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    Household: 10 Least Recycled Materials

    Divert more materials from the landfill by recycling these items you may not have even known you can recycle!

    "Whilst we should always prioritise ‘reusing’ and ‘repurposing’, recycling properly can be very powerful in diverting items from landfill (which is building up at an alarming rate) and of course, reducing the need for new products to be made from virgin materials. Unfortunately, though, much confusion and inconsistency surrounds recycling – it doesn’t help that each council has its own rules for what they do and do not recycle. This means that there are plenty of items that can be recycled which people don’t know can be recycled and instead are sending to landfill (conversely, there’s plenty of items that people are putting into their recycling bins which they shouldn’t be! Plastic bags and coffee cups, for starters…). Indeed, almost half of all UK households throw away one or more items that could be recycled (source: www.londonrecycles.co.uk)."

    In this article, we hope to help you better navigate the complex but quite amazing world of recycling by sharing ten everyday items that we should be recycling (that we might not know we should be recycling – what a mouthful!)

    1. Wrapping paper

    Wrapping paper can cause confusion, with some people recycling every type of gift wrap and others recycling none at all. In reality, it comes down to what your wrapping is made of. Traditional, simple wrapping paper is absolutely fine to go into your recycling – just remove the sellotape first. However, wrapping paper that’s made of foil, is shiny or contains glitter, isn’t recyclable and needs to go into general waste.


    2. Wine bottle corks

    After you’ve enjoyed the last sip from your bottle of wine, remember to recycle the cork as well as the bottle – just make sure that the cork hasn’t been painted or contains any plastic. It can also go in your garden composter!

    3. Surface cleaner bottle

    Just ensure it’s empty and that you give it a good rinse. Also, remember to replace the spray nozzle and you should be good to go!


    4. Aluminium food tubes (tomato puree, toothpaste)

    Make sure the tube is empty, remove the plastic cap, rinse and simply pop both in the recycling container. Simple.

    5. Envelopes with windows

    Paper goods make up almost a third of the UK’s household waste. That includes envelopes! The good news is that plastic windows are not a problem for paper mills so you can keep these in and put the whole envelope into your recycling bin. Hold on to your jiffy bags though – these are made of composite materials meaning they cannot be recycled.

    6. Tinfoil, foil trays and foil milk bottle tops

    This is such a useful one to know! To properly prepare the tin foil, just rinse or wipe off any crumbs or food residue. Scrunch it up to form a ball – the bigger the ball, the easier it is to recycle.


    7. Non-black plant pots

    Whilst standard black plant pots contain carbon black pigment, non-plastic plant pots are accepted in your standard recycling bin. So now you know which ones to choose next time you’re at your garden centre!

    8. Deodorant aerosols

    Aerosols are made from various types of recyclable metal and contain small plastic and rubber components which are extracted in the recycling process. The main thing to remember here is that they must be empty because if they’re partially full, they’ll be treated as hazardous waste. Don’t crush or flatten them and remove any loose parts such as the lid (these can be recycled too). If everyone in the UK recycled one aluminium deodorant aerosol, enough energy would be saved to run a TV in over 151,000 homes for a year (source:www.recycleforwales.org.uk)

    9. Washing-up liquid bottles

    Empty, rinse them and they’re good to go!

    10. Glass perfume and aftershave bottles 

    Check your bathroom for any empties, give them a quick rinse and drain before placing them in the recycling bin.



    So yes, recycling can be confusing which is hardly surprising given all the different rules – it’s certainly an area the Government needs to make vast improvements. We hope you enjoyed learning about some recyclable products you shouldn’t be leaving out of your recycling bin!

    A Waste-less journey