5 Things You Thought Were Recyclable, That Aren't...

Posted by Emily Thomson on

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(The Big No No’s In Recycling)

8 out of 10 UK residents believe recycling makes a difference, research from the British Science Association (BSA) shows. Recycling might seem to be a straightforward system, yet when quizzed on exactly what items can go into their recycling bins, none of the 2,000 adult Brits surveyed got full marks.

Not all plastic, glass, and paper can actually be recycled in an equal manner and our mistakes can be very costly for our environment, wild life and can result in wasted council tax money.

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Here are 5 commonly mistaken non-recyclable items that you need to avoid putting in your recycling bin:

  • Brightly dyed paper since the coloured ink can actually leak and change the other items’ colour.
  • Paper towels and napkins are deemed unsuitable in the process of recycling since these can absorb some contaminants.
  • Cardboard containers coated with wax and juice boxes – Usually these do not have the mark of being recyclable, you should not recycle them at all.
  • Plastic bottle tops – Even though you can recycle plastic bottles, the tops are not regarded as appropriate for recycling.
  • Wet paper is also not recyclable due to the damage to fibres and possible contaminants.

Do You know of any other items that are commonly believed to be recyclable but actually aren't?

Let us know in the comments below ⬇️

Remember: Reusing is better than Recycling. Please choose Reusables whenever possible ✅


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  • Black plastic is thought to be recycled here in Bristol, but it isn’t.

    My cousin said shopping plastic carrier bags & polythene bags used on various bread & cake items are recycled at Asda stores.

    Kath on

  • The recycling center told us to leave caps on plastic and glass bottles.
    To send all food plastic except black.

    Susan Davies on

  • Wow, enlightening and distressing! Clearly manufacturers aren’t very good at producing paper and plastic products that can be recycled at all. Refuse and re-use need to be the main channels to look after our planet.

    Liz Wright on

  • My council promotes recycling of the juice cartons (Tetra pak) within our paper and cardboard kerbside recycling scheme (& we also have recycle banks for these). We are also told to leave the tops on bottles that are recycled.
    It’s so confusing as to what can and can’t be recycled. We really want to do our bit. It would be much more effective if there were clear guidelines set out for one and all to follow.

    Helen Clark on

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