Recycling - How To? Getting Started …
In order for recyclable materials to be recovered, recycled and re-used, it is necessary to separate them from the rest of the rubbish and drop them off in recycling banks to be collected, washed and reprocessed. But before getting started with recycling, it is crucial to know which materials can be recycled and how to sort them.
Below is a list of recyclable waste materials/products according to categories in which they are typically sorted.
Paper and Cardboard
Paper and cardboard account for about one third of all the waste produced in the UK. But the good news is that paper and cardboard, both of which are made from wood pulp, can be recycled and reused. Paper and cardboard recycling reduces the pressure on the landfills but it also helps save the world’s forest.
Almost all kinds of paper and cardboard can be recycled including:
- newspaper, magazines, unwanted mail, envelopes and all cardboard packaging
Exceptions: dirty paper towels, plates and napkins which, however, don’t have to end up in rubbish bin. Instead, they can be added to compost.
Glass is made of different kinds of sand that is heated to extremely high temperatures. Recycling glass is very important because it requires a lot less energy than producing it from sand. And it can be recycled over and over again. For that reason, we should collect:
- glass jars, bottles and containers (without caps and lids); all must be rinsed/washed
Exceptions: Pyrex (toughened glass used for cooking on high temperatures), window panels and ornamental/decorative glassware
Anything that is made from metal such as steel, tin, aluminium, iron, copper, etc. can be recycled. And it should be recycled because metals aren’t available in endless amounts, while their extraction from natural deposits is very damaging for the environment. So be sure to pay attention to metal waste products including:
- bottle tops, lids, food tins and cans, aluminium foil etc. but remember that all should be washed to prevent odour and mould growth
Plastic is a huge environmental problem because it doesn’t break down for thousands of years. Also, most plastic products are very light and are easily carried by the wind. And those that end up in rivers and oceans are a serious threat to marine life. To reduce pollution and environmental damage caused by plastic, most plastic items are collected and recycled:
- plastic packaging, bottles - including those holding shampoos, cleaning products, milk, etc. under condition that they are rinsed/washed
Examples: toys, plastic furniture, disposable nappies
Organic waste encompasses all bio-degradable materials such as food leftovers, all garden plants, flowers, etc. Instead of being thrown away, they can be used for composting. Not only does composting save money but it also reduces the need for peat-based fertilisers and helps preserve the endangered peat bogs.
Other common household products that should also be separated from the rest of waste include:
- shoes and clothing
- domestic batteries
- engine oil
- paints, unused cleaning products and other hazardous/toxic waste
- light bulbs
Some of these are recycled, some donated and some disposed in the least environmentally-harmful way.