Do you know which items can be recycled?
The big clean-up begins this week with the summer holidays over. But for many householders it is difficult knowing which items can be recycled and which can’t.
“It is becoming more and more complicated and councils could help families more who want to go green,” said Midlands environmental expert Ron Fox.
“To prove it let me give readers a fun quiz to test their knowledge.”
Are the following 12 items recyclable – sticky notes, toothpaste tubes, drinking glasses, glass cookware, shiny shopping receipts, crisp packets, salad bags, cotton wool and make-up removal pads, plastic milk bottles, black plastic food trays, yoghurt pots and polystyrene takeaway boxes?
- Sticky notes: Very useful for to do lists but useless as the glue on the adhesive strips can’t be removed during the recycling process.
- Toothpaste tubes often contain a thin layer of aluminium and are made of various types of plastic – making it challenging to separate and process them.
- Neither drinking glasses nor glass cookware dishes are recyclable because they are heat-treated so do not melt at the same temperature as other glass items. However, glass bottles and jars can be recycled.
- Shiny shopping receipts: A total of 11.2 billion are handed out every year, but those ones printed on shiny, thermal paper, are not recyclable because they are coated with bisphenol A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS), chemicals which can be harmful if released into the environment.
- Crisp packets can’t be be recycled because of the grease and crisp residue that remain, although some firms are planning to put up collection points around the UK so they can be turned into other plastic items.
- Pre-prepared bags of salad are not recyclable because they combine different types of plastic to keep the bag airtight, making them difficult to separate and process.
- Cotton wool and make-up removal pads can’t be recycled, especially as some are also blended with synthetic materials, such as polyester.
- Plastic milk bottle: They are recyclable as they are made from a plastic known as HDPE shown by a number 2 in the recycling symbol on the containers.
- Black plastic food trays: The problem is the scanners at recycling facilities have difficulty spotting black plastic on the black conveyor belts. Even though the plastic is recyclable most councils don’t collect them.
- Yoghurt pots are recyclable if they are made from polypropylene which has a number 5 in the recycling symbol.
- Polystyrene takeaway boxes: Unlikely because their lightness means there isn’t a lot to recycle after they have been compacted and they need specialist machinery so only 1% of households in the UK can put expanded polystyrene into their recycling boxes.
“Well done for those who got all 12 questions right,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park.
“But for those who are unsure what can be recycled, the best is to check with your council.”
For more information about recycling and green energy call Ron on 0845 474 6641.