10 proactive ways to recycle your waste better

By HarperLees

A recent article by Lets Recycle makes for stark reading. It points to recent comments by the National Infrastructure Commission in which it warned “urgent action” is now needed to increase recycling rates.

The commission, which provides advice to the UK government on Britain’s infrastructure, said the nation’s municipal waste recycling rate was far too low, with “not enough action on the ground”. It also revealed that waste emissions had risen 15% since the mid-2010s while recycling rates have stagnated.

As March is the month of Global Recycling Day, you may already be wondering whether you could do more to improve how you recycle. If you are, find out about 10 great ways to achieve it.

1. Wash everything you put in the recycling bin

Ensuring you wash items you put in the recycling is important as your whole batch may be rejected if you don’t. If you cannot clean the item, then it’s best not to put it into the recycling.

For example, a cardboard pizza box thick with grease should not go into the recycling. If the bottom half is too greasy but the top half is clean, think about tearing the box and recycling the cleaner top half. You could then put the greasy half into the compost bin.

2. Recycle when you’re not at home

Whether you’re at work or on a day trip, don’t stop recycling just because you’re not at home.

Recycling is important no matter where you are, and wherever you are in the UK there’s likely to be somewhere you can recycle your rubbish. If you can’t, consider taking your waste home and putting it in your own recycling.

3. Check what can be recycled

Recycling isn’t as straightforward as it may seem, as different packaging may or may not be accepted. For example, Tetra Pak milk cartons can’t always be recycled with regular cardboard, and some types of plastic food trays will not be accepted for recycling.

This means that understanding what packaging will be taken away for recycling, and what’s accepted by your local authority, is important. For example, something that is marked “widely recycled” may not be accepted by your council.

4. Don’t put shredded paper in your recycling

While it’s now possible to process shredded paper, doing so can be detrimental to the quality of recycled paper. Leaving paper intact when you put it in the recycling bin is typically the better option, although never include papers that have sensitive or personal information on them.

5. Consider recycled goods when shopping

Buying recycled goods means there is no need to use virgin materials and increases demand for recycled products. This can help close the recycling loop and encourage others to do the same.

Another way you could consider recycling when shopping is to think about the packaging. For example, opt for the tomatoes that come in cardboard packaging as opposed to non-recyclable plastic film.

When shopping for clothes and other household essentials, look for items that can be reused rather than single-use alternatives.

6. Reduce the waste you create

Instead of throwing goods out and buying replacements, consider fixing or repairing them. This might include sewing up any holes in clothes or repairing more straightforward electrical goods.

Another way to reduce waste is to find new uses for them, such as takeaway containers being used as storage containers or a sandwich box. Alternatively, consider donating them to someone who can use them. Charity shops, friends and family may be extremely grateful for items you no longer use.

7. Recycle electronic goods

Check whether your local electronic store has recycling options. As some manufacturers accept unwanted items that can be refurbished or used for parts, you might be able to recycle certain electronic goods.

8. If in doubt, leave it out

In today’s world of mixed recycling, it’s understandable to assume things can be recycled when, in fact, they can’t. This might lead to the wrong materials being found among your recycling, which could mean the whole batch is rejected.

Always err on the side of caution, so if you’re uncertain don’t drop an item into the recycling.

9. Teach your children or grandchildren to recycle

Helping the younger members of your family understand the importance of recycling could help ensure they go through life reducing waste. If they are too young to understand, you could get them into the habit of recycling by making it fun for them.

One way to do this is to place different coloured bins around the house and create a game where they have to get the waste item into the correct bin.

10. Be crafty with your waste

Younger family members may enjoy making models out of recyclable materials that are appropriate for them to use. Paper tubes and boxes can keep a youngster entertained for ages, so keep them somewhere to use when they’re looking for something fun to do.

You might also want to see if there’s an artist near you who uses recyclable materials and make contact to see if they’d be interested in your leftovers.

Get in touch

We hope you found this blog helpful if you’re looking for ways to improve your recycling. If you would like to discuss your investments or wealth strategy, please email us at info@harperlees.co.uk or call 01277 350560.