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Things that you didn't know can (and can't) be recycled!

Things that you didn't know can (and can't) be recycled! - Green Skye

According to the WRAP Recycling Tracker Report 2021, 88% of UK households consider recycling to be an established norm however the study also found that 55% of households misplace items that should be recycled into their general waste and 85% of households contaminate their recycling with items that cannot be recycled.

This is hardly surprising when taking into account the fact that all local councils have different systems which allow for recycling different materials. There is also people's tendency to recycle things when they are unsure if they should, known as ‘wish-cycling’. This list should shine a little light on some surprising things that generally can and can't be recycled with your kerbside recycling.

 REMEMBER to check your local council's recycling website for the exact rules in your area!


Let’s start with some things that you may not have known can be put in your household recycling!

  • Tin foil

As long as it is clean from food scraps, tin foil can be scrunched into a ball and put into your recycling bin. If the ball is too small it may fall through the sorting screens in the sorter so make sure that the ball is either big enough or placed inside a larger metal tin.


  •  Aerosols

Aerosols such as deodorant bottles can usually be recycled at home. Remember to take off the lid first!


  • Cleaning product bottles

Empty bottles can be recycled for example bleach, washing up liquid and even trigger spray bottles with their lid/nozzle still attached. Just rinse them out first.


  • Envelopes with windows

Even in envelopes where the window is made of plastic, the machinery is able to separate it from the paper.


  • Books

Of course unwanted books should be donated, gifted or used in DIY projects but if they are damaged beyond use they can be recycled at home.


  • Metal disposable trays

Disposable trays such as those that sometimes come with a roast chicken can be cleaned of any food residue, scrunched into a ball and recycled like tinfoil.


Items that you may not know shouldn’t be recycled at home


  • Juice cartons

Cartons such as those labelled Tetra-Pak are made from paperboard, foil and plastic and in many places should not be recycled with your kerbside recycling collection (check the website of your local council). Instead, they can be recycled at your closest recycling center.

The caps can always be removed and placed inside a larger piece of plastic waste to prevent them from falling through the screens of the recycling machinery.


  • Soft plastic

Soft plastic packaging such as yoghurt lids, toilet roll wrapping, fruit netting, plastic carrier bags, crisp packets, cereal bags and bread bags cannot be recycled at home but can be collected in a large plastic bag and dropped off at the soft plastic recycling points at large supermarkets.


  • Pizza boxes

You may have heard that pizza boxes should not be recycled because the grease will contaminate the batch. While this is true, the non-greasy lid of the box can be removed and recycled like normal. The entire box, grease and all, may also be composted instead.


  • Plastic straws

While plastic straws technically can be recycled, due to their small diameter they fall through the machinery at the recycling plant and will be put into general waste. They can be put inside something larger.


  • Coat hangers

Coat hangers whether made from plastic, wood or metal should not be recycled at home but may be disposed of at recycling centres.


  • Coffee pods

Coffee pods cannot be recycled at home but check to see if there is a collection point near you.


  • DVDs and CDs

They can usually be placed in the media bin at your local recycling center.


All of this information has been researched thoroughly but each council has an individual list of what they do and do not accept so remember to always check!

Hopefully you have learned something from this post. Either of an item that will no longer contaminate your recycling at home or a material which you never knew could be recycled! No one is perfect but we all just have to do the best that we can.


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