Is your recycling actually being recycled?
When we fill up your recycling bins, we assume that the contents will be recycled. But worryingly, that isn’t always the case. The amount of household rubbish being rejected for recycling in England has increased by 84% over the past four years, so what’s going wrong?
Why is our recycling not being recycled?
Contamination. Recycling which is contaminated causes a big problem for the recycling facilities. Contamination is created when the wrong items are put into the recycling bin (e.g. nappies) or when the right items are prepared in the wrong way (e.g. food left in unwashed containers).
Why is contamination so bad?
When the recycling arrives at the recycling facility and the plastic is contaminated with food waste, it is likely to be rejected. If this is the case, then the whole load is sent to landfill or is burnt. The cost to local authorities of re-sorting contaminated recycle bins is said to be the main reason the vast majority of the waste is being rejected. According to Recycle Now, contamination in recycling can lead to entire lorries full of material being tossed into landfill. A staggering 500,000 tonnes of contaminated recyclables were dumped in landfill by UK councils last year.
Top tips: What can I do to make sure my plastics end up being recycled?
- Rinse items thoroughly before putting in your recycling bin
- For mixed recycling, make sure the other items aren’t contaminated with food
- Crush or fold large items before putting in your recycling bin
- Use the correct bin liners/containers/bins for recycling in your county. For example, London residents must use clear sacks provided by the council, otherwise loaders will refuse to collect it
- It’s best to check your individual council's policy as they vary. It’s best to check and find out yours here: https://www.recyclenow.com
The good news: Recycling plastic bottles is easy
There are many different types of plastics out there, and we don’t know them all, but we do know that our Hydrate Direct bottles are made from PET 1 which is the easiest type of plastic to recycle. Bottles are the most profitable for recycling companies, especially clear ones, which is why almost all councils recycle them - win! What is more, plastic bottles generally run a low risk of becoming contaminated (just make sure the rest of your recycling is clean).
The even better news
Our new Hydrate Direct 15 Litre Spring Water bottle is made from 30% less plastic than our previous bottle, and it is specially designed to be easily crushed down with your foot ready for recycling. The bottles are made from PET 1 which means they are widely recycled nationwide.
We hope this helps for the next time you put something in your recycling bin!