Fake news! It’s everywhere, including in your recycling, and it’s enough
to make our greasy pizza box flips its lid. So here’s a quick fact check.
1. Empty pizza boxes should go in your cardboard waste?
No! They could if they were clean and unused, but chances are that any pizza carton you’re wanting to throw away once had pizza in it. That means grease. And by the time the carton finally reaches recycling, bits of rancid cheese and weeks-old pepperoni too. That not only ruins your pizza box’s chances of being recycled; if it ends up in a batch of clean paper and cardboard, it can ruin that too. So when you’re done with your Domino’s, general waste please.
2. Plastic film is, er, plastic – so it’s recyclable, isn’t it?
No! You’d think it would be, but the problem with plastic film is that current recycling machinery just isn’t built to cope with it. What’s more, when the film becomes tangled around the equipment it reduces its ability to sort bottles, cans and other materials that are recyclable. General waste please.
3. They don’t really do anything with your recycling
Yes they do! The glass, aluminium and plastic you send for recycling is stored at the Thornton waste site as a transfer station before being moved on to the Materials Recovery Facility in Leyland where it gets separated. Then each material is bundled together and sent to be remanufactured as bottles, clothing, carpet, pipes, furniture, play equipment and much more. You can see that happening here.
4. You don’t need to rinse your recyclables, do you?
Yes please. The cleaner your recyclables, the quicker and easier it is to reprocess them. More importantly, clean plastic, glass or cans can be recycled into higher quality materials. The more ‘extra ingredients’ included in your bin, the more you’ll lower the recycling potential.
Recycling centres don’t expect the items you send to be spotless (although it would be great if they were), but if you want to make your recycling count then the cleaner the better.
5. Plastic bags are recyclable, aren’t they?
Not via your council collection – for the same reason as plastic film above. However, plastic bags are reusable. So re-use them to destruction and when it’s time to bin them you’ll find a growing number of recycling points in larger branches of most supermarkets. They’ll also take bread bags, magazine wrappers, crisp packets and bubble wrap.
6. If it has a ‘recyclable’ symbol on it, it’s recyclable
No it isn’t. You’ll see the recyclable symbol pop up on all sorts of materials. But because the use of the symbol isn’t regulated it can find itself attached to all sorts of things that are technically recyclable but never really are – and certainly not locally. Styrofoam is a perfect example. It is made from recyclable materials, but its low weight and value means that practically, no one will recycle it.