There is a lot of confusion over recycling and not surprisingly. There isn’t one universal sign for plastic or even just recycling. Just because you put something in the recycling bin it doesn’t mean it will get recycled. This can be because the item is contaminated such as food still on plastic, the item isn’t recyclable or labels are still on the bottle. What can we to try ensure our recycling is actually recycled? Understanding the symbols is a step towards helping our recycling systems work better.
Recycling symbols meaning:
So far so good? The two recycling symbols we are all most familiar with. A small difference but it can cause confusion. What about the rest?
Essentially you can recycle plastic with the numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5. If you can remember to recycle these four numbers you’ve got the hard bit understood. You may have to check your local recycling services as they may not accept every one even if they are recycled. If the Mobius Loop is on the packaging though you can recycle this. In the UK though this is distinguished on packaging.
UK recycling symbols:
You can check your local council’s website to find out what can and can’t be recycled. There are many items contained in our packaging that can be recycled everywhere such as paper and cardboard.
Mixed recycling, what do I do?
It is more than likely the items we buy now won’t be just one type of packaging. Cardboard, plastic bottle, plastic film and the rest. So what can we do to best separate our recycling to give it the best chance of actually being reused?
- Separate materials.
- Read labelling.
- Peel labels off bottles such as Pepsi bottles.
- Wash food off packaging.
- Check your local council’s website.
Why do we need to recycle correctly? Because if we don’t it won’t get recycled. People won’t be hired to strip off labels, wash sauces out of bottles or pull apart waste. It is too time consuming and the volume is overwhelming. It will likely get shipped to other parts of the world (increasing greenhouse gas emissions too) who can’t handle the influx of waste. The poorest nations are the ones who suffer or waste will be dumped illeagally. Plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade which means near enough every piece of plastic created is still with us.
What One Change Now will you make? Do you have any tips to add or do you still have questions. Leave a comment and myself or one of the environmental community will reply. We’re all in the together.