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Tips to improve your recycling

Recycling bin with green poster and recycling swoosh

Wednesday 29 May 2019

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. So we’ve come up with a list of quick and easy ways you can improve your recycling.

Why does recycling correctly matter?

Items, such as food waste, nappies, plastic toys and textiles, mistakenly placed in the recycling bin can cause issues during the recycling process.

These items can cause machinery to break down and mean there is unsafe working environments for those who handle the waste.

Unclean recycling can also cause other items such as paper to become stained and lose their quality.

All of these factors can lead to greater costs of dealing with the recycling and therefore not all materials you recycle could end up being recycled.

But we’ve created some simple tips to help.

Recycling symbols explained

We know there are quite a few recycling symbols on packaging. Understand what each one means and recycling your items will become a lot easier.

Rinse your plastic, metal and glass containers

Leftover food residue and liquids can leak onto other items such as paper which may mean they cannot be recycled. This is called contamination.

  • For plastic bottles, rinse using leftover washing up water, squash and place the lids back on.
  • For tin cans, rinse, pop the lid inside and squash the sides to stop the lid falling out.

Stained paper and cardboard cannot be recycled

Paper and cardboard can be easily recycled.

  • Please remove any plastic wrapping and free gifts from newspapers, magazines and flyers and put in your general waste bin.
  • For cardboard boxes such as online delivery boxes, please remove all plastic inserts and polystyrene, as well as packaging tape.
  • Greetings card or wrapping paper with glitter glued on it cannot be recycled and must be placed in your general waste bin.
  • Don’t forget to tear off any badges or batteries before recycling the card too.
  • If the paper or cardboard is heavily stained, these must be placed in your general waste bin.

Place single-use nappies in your general waste bin

Single-use nappies are made from non-recyclable plastic and fibres and cannot be recycled. Please place nappies in your general waste bin. Instead, why not consider cloth nappies? They can be washed and reused!

Clothing must be recycled separately

All clean clothing, textiles and even shoes can be reused or recycled. But they must not be placed in with other recyclable items. Check with your local council to find out if they offer a separate clothing recycling collection. Alternatively you can visit your local bring bank commonly found in supermarket car parks. Ensure you check the list of accepted items as this can vary. Find out how you can love your clothes.

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

Always check with your local council to find a list of items you can recycle at home. There are even more tips on how to recycle items from the bathroom too.