Recycling Myths Debunked
Recycling Myths Debunked
It was reported that truckloads of recycling were going to landfill because the recycling was wrongly separated. The public blamed poor government advice, council staff blamed inadequate resources and the EU target for the UK to recycle at least 50% of household waste by 2020 suffered a poor start. As is the case, media outlets and the public poured out different tales of bad government practice and various myths were born.
In many households, the habit of separating recycling waste streams is turning more into a compulsion, due to a myth that commingled waste streams can’t be recycled, and therefore just ends up being sent to landfill. In fact, commingled waste (which is just a term for waste streams which are mixed together), is collected by ReGen Waste from councils across the UK and Ireland and taken to our purpose-built materials recovery facility in Newry to be sorted by manual, automated and mechanical processes to ensure the maximum amount of recyclable materials are recovered.
What has become more challenging is reducing the amount of contamination in these waste streams, however with continual improvements in education around this area and technology available to improve current processes, this problem area is slowly being addressed.
What other recycling myths do you currently believe? Here are a few of the most common recycling myths we’ve heard recently, and how they are quashed.
So much paper, so much advice, so little consistency. Here we want to look at a few dos and don’ts, starting with the big issue. Magazines, newspapers and coloured paper are all good, they can be recycled. For some reason, a lot of people think coloured, dyed or printed paper is not a recyclable, in fact 100% of UK newspapers are printed on recycled newspapers. Greasy pizza boxes, used nappies and wet wipes are all nos. It is true that you can recycle a pizza box, however once it’s had some delicious, greasy pizza inside it cannot be recycled as the cardboard has become contaminated with food residue. The same rule applies for kitchen roll, however unless you use the inner cardboard tube to make space ships, it can be recycled.
A squashed plastic bottle…… CAN be recycled. For some reason, confused people went online to state that squashed plastic bottles cannot be recycled. This is not true, in fact you should squash the air from a bottle and put the lid back on to make more room in your recycling bin.
At present, the UK fails to recycle 16,000,000 (yes 16 million) bottles per day. Part of the problem is that some people believe bleach/shampoo/food bottles are non-recyclable. This is simply not true - containers like sauce bottles simply need to be rinsed out before adding them to your recyclables. This advice remains true for cosmetic bottles and jars too – just imagine all the additional containers you can recycle now.
Cans can be recycled, as are many food aand drinks tins and they are usually labelled to inform you of this. On the other hand, pots and pans in the kitchen are not for recycling. Often, they are made from multiple materials fused together. In this case you should take them to a local council facility. Despite the fact that cutlery is largely metal, you must follow the same rule as pots and pans. If you are recycling tins, cans and biscuit tins please take a second to ensure they are empty – get rid of any food residue in them reduce the risk of contamination. Check labels carefully and follow local council guidelines for any other household products whose recycling status you’re not sure about.