Common recycling mistakes that are still being made

Many people are now making the effort to recycle. The effort that goes into recycling, however, for many people involves putting something into a different coloured bin. That’s the extent of the thought that goes into it. Once it’s gone, it’s not thought about again.

The issue is that recycling isn’t quite as simple as that. With that in mind, here are several common mistakes that homes and businesses make when they recycle.

Dark plastic

It may seem unusual, but dark coloured plastics aren’t actually suitable for recycling. This is because most recycling services use optical sorting systems, which can’t handle the carbon pigments that are used in dark coloured plastic.

This doesn’t just mean black plastic should be avoided. Ideally, all dark coloured plastic should be used in as much moderation as possible.

Not rinsing

All recyclable waste which has had any contact with food must be rinsed thoroughly. It’s not good enough to just jam it under the tap for a few seconds – you must ensure the packaging is clean. Not only can it cause the recycling bin to smell, but it can also taint other recyclable materials.

If you can’t get the container completely clean, it’s better to simply throw it away in the normal rubbish rather than contaminate a larger selection of otherwise recyclable packaging.

Compostable does not mean recyclable

Anything that carries a ‘compostable’ label is not something that you should be putting into your recycle bin – it’s not designed for food waste. It’s much better to put this into a dedicated composting bin in your garden if possible, or your food waste collection bin.

Again, remember how easy it is to contaminate the entire bag of recycling with just one item of food. No leftovers should be put in your recycling bin under any circumstances.

Check your guidelines

You should get in contact with your local authority to establish what sort of materials they are willing to accept as recycling and not.

Clearing up the regulations involving glass recycling Bristol residents have to abide by, for example, ensures you’re always recycling the proper materials.

Photo: Recycling by memespring licensed under Creative commons 5
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