How To Recycle: Your Questions Answered

sustainable living
How To Recycle: Your Questions Answered
How To Recycle: Your Questions Answered

We chatted with Adam Harriott, waste expert from WRAP UK, about the plastic waste issue. Keep reading to learn how to recycle better.

Psst! You can read the full interview here.


💦 Do we need to rinse out our plastic recyclables?

If anything's got food waste on it, then give it a rinse. You don’t need to get your washing up gloves out or put it in the dishwasher — simply give it a quick rinse. If you've been washing up, you can use the dirty dishwater. Rinse takeaway and ready meal containers and anything else likely to contaminate other material. Film is inflexible, so it is a difficult one because they're so light.

🍶 Should we keep bottle tops and lids on things when we recycle them?

Yes, you should as they get captured and recycled that way.

🐄 Can we recycle a yoghurt pot?

On the whole, yes, but check with your local authority.

🪥 Can we recycle a toothpaste tube?

Yes and no. There's a lot of changes going on in terms of toothpaste tubes. Traditionally, they've been a multi-layer mixed laminate type format which isn't recyclable, but the vast majority now is mono-material. Single polymer, like fully ethylene, can be recycled. We're doing work at the moment with local authorities to make sure that they accept them. Yes, they are recyclable, but they might not be collected by your local authority at the moment, but that may change soon.

🍴 Can we recycle a plastic fork?

No. One, the polymer is probably made out polystyrene which isn't a recyclable plastic. And two, it's too small so it will just fall out the system effectively. It won't get recycled.

🥩 Can we recycle a minced meat tray?

Yes, but take the film to front of store collection.

☀️ What about a nearly empty bottle of suntan lotion?

No, because the liquid will contaminate. Make sure to rinse it out!

🍊 How to recycle an orange juice carton?

Cartons are a strange one because they are predominantly fibre. It depends on the type of cartons you get (one has foil on it and one doesn't). They've got three types of materials (fibre, plastic and foil) and there will be six to seven layers, which means they're very difficult to separate from the majority. 
Collection wise, about 66% of local authorities collect kerbside, but that's not enough to be deemed as recyclable. Other local authorities don't offer kerbside collections, might often bring back collections. So, the best thing to do is check with your local authority.

☕ How to recycle a coffee cup?

Don't put in your recycling bin at home, but some coffee shops now offer a take back — they will recycle your old coffee cup for you.

For more info, visit Recycle Now.

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