An essential guide to recycling
Can all plastic be recycled?
Recycling has become something of a minefield in recent years and what you can recycle in one part of the country won’t be collected in others.
Campaigners have long been calling for a unified recycling system across the UK, claiming our current ‘postcode lottery on recycling’ – where local authorities differ on the types of waste they collect – is ineffectual and confusing for consumers.
A BBC analysis revealed 39 different sets of rules for what can be put in plastic recycling collections. Whilst there are new plans on how plastic will be recycled in England being put forward by the government, in the rest of the UK the strategy for recycling is a devolved issue.
It’s not just the collection system that’s baffling, but the logos – hands up if you actually know what they mean? For those of you who are feeling confused, here’s our handy guide to recycling logos and what they mean.
There are a staggering 49 types of plastics and hundreds of different varieties within these. To categorise them, the industry has a standard marking code to help you. Each plastic item has a small triangle, numbered 1-7, on the bottom. But not all of them can be recycled. Far from it!
OTHER types of plastics
The remaining 43 plastic types include hard plastic glasses, plastic wrappers, bio-plastics and compostable plastics. None of these have any recycling potential. Yep that’s right. Zip, zilch, zero potential.See our compostable bioplastic guide on how to manage these.
TerraCycle provides specialist recycling schemes for some of those hard to recycle plastics including crisp and snack wrappers, contact lenses, makeup and dog food packets.
Remember, recycling plastic is the only the next best option – much better to refuse to use single-use plastic in the first place!