home recycling box with plastic recyclables

Top Recycling Mistakes In The UK

Sustainability and recycling are two major concerns of ours here at Cardiff and Caerphilly Skip Hire. We think it is one of the main reasons why our customers choose to use us when the time comes to hire their skip; we recycle as much as we possibly can from all our collected waste, and even have our own dedicated processing facilities on site. Many people have confusion about recycling, so we thought the logical next step would be to highlight some of the most common misconceptions about certain recycled materials.

What Cannot Be Recycled?

There is a certain school of thought when it comes to recycling: when unsure whether an individual item can be recycled, there are lots of people who will simply put it in their best guess of recycling category and cross fingers that it will be dealt with. Personally, we think it is not a bad way to go in principle – after all, it is best to at least try! The following types of items are prime candidates for this sort of scenario and are often put in for recycling by well-intentioned members of the general public. Unfortunately, there are various reasons why they cannot be recycled.

Recyclable Materials

Black and dark plastic – The actual colouring of this type of plastic is the main reason why it cannot be recycled. Basically, the dark colouring is due to the type of pigments used, and these same pigments make it very difficult for automated recycling machines to identify and sort plastic using standard systems. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to fix this, besides simply doing your best to avoid using black plastic products.

Dirty plastic or cardboard – Cardboard takeaway boxes are one example of this type of item, and they are frequently put in for recycling. However, most councils will only accept plastic and cardboard that is clean and unsoiled in order for it to be processed and turned into new products, so any type of food packaging that is still stained with food or grease will often be put in for landfill.

Miscellaneous plastic products – You probably knew some form of this point was coming – after all, plastic is notoriously hard to process! Amongst the products that can’t be recycled are:

  • Hummus pots
  • Soup pots
  • Yoghurt pots
  • Fruit and vegetable punnets
  • Takeaway containers
  • Tetra packs

If you have not heard of a tetra pack before, chances are that you are using them far more than you think. Essentially, they are composite forms of food packaging, for example like the kind you would find protecting takeaway sandwiches. The mixture of materials used often prevents them from being suitable for recycling.

What Can Be Recycled?

The happy flipside to these above misconceptions is that there are, several household items that can be recycled, contrary to what most people think. These do include:

Empty deodorant cans, aerosols and hairspray – Though these are widely believed to be un-recyclable, in reality there are a surprising number of councils and public services who will accept them, as long as they are completely empty. Thankfully it is normally not tricky to tell when this is: just hold down the appropriate button, and once they have stopped hissing, it is a good sign that they are empty and that you can properly recycle them.

Bleach Bottles And Trigger Cleaners!

The word ‘bleach’ obviously does not have good connotations when it comes to environmental concerns, but while the substance itself can indeed be powerfully harmful if misused, the plastic bottles themselves are OK for recycling in many circumstances. Again, this applies mainly if they are completely empty (and you may want to rinse them out too, just to be doubly sure). The same goes for surface and window cleaners.

Foiled Again!

This one needs a bit of care and thought, to make sure you do not fall afoul of the ‘no soiled substances’ rule that we mentioned above. But as long as there is no food remains, fats or oils hanging off the metal surfaces, in the vast majority of cases they are fine to be recycled and processed into new products further down the line.

Cardiff Skip Hire

If the post has not listed the item you are curious about, or you have still got any questions, you can always ask one of our friendly experts when it comes to the hire your skip.

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