How to Recycle effectively (and reduce recycling too!)

How to Recycle effectively (and reduce recycling too!)

It is tricky these days to know what you can recycle as it's changing all the time! It's also different for every local authority which can make things even more difficult - but hopefully with this blog post you'll feel better prepared to become your neighbourhood waste recycling champion! 

How to Recycle at home

  1. Find out what you can recycle and make notes!

You can check your local authorities’ website for what can be recycled in your area. Alternatively you can use the RecycleNow website (https://www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling) to find out what can be recycled from home or where the nearest drop off point for your recycling would be.

Once you have this information, it’s important to write it down for everybody in your household! We'd recommend making a poster and placing it either on the recycling bin or above the recycling bin to remind everybody what can and can’t be recycled. It’s also a good idea to put some top tips on this poster on how people in your house could rethink whether an item can be reused before it needs to be recycled.

A woman sorting her recycling waste at home

  1. Hold your local authority accountable

Most of us have household recycling collections – so if you are being missed off the collections list for some reason it’s important to ring them up and figure out why this is happening.

  1. Check the date for when your recycling is due to go out

A calender with a pin in it - save the date!

Recycling collections are different for every local authority so it’s important to check the date on when they’re due to go out! Some recycling collections are also different dates depending on what is being recycled. It’s a good idea to set yourself an e-reminder on a calendar or to use a physical one next to where your bins are to remind yourself

  1. Quick tips on making recycling even easier

Make sure everything is washed and dried out before you need to put them in the recycling.

Keep your recycling bin next to your residual waste bin so that you can take your rubbish and recycling at the same time. We like to make sure the recycling bin is much bigger than the rubbish bin to encourage our households to recycle!

You can also set aside a designated day to do your recycling drop offs – either aligning this as part of your weekly shopping trip or maybe an exercise class you attend. If you struggle to carry things – why not ask a neighbour if they can help.

Top tips to reduce recycling contamination in your home 

Washed out tin food cans

  1. Check your local authority guidance on whether to leave metal caps and lids on glass jars and bottles
  2. Make sure you empty and rinse all your containers to stop food going mouldy on the materials.
  3. Recycle materials from all over the house – including your bathroom! This one is often missed off and shampoo/soap bottles are all recyclable. (But if you’d like to generate even less waste, why not choose a shampoo bar and a soap bar for your body wash instead?) 
    - Shampoo alternatives (https://ecovibe.co.uk/collections/shampoo)
    - Soap alternatives (https://ecovibe.co.uk/collections/soap)
  4. If in doubt, always check before you chuck your recycling out. This is important as contamination can lead to the load of recycling being discarded!

Top tips for reducing recycling & improving reuse!

Onions being propagated in water

  1. Reuse your glass jars and containers – you can use them to organise your desk, contain items in the kitchen and bathroom, store food in the pantry or growing your own herbs!
  2. Reuse your plastic drinks bottles and other plastic containers – It’s time to get creative! We’ve seen some innovative ideas recently like making bird feeders out of old bottles and making dustpans/scoops out of plastic tubs. Make sure to check if your takeaway containers are safe for reuse as they could be used as Tupperware in the kitchen!
  3. Reuse your newspapers, magazines and paper bags – this one is easy! You can use any of these items to wrap up presents for your loved ones – or you can use them to make compostable seed pots!
  4. Reusing clothes, towels and bedding – you never know when you’re going to need them. Any of these items can be made into cleaning rags for your bathroom or kitchen, or if you’re a handy one – upcycle them.
  5. Reusing bathroom items is a tricky one but don’t worry, there’s plenty to be reused! Old toothbrushes have so many purposes beyond cleaning our teeth… for example being used as hair colour applicators or as cleaning tools. They’re great for reaching those hard to clean places!

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