As someone who composts, recycles, re-purposes and reuses as much as I possible can, I like to think that I have the whole recycling process down-pat. Truth is, I’m not always recycling correctly. Changes in the industry are constantly happening and it’s easy to make simple mistakes.
According to the waste management firm BusinessWaste.co.uk, virtually everybody is making the same simple mistakes that reduce the amount that they recycle because they’re not washing and squashing.
The good news, according to the UK’s fastest-growing commercial waste and recycling company, is that with literally the tiniest bit of extra effort, we can all get our rubbish game back up to scratch. Though this study was conducted by a European country, its fully applicable to those of us recycling our home products in the United States.
Recycling Mistakes You May Be Making
Two of the simple errors we’re all making include keeping lids on plastic bottles and failing to wash out food containers.
“You may think we’re being extra fussy, but we’re not,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, “Getting your recycling wrong means extra work and extra costs, and could even result in whole loads being rejected at the recycling plant.”
Recycling waste correctly includes:
- Ensuring all refuse correctly is separated according to local authority regulations
- Washing or rinsing glass, plastic bottles and foil food trays
- Removing lids from jars and plastic bottles
- Crushing metal cans and plastic containers
Why You Should Wash and Squash
BusinessWaste.co.uk says a simple household strategy will get people recycling better, and it’s one the government, local councils and refuse collection companies has been quietly pushing for years: Wash and squash.
Rinsing out used containers and squeezing the air out of them removes contamination and means recycling is more energy efficient. That makes the whole process worthwhile for everybody.
“Just rinse out containers, then squash them flat, simple as that,” say Hall. However, he says, there’s nothing wrong with using the full force of modern technology to give you a helping hand: “The dishwasher’s fine,” he says.
BusinessWaste managing director David Adams says: “We always run everything through the dishwasher on eco-friendly mode with the regular washing up.
“Then it’s ready for the recycling bin with zero extra effort. Any householder can do that – just don’t do special loads for your rubbish, because that’s unbelievably wasteful!”
All of these simple steps are easily integrated into your current recycling habits. While we may not be mistake-free, if we take a few moments to stay up-to-date on recycling trends, our efforts will have an even greater positive impact.