5 Top Recycling Tips & Tricks
This week is National Recycling Week! The perfect opportunity for us all to remember how we can work together to protect our planet. This year, National Recycling Week’s theme is ‘let’s get real’. The aim is to abolish all misconceptions around recycling and improve our knowledge on the practice as a whole. A particular focus is on avoiding contamination in recyclable materials to help improve the recycling system nationwide.
It’s key for each and every one of us to do our part in creating a more sustainable future. Recycling plays a huge role in that and it’s important we all know how to do so effectively. As we are all becoming increasingly conscious of our impact on the environment and the urgent need to make a change, most of us now recycle regularly. However, did you know there’s such a thing as ‘wishful recycling’? According to the non-profit Sustainable Connections, 25% of what we recycle is not actually recyclable (that’s one in four of the items placed in recycling bins). These mistakes cause contamination and a huge increase in what ends up in landfill. As much as we all want to do the right thing, a lack of education is leading us to sometimes cause more harm than good.
Within this article we will outline a few key recycling tips to help you to be sure you are doing your part correctly.
Sort your items correctly.
This can be tricky, but absolutely vital. Of course when it comes to recycling, there’s the obvious first step; separate your plastics, cardboard and metals. Some items have multiple materials (glass bottles with metal caps for instance) and some items have multiple types of plastic such as milk bottles. More often than not, you can recycle these materials, just not together. Therefore it’s key to remember to separate them correctly. Food and drink packaging also often have plastic labels on. Simply remove these and recycle them separately. Mixing these different types of materials causes contamination and unfortunately leads to all the items being sent to landfill.
Empty, clean and dry your recycling.
This is another absolutely crucial step that is unfortunately often forgotten or skipped. Always be sure to rinse any packaging that has food residue. Not only will dirty items be unrecyclable, but they will also contaminate the other ‘acceptable’ and clean items. Recycling centres don’t have the time or resources to sort through items individually, so they have to throw the whole contaminated bin away.
Before throwing something away, always double-check to see if you can recycle it first. We know it can sometimes be confusing and hard to know for sure what can or can’t be recycled, so don’t be ashamed to turn to Google! There are some items that can’t be recycled at home (like soft plastics and batteries), but there are many recycle centres that you can take these to. Also, don’t forget that donating is a great way to give your old unwanted belongings a new life!
Reuse what you can.
Instead of getting yet another plastic bag when you go shopping, remember to take your own reusable bag! Try to be as imaginative as you can when it comes to reusing your used items. Food jars for example make for great storage or gifts filled with notes.
Encourage others to recycle too.
Now that you’re more aware of how to recycle correctly, be sure to spread the word! If you see a friend putting a dirty yoghurt pot in the bin, give them a gentle nudge to rinse it first. Get your kids involved too – it’s a great idea to get children into the habit of recycling correctly while they’re young. Teaching your children to look after the planet at an early age will have a huge influence on the way they choose to live in the years to come. Perhaps make it a fun game to help encourage them – compete by seeing how many items each family member can recycle correctly each week.
Are you looking to reduce your waste at home? Veggie Saver is a great way to reduce food waste by keeping your veggies fresh for weeks! It’s also plastic and waste free, and is made out of a compostable cotton.