for recycling at your kerbside, check your local council website.

How to recycle clothing and textiles

Clothing and textiles should not be placed in your recycling bin or sack with other recyclable items. If your local council accepts textiles at the kerbside, they should be clean and placed in a separate bag.

Clean clothing, textiles and shoes can be taken to local bring banks often found in supermarket car parks or at any Essex County Council recycling centre. Remember to check the list of accepted items as this can vary.

Recycling logos explained

The easiest way to check if an item is recyclable is to look out for the on-pack recycling labels. Find out what recycling logos to look out for on Recycle Now.

Find out more about recycling

Ideas to help reduce your plastic

Plastic recycling in Essex

What's the difference between biodegradable, compostable and eco?