Recycling week 2023 is here, offering us a unique opportunity to learn, engage, and take meaningful steps towards a greener, cleaner world. To mark the occasion, we've put together a few tips to be the best "recyclers" we can be!

What is national Recycling Week?

National Recycling Week, founded by WRAP (Waste and Resource Action Programme), is an annual event that celebrates and promotes the benefits of recycling. Through advertising campaigns and partnerships with major companies and brands, it encourages increased recycling, fostering positive environmental change.

This year’s theme: The Big Recycling Hunt

This year's theme focuses on missed capture; common household items that are often forgotten and left behind when it comes to being recycled. Items to such as:

  • Plastic pots, tubs, and trays
  • Cleaning and detergent bottles
  • Plastic shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel bottles
  • Aerosols
  • Food cans and tins
Tips to Become a Better Recycler:
1.) No Bags

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, our recycling does not need to be disposed of in bags. Additionally, these bags often clog machinery, disrupting the recycling process and rendering our sustainable sorting efforts less effective. To prevent this, use open bins and containers to clearly indicate to waste disposal workers that the materials are recyclable.

2.) Seriously, no Bags

While it might feel satisfying to repurpose grocery bags for recycling, it's crucial to know that these seemingly harmless actions can have unintended consequences. These bags can break down into harmful microplastics, which can seriously harm wildlife. So, even though many of us assume that these bags are recyclable, it's not as straightforward as tossing them into our curb side recycling bins. Thankfully, certain supermarkets have stepped up and are offering convenient drop-off points for recycling bags. This way, we can make sure they receive the right recycling treatment, making a positive impact on our environment and keeping our furry and feathered friends safe.

3.) Reduce and Reuse Before Recycling

Recycling should be the final stage in the lifecycle of the products we buy. Whilst it is vital for us to make sure that we are recycling responsibly, it is equally important to make sure that the products that we are buying last. By using items more than once and buying less, we conserve resources and energy.

  • When possible, try to purchase refillable and reusable products
  • Avoid using plastic-wrapped packaging
  • Take reusable bags with you to the shops and find new uses for your old packaging
  • Avoid single-use product all together when you can
4.) Check your Labels

Ever found yourself scratching your head over the difference between 'recyclable' and 'widely recycled' on product labels? Well, it happens to the best of us! Take plastic, for instance – some types are technically 'recyclable,' but your local recycling program might give them the cold shoulder because they require special treatment.

When sorting your recycling, check for the 'widely recycled' label and toss those items in your collection bins. It's a small step with a big impact on our planet's health! Follow this link to find out more information regarding recycling labels!

5.) Keep Your Recycling Clean and Dry

Contaminated recyclables, such as items with food remnants and other non-recyclable materials, disrupt sorting and processing efforts. Consequently, food waste often contaminates entire loads of recyclable materials, leading to its unfortunate disposal in landfills.

Next time you're sorting out your recycling, give those packaging labels a good once-over. Make sure you're only tossing items that proudly sport the 'widely recycled' label into your trusty collection bins. It's a small step that makes a big difference in keeping our planet green and clean!

6.) No More Wish-Cycling

We often toss items into the recycling bin, hoping they'll magically transform. While it might be comforting to believe that that neglected book from the past year could find a new purpose, or your old worn-out boots could miraculously find a new life, this practice sadly disrupts recycling processes. this disrupts recycling and costs more for sorting, sometimes sending recyclables to landfills. Commonly 'wish-cycled' items include:

  • Pyrex jugs, Tupperware, and vessels
  • Glass and mirrors
  • Pots, pans & cutlery
  • Sanitary products
  • Pet waste, pet litter and animal bedding
  • Food waste

To avoid this, follow your local recycling program's guidelines and only recycle accepted items.