5 Common Recycling Mistakes People Make & What to Do Instead

More and more consumers are moving towards the practice of recycling. However, some individuals accidentally put non-recyclable items in the recycling bin, devastatingly impacting the process. While we often make mistakes, this doesn’t mean we can’t learn from them. See below some common recycling mistakes and what you can do instead!

Not rinsing out your containers

Often, individuals put unrinsed containers in the recycling bin, which can contaminate the rest of the items. Clean recyclables will always have more value than dirty ones, meaning you should give your materials a quick, simple rinse when possible. They don’t have to be sparkling clean – in fact, you could use the end of the dishwater after washing your dishes to avoid wasting any unnecessary water. You should particularly try to clean plastic since it is shredded in the recycling process rather than melted down like glass and metal.

Trying to recycle greasy pizza boxes

This is a big mistake that most people make, but dirty cardboard takeaway boxes cannot be recycled. Only clean cardboard can be recycled into new cardboard. So, it might be worth cutting the contaminated parts off and putting them in the compost or general waste bin. The clean parts can still be recycled.

Disposing of tissues

While tissues are technically paper, they are already a low-grade form of paper with short fibers, making them inadequate for recycling. Rather than placing them with the recycling, consider putting your kitchen towel, tissues, and toilet paper in the compost bin, general waste bin, or a food waste collection service.

Paper cups
Coffee cups

Many individuals still think that takeaway coffee cups are recyclable, but in most cases, this isn’t true. Paper cups are frequently lined with plastic and have a lid made of another material, such as non-expanded polystyrene. The non-recyclable lid is typically not separated from the rest of the cup and is often dirtied with coffee.

Assumptions of bioplastic containers

These containers are constructed from plants – but this doesn’t make them fully recyclable. Marketing material will often say that this material is both recyclable and compostable. While it may be theoretically recyclable, it is tricky to tell bioplastics and ordinary plastics apart when they are mixed up together. The majority of waste sorting facilities don’t have the technology to tell them apart, meaning that when bioplastic gets mixed with regular plastic, it begins to degrade, undermining the integrity of the recycled product.

Carboard boxes
Key Takeaways
  • Firstly, you need to pay more attention to recycling than you may have initially thought. There are so many mistakes to make that the purpose of recycling is often defeated accidentally.
  • Secondly, it’s evident that education is essential in the recycling process. Without the proper knowledge, most individuals often try recycling things incorrectly, which is ineffective when it comes to saving our environment.
  • Thirdly, any individual has the capacity to make a big difference to our planet. By taking on the correct recycling practices, you have the power to positively impact our world today!