Recycling contamination occurs when non-recyclable items are mixed in with recyclable materials. This can also happen when the wrong kinds of materials are placed in a material-specific bin. For example, placing a plastic bottle into your cardboard recycling can render your entire bin unable to be recycled.

In the current age, with recycling at the forefront of our minds in a bid to restore the health of the planet and preserve the environment for future generations, it is important to be mindful of what you recycle and how you recycle.

Statistics show that recycling rates in the UK have significantly increased over the past decade. However, many people are still adding unrecyclable materials to their recycling waste or putting the wrong materials in designated bins. Every year, millions of tonnes of waste materials end up dumped at toxic landfill sites around the country, with disastrous results for the environment, wildlife and even human health.

So how can you avoid recycling contamination and what are your other options when it comes to recycling?

Double check your items before you send them to be recycled

It can often be more difficult to know what can and cannot be recycled so placing the wrong item into a recycling bin is an easy mistake to make and can cause your recycling to be contaminated.  For example, there are many cases where it is possible to recycle a plastic bottle but its lid should be removed first as the bottle cap is constructed from a different material that cannot be recycled.

The materials that you can recycle may vary from one area to another, but it’s important to check whether your plastic bottle is actually recyclable. Many beauty products, for example, will state whether or not they can be put in your plastic recycling bin. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Clean your items of food waste before you recycle them to avoid recycling contamination

If you are putting empty food bottles, jars or cans into your recycling bin, rinse them out first. Don’t throw full bottles into the recycling, as this can prevent the entire batch of recycling from being useful. Containers that are not fully emptied or clean can often render an entire batch of recycling unusable and can undo all the rest of the hard work you’ve put into sorting out your waste. Taking a little extra time to rinse your empty bottles can contribute significantly to reducing your carbon footprint in the longer-term.

Don’t add the wrong products, even if they seem correct

It’s easy to throw a broken wine glass or tumbler into your designated glass recycling bin, thinking you’re doing the right thing and recycling correctly. However, this is a common error that can contaminate your entire glass bin. These bins are specifically intended for glass bottles or jars, rather than drinking glasses or jugs as the latter are recycled in a different manner, so they are not intended to be placed in your glass recycling bin.

Another common error is for people to throw away a plastic hard drive or old vhs tape into their plastic bin. These products need to be recycled in a special way and cannot be simply added to the plastic bin. Therefore, it’s always better to get your old electrical equipment or tapes recycled at a specialist centre.

Recycling contamination can be avoided by pre-sorting

One of the best ways to ensure that your recycling does not get all mixed up together or that your general waste doesn’t somehow find its way into your recyclables, is to keep separate small bins inside your home or business premises so that you can automatically place the right containers into the right bin.

By doing this, you’ll make it significantly easier for yourself when you come to throwing your rubbish away. All you need to do is empty the right products into the right bin and you’ll find it’s a successful system for sorting your rubbish. You can even conspicuously label your inside bins so that your family members or staff are easily able to tell which products go into which bin.

Recycle with a reputable firm

If you run a business or you have simply large amounts of recyclable waste, such as documents, hard drives or old film and tapes, taking these items to a trusted firm is a great idea. Your waste will be securely and confidentially recycled, giving you peace of mind that your data is safe and allowing you to reduce your carbon footprint in the process.

 At TipTop Media, we value the planet and our customers’ confidentiality. When you bring your items to us for recycling, we dispose of them in a green way that is beneficial to the environment. To use our confidential document recycling service or our secure hard drive and film/tape recycling services, please email us at TipTop Media or call us on 020 3234 0090.

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