The label says its recyclable, so it goes in the recyclables bin. Right?… Wrong!
To find out for sure what you should be putting in your recycling bin go to www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling and click on ‘What to put in your Recycling at home’ then enter your postcode. And remember, reducing and reusing plastics is always better than recycling them.
Almost all plastics are theoretically recoverable and re-useable. But recovery and recycling of any material does not depend on whether the plastic itself is recyclable or what the label says. It depends on whether there is a factory locally that has the capability to recover that plastic and convert it into a form that can be re-used.
In order that your local plastic recovery factory CAN recover waste you must follow the instructions from your local council or waste collector. Usually these can be found as a list on the inside of the lid of your recyclables bin or go online to your local council website where it will be under waste recovery. Do not guess or assume that other items can be recovered by your locally based company. Put everything else into the waste bin. Why?
The UK is not the best or the worst country at recycling plastics. The waste recovery process in the UK is gradually evolving but, at the time of writing, is under the control of local councils. This means that some parts of the country have very basic waste recovery facilities, whereas other parts of the country have more advanced systems. This is the reason why, even in a town nearby, the waste recovery instructions are different from those in your area.
All factories, including those recycling plastics, are equipped to perform certain jobs and require starting materials of a certain type to begin the process. If starting materials are mixed there must usually be a sorting process. This is the situation for plastic recovery factories. Sorting plastics is partly manual and partly automated. At best putting anything into your recyclables bin which is not on your local list causes sorting problems at the recovery factory, increasing the cost and time of recovery. At worst, the factory cannot make a recovery for that load and rejects it to landfill or sends it to another country. This defeats the object of recycling, demotivates factory staff and the enthusiasm of the local council to plan for more recycling facilities.
The more responsible we are, the more efficient our recycling becomes. So, follow the list …Don’t guess!