Reducing and Reusing can make a big difference to the amount of waste we create, but there will still be waste left over. The good news, though, is that much of that waste can be recycled via your blue bin.
So, what exactly can go in?
Paper and cardboard
The fibres in paper shorten every time it is recycled. So, office paper and glossy magazines can be recycled into newsprint, which in turn can be reformed into toilet tissue.
Plastic food containers such as milk cartons are made from virgin plastics. These can be recycled to form “plastic laminates” which can be used in a number of ways such as the manufacture of thermal fleeces or carpets.
We’ve been recycling glass for years; it’s a durable product which can be melted down, re-blown and reused over and over. It is best to sort glass into similar colours before it is reformed.
Like glass, metals can be melted and reformed multiple times. A metal drinks can could end up being recycled for car production and the car could, in turn, be recycled and used to produce other food or drinks cans. Both ferrous and non-ferrous metals can be recycled.
Small electrical appliances
Every year in the UK we throw away around eight million tonnes of unused food, a habit which costs each family over £600. Much of that waste can be avoided by smarter shopping, but things such as egg shells, tea bags and banana skins are unavoidable. Instead of disposing of them as landfill though we can turn them into compost or fertliser with a host of valuable domestic and commercial uses.
There’s much we can do to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and if everyone helped it would have a huge impact on the amount of waste we produce. Unfortunately, it isn’t physically possible or practical to recycle everything. We can, however, turn much of the remaining waste into something useful.