We often feel happy with ourselves for recycling, thinking we are ‘doing our bit’ for the environment but many will be surprised to find out that much of what we throw away doesn’t end up being recycled at all.
Tonnes of materials wrongly end up in landfill because people aren’t aware of how to recycle properly, causing bags of recycling to be rejected due to cross-contamination.
From greasy pizza boxes, to crisp packets and tissue paper – so many common household items are believed to be recyclable, but actually aren’t if they are in a certain condition.
Our recycling experts here at Junk Hunters have put together a helpful list of recycling mistakes to avoid to stop unnecessary bags going to landfill:
Glittery gift wrap and wallpaper
Paper is often assumed to be recyclable in all forms, but this isn’t the case. Shiny, metallic or glittery wrapping paper and wallpaper cannot be recycled due to the non-paper additives in the coating – plain unmarked paper is fine.
Soiled wipes, toilet and kitchen roll
Any type of wipe – wet wipes, baby wipes and cosmetic wipes are not recyclable and they’re not flushable either – they should go in the general waste bin.
Kitchen and toilet roll is recyclable if unsoiled and the cardboard tube in the middle of the roll is fine to recycle too.
Pizza boxes are inevitably greasy, even if you scrape off the any discarded toppings, and the boxes can’t be recycled in this state so it’s not worth putting them in with the rest of the cardboard – the bag will be rejected.
Crisp packets are often mistaken for foil, but in fact it’s just a form of metallised plastic that isn’t recyclable at all.
Batteries are a recycling bug-bear and shouldn’t be in the general waste let alone in any form of recycling. They contain lots of harmful metals that can seep into soil and water when put in landfill. Check with your local council about your nearest battery collection point – lots of supermarkets have them.
Polystyrene shouldn’t go in any type of recycling bin. But check with your local council and see if it can be accepted at a recycling centre near you.
Light bulbs contain metal and can’t be recycled along with other glass jars and bottles – most energy efficient types can be taken to recycling centres, but incandescent ones can just go in general waste.