The surprising things that you can’t recycle and how it is causing a real problem
Figures released this week by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs revealed that for the first time the percentage of household waste being recycled has declined. With the government aiming to increase recycling levels to 50% by 2020 this step backwards is an unwanted set back. One of the leadings causes for this is contamination causing entire lorry-loads of recyclables to be rejected.
Figures released this week by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs revealed that for the first time the percentage of household waste being recycled has declined. With the government aiming to increase recycling levels to 50% by 2020 this step backwards is an unwanted set back.
Reasons Recycling is declining
There are two main reasons why recycling is declining, confusion and contamination. Biffa Municipal's managing director Roger Edwards said "Contamination can cause entire lorry-loads of recyclables to be rejected, at high cost to already-stretched councils." By not correctly washing out your milk bottles or Coke cans you could be responsible for whole lorries full of recyclable material being dumped in landfills or burnt in incinerators. Many U.K residents are unaware of what they can and can’t recycle. Add to this the fact that most local councils have different recycling policies and will accept or reject different materials you can see why so many people are confused.
David Palmer-Jones, chief executive of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK has been the leading voice in calling for change. He is calling for a “polluter pays” policy which would see manufacturers taxed according to the amount of non-recyclable materials used in consumer goods with the cost being passed onto the customer. Palmer-Jones claims that "The tax would help pay for better household collection of recyclables and help address the huge funding challenge that local government faces."
Aidan Bell Director of EnviroBuild believes that "the current recycling system is unnecessarily complicated and is causing an important service to fail." He agrees that "changes needed to be made to make the system simpler and wants to see a blanket policy across the whole country."
Test your recycling Knowledge
|Crisp Packets||Polystyrene||Paper plates||Coloured glass||Kitchen foil||Kitchen foil|
|Kitchen Roll||Tins||Shampoo Bottles||Fruit Punnets||Pizza Boxes||Newspapers|
Things you can recycle *
- Paper: cardboard boxes, newspapers, magazines, envelopes, junk mail, food and drink cartons including Tetra Pak
- Plastic: margarine and ice cream tubs, yogurt pots, fruit punnets and ready meal trays
- Bottles: drink, shampoo and detergent bottles
- Tins and cans: both steel and aluminium, as well as aerosols
- Kitchen foil and foil trays
- Glass: all colours but no broken glass or ovenware
* Always double check your individual council's policy, as they can vary
Things you can't recycle
- Tissue and kitchen roll
- Plastic wrap, cling film, bubble wrap and plastic bags
- Coffee cups
- Plastic and paper contaminated with food - including grease-stained pizza boxes and paper food plates
- Crisp packets and sweet wrappers
- Soft plastic / metallic packaging like pet food pouches
At EnviroBuild we focus on only using recycled products, from our little fastener clips to our 4m decking boards. One of the products which is particularly interesting is our Manticore Plastic Lumber which is made from 100% recycled plastic. It is made from plastics which are traditionally very hard to recycle and therefore end up in landfills. They use plastics such as HDPE, LDPE, PET, PVC and polypropylene to form a non-absorbing and weather proof material that has a lifetime that lasts over a millennia that can be used in a variety of construction and DIY scenarios.
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