Are you recycling wrong?

The expression “every day is a school day” often springs to mind when we find out something new, or find out we were wrong about something. Repak in Ireland are currently running a social media campaign with tips and information on how & what to recycle. As we’ve learned some new things we decided to investigate if there were other wrong or outdated recycling tips we’d been using.

If you’re based somewhere other than Ireland please check local information as it may differ.

Plastic bottles for recyclingLids and labels need to be removed: Mostly False

You don’t need to remove labels or lids from plastic containers. Repak actually ask that you replace lids before recycling.

For glass items, metal lids can be left on or removed. However, plastic lids should be removed and placed in your recycling bin. Corks, plastic corks and pumps go in general waste.

You don’t need to wash items for recycling as they will be washed at the recycling plant: False

You should rinse out items for recycling and let them dry before placing them in your recycling bin. As mentioned above, replace the lid beforehand. The reason? Dirty items can contaminate other items like paper and cardboard, meaning they can’t be recycled. Remember the phrase Clean, Dry and Loose and you won’t go far wrong. Items need to be loose so that they can easily be sorted by machine.

All items need to be rinsed out before recycling: Mostly True

While most items should be washed beforehand, cleaning products are the exception. Don’t try to wash out your bleach or washing-up liquid bottles. Simply ensure they’re empty and replace the lids before placing in your recycling bin.

Soft plastic like cellophane isn’t recycled: True

While some soft plastic can be recycled, unfortunately it is rarely cost-effective to do so. This is mainly because items sent for recycling are often contaminated with other items, like food, nappies or non-recyclable plastic like crisp packets. Most of Ireland’s soft plastic used to be sent to China for recycling but China no longer accept it due to the high rate of contamination. This means that soft plastic must be placed in your black waste bin.

Two boxes of pepperoni pizzaPizza boxes can’t be recycled: False

It’s a very common misconception that greasy pizza boxes can’t be recycled. This isn’t actually true! As long as there is no cheese or other food stuck to the cardboard, it’s fine to put it in the recycling bin. Scrape off any food and fold the box flat.

Tin foil can’t be recycled: False

Tin foil containers should be washed before being recycled. Scraps of tin foil can also be recycled. Simply clean it and then scrunch it up in a ball. However, items like yoghurt pot lids and crisp packets are a mix of foil and plastic, so these cannot be recycled.

If you’ve learned anything new from this post, let us know in the comments!