9 Things You Never Knew About Recycling

Being eco-friendly is now more popular than ever, so most people are already quite aware of what they can and can’t recycle. In this article, we’re looking at some of the biggest recycling mistakes that people are making every day and helping you to be more efficient.

1) PET Plastics

So, we all know that plastics can be recycled, but are you aware of the science behind it? During the recycling process, plastics are separated into seven different groups according to their resin content. Depending on the group, the plastic can be recycled into new materials and resources, but some groups are easier to recycle than others.

For example, most bottles are made from PET 1 and 2 resin plastics. Therefore, many councils across the UK ask that citizens recycle ‘bottle-shaped plastics’ to make things easier for people. PET 1 and 2 are strong, resistant to moisture, and largely untainted by troublesome dyes and contaminants that disrupt the recycling process.

Telling people that they can recycle bottle-shaped plastics, however, causes some misunderstandings. People start to wonder why the shape would determine how it is recycled, and then they proceed to put all kinds of plastic types into their local bins. PET 6 and 7 are low-grade plastics which can disrupt local recycling centres, so it is important to understand which numbers you can and cannot recycle if you want to save planet Earth.

If you’re only recycling bottles in your area, then why not start checking your plastic products for the triangle and PET number? You might find that there’s a lot more plastic that you could easily be recycling.

You can read more about the future of plastic recycling on our blog.

plastic bag on the ground

2) CLEAN Cardboard

Paper recycling is very important and helps to save trees – a lot of effort goes into ensuring that it is as simple as possible for people to recycle their unwanted card and junk mail. For example, did you know that you don’t need to remove the plastic window on your envelopes? There are machines at recycling plants that sort that out for you.

On the other hand, people trying to recycle dirty cardboard is a big issue; by contaminating cardboard recycling, entire batches of potentially recyclable material have to be thrown back into general waste.

You’re probably used to walking along your street to the sight of many a recycling box with a pizza box or three thrown in – this is wrong. You should only recycle clean cardboard because greasy cardboard is contaminated and cannot be processed at recycling plants.

3) Your Car

When your car is too old to sell on, you might want to consider recycling it with an ethical, eco-conscious recycling company who will make sure that the precious materials and resources in your car are used to their maximum efficiency. Where possible, it’s best to use a local recycling plant so that you don’t increase your carbon footprint too.

You can speak to us about vehicle recycling if you’re ready to recycle your car, or read all about how you can help the environment by recycling your unwanted vehicles on our blog.

vehicles for recycling

4) Phone Cables and Wires

Your broken phone charging cables and plenty of other wires in your home contain the precious metal copper, so they shouldn’t be thrown in your general waste. Like a lot of electronic waste (e-waste), there isn’t an easy kerbside recycling point for them, so you may have to hold onto them and remember to bring them with you on your next drive to a big recycling centre if you have some bulky items to dispose of.

5) Your Computer

Like charging cables and wires, your computer contains a lot of precious components too; you should be very careful about how you dispose of a computer, not only because you should be recycling but also because you may have sensitive information on there that you don’t want to get into the wrong hands. This means that you should dispose of your computers safely, at a trusted recycling location.

woman with computer

6) Mattresses

A lot of mattress suppliers will do this for you when you’re looking to upgrade your old mattress, which is a huge relief because trying to figure out how to ethically dispose of such a huge item can be quite stressful. Next time you’re buying a new mattress, be sure to check if you can recycle your old one with the supplier.

7) Crayons

While it’s unlikely to be worth the carbon footprint to send them out, you may be pleased to know that there are two different crayon recycling initiatives in America. These programs take those broken bits and ends that are too small to use and remake them into new crayons.

8) TerraCycle

TerraCycle is a company dedicated to recycling all those bits and pieces which aren’t typically recycled. All those low-grade PET 7 plastics that you remorsefully throw in the general waste may be able to find a new home if you can drop them off at one of TerraCycle’s drop off points across the country. It’s a little more effort on your part, but it can be made a lot easier and meaningful if you organise collections in your local area, business or school.

9) Anything (If It’s for an Art Project)

You can recycle anything in the name of art, so keep an eye out to see if any local schools are collecting waste for an art project. Alternatively, why not turn your own waste into something new and fantastic and learn some new skills along the way?

hand holding straws at the beach

Now that you know how you could be recycling better, you should think about encouraging your friends and family to take learning about recycling seriously too. Share your knowledge and help the world to recycle more intelligently and efficiently. If your company produces a lot of scrap metal, then get in touch with us for more information about our metal recycling services.