Recycling top tips

Top tips to make sorting your recycling simpler

Stevie, Girlguiding digital team
02 October 2019

Recycling is a great way to help the environment, but it can be confusing to work out what can and can’t be recycled. We asked our Future Girl Acts partner Recycle Now for their top tips.

If it’s plastic and bottle shaped, recycle it

In the UK we only recycle 58% of bottles at home. We can do better! Just empty, crush and replace the lids before recycling. And remember to recycle bleach and detergent bottles too. You can leave the trigger sprays on.

Remember to recycle from the bathroom

It’s important to remember to recycle from the bathroom. If everyone in the UK recycled one toothpaste box, it would save enough energy to run a fridge in over 2,000 homes for a year. Toothpaste boxes, toilet roll tubes, aerosols, shower gel, soap, shampoo and conditioner bottles can all be recycled – just take the pump dispenser off liquid soap bottles first.

Give it a quick rinse

For pots, tubs and trays, just remove the plastic film and give it a quick rinse before recycling. There’s no need to get every spot of food off. Dishwashing them is a step too far, and a waste of energy!

Leave the lid on

When recycling glass, empty the contents and put the lid back on. This includes the metal lids on jam jars and the caps on bottles as glass reprocessors separate them. But don’t put drinking glasses or Pyrex cookware in the recycling as they’re made from different materials which can’t be recycled.

Remove food from card packaging

Remove chunks of food from paper and card packaging before recycling. For example, you can put in the pizza box, just make sure that any food has been removed.

Use the scrunch test

Not sure if a piece of paper can be recycled? Try scrunching it up in your hand. If it doesn’t spring back, then it can be recycled. It’s a good test to use with wrapping paper. And if you’re recycling birthday cards, tear off any glittery bits first.

Give it a quick squish

Give cans and plastic bottles a quick squish - that’ll save room in your recycling bin and make them more efficient to transport. Scrunch foil items loosely together to help them get through the sorting process without getting lost.

If you’re not sure, check

If you’re not sure if, how or where you can recycle an item, visit the Recycle Now Recycling Locator - just put in your postcode to get your answer.

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