Recycling going to landfill

15th July 2017 | Recycling

Well-meaning home owners risk “wasting their time” recycling after it was revealed that nine in ten people are making mistakes which result in their bottles, cans and paper going straight to landfill.

Research by the charity WRAP, which promotes the sustainable use of resources, found a “lack of knowledge or confusion” among home owners about what can be recycled. The charity, which is funded by eight government bodies and departments said that complicated rules cause this widespread confusion.

A survey of more than 2,000 households found 89 per cent admitted “including items in their recycling which are not recyclable.” WRAP revealed that every year nearly 400,000 tonnes of mixed recycling goes straight to landfill because it has been contaminated by unsuitable items.

Wasting Time Recycling

The charity has now published national guidance on what can and cannot be collected by recycling lorries. Black plastic bottles, wine glasses, greeting cards with glitter, nail varnish bottles, crisp packets and window glass cannot be recycled.

However, telephone directories, envelopes with windows, egg boxes, aerosols and takeaway trays can be. Black plastic bottles cannot be recycled because sorting equipment cannot detect the colour black and therefore it is not recycled. WRAP also found that one in ten people did not know that they should not present recycling in a black sack.

Six per cent of home owners thought they could recycle nappies despite the fact that they can cause “whole vehicle loads of recycling to be rejected and instead sent for disposal”.

It said that half-full bottles might confuse the automated process by being too heavy.

According to government statistics, the UK household recycling rate fell to 44.3 per cent in 2015, from a peak rate of 44.9 per cent in 2014. This is the first time the rate has fallen since it began in 2010, though the 2015 figure still represents the second highest annual value on record.

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