Rinse out your containers
Just putting your recycling in the right bin doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re preventing your waste from going to landfill.
Contaminated containers will be diverted away from their destined recycling centre and straight back into general waste. This is because plastic, tin and card need to be as pure as possible in order for them to be reabsorbed and made back into a usable product.
Once you get into the habit of rinsing out your containers, it will feel like no trouble at all – after all, we already wash up all of our own crockery!
Squash Plastic Bottles
Once you’ve rinsed any plastic bottles including: detergent, drinks or cosmetic give them a good squish and replace the lid (make sure there’s no excess water left).
This is because it makes it easier for recycling centres to compact without the bottle popping back into place. The lids can be recycled alongside the bottles, and any excess water may cause the bottle to weigh more than expected and therefore be diverted.
Again, this takes no time at all and will also give you more space in your precious recycling bin, especially this time of year when waste tends to be higher!
If the waste you’re throwing away is too small, it won’t make it to the recycling as it’ll fall through sorting. This means old kitchen towels or shredded paper are a no-no for the recycling centre.
The good news is, these things make great additions to your home compost!
When you’re throwing wrapping paper, envelopes and cards away this Christmas also be mindful of removing cellotape, envelope windows or any metallic/glossy elements before recycling. Please note that not all wrapping paper can be recycled – make sure that it passes the ‘crinkle test’ scrunch it up into a ball, and if it doesn’t bounce back, you can recycle it. If it does, why not save it to use next year?
Aluminium caps off the top of cans, small bits of foil and foil trays can also be recycled. If they’re too small, why not collect them all together and put them in a tin can before recycling? Make sure to crunch the tops down so the bits don’t fall out!
Some Things Can’t Be Recycled At Home
It’s a sad truth that a lot of items can’t be recycled in your local bins, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still recycle them somewhere!
Plastic bags, for example, can’t go in your general plastic recycling and shouldn’t be used to bag up recycling waste (they can’t be recycled and so will send the whole lot to landfill!). However, many large supermarket chains offer a recycling scheme for these bags, and so collect them up and drop them off next time you’re doing a shop! Better yet, avoid collecting plastic bags by carrying around a reusable bag, or bags for life…
Crisp packets are another culprit in the non-recycling crew. Yet again, there is a solution for this! Terracycle offers recycling centres for exactly this waste. So collect them up and make a one off trip to drop them off. Find your nearest centre here.
Batteries are also likely to be in a higher rotation this time of year, make sure you collect all old batteries to drop off at your local supermarket recycling station. Why not do it in the same trip as your plastic bags?
If your old clothes are in good enough nick, shoot them down to your local charity store. If they’re looking a little sorry for themselves, your local recycling plant is more than likely collecting textiles for recycling, bundle them down there! Or follow the Goupie Blog for was to reuse your own textiles…
Finally, Tetrapak containers! If you’re regularly getting through cartons of oat milk, it’s worth noting that Tetrapak containers can’t be recycled in all local collections. However, we’ve recently noticed that Tesco is providing bins for these, and other compound materials, such as Pringles cans. They also make excellent plant pots for growing seedlings!
Some Things Can Be Recycled
There are certain products which leave us uncertain as to which bin they should end up in.
Aerosols are often subject to confusion, but these can be popped in your recycling once completely empty!
Goupie Boxes and Goupie Tins are not usually the source of confusion, but just to confirm to everyone, these are fully recyclable! Your Goupie bags are compostable, so pop these in your compost at home or in your food waste collection.
We don’t want to go on and on, because there’s plenty of things we can all be doing to improve our waste management. The important thing to do is be mindful, and take that extra time to stop and think – what else can I do with this? Of course, the best way to reduce waste is to alter your buying habits – but it’s Christmas so we think that’s for another time…
Have a good one! x
N.B. We want to reiterate that we don’t have all the answers, and if you think we’ve missed anything major or gotten anything wrong, please do get in touch! We’re always up for learning and improving.