The beginning of a brand new year is a time when many of us set goals or intentions for the year ahead, so what better time to make some resolutions around recycling! Recycling saves 18 million tonnes of CO₂ a year, and there are lots more great reasons to recycle as well. If you’re drawing up your New Year’s Resolutions for 2023, here are a few to add to your list…
1. I will… get to know the recycling symbols
Packaging seems to have an awful lot of symbols on it these days, but what do they all mean? Take some time to get to know the different recycling symbols this January and you’re all set for recycling through the year ahead! For example, did you know that there’s a specific symbol telling you when something needs to be recycled with the lid left on? Or when you need to remove a sleeve or film? All the information you need about recycling something is there – you just need to know what to look out for.
2. I will… recycle one more material
You’re probably already doing a great job with your recycling, but there’s always one more material you can recycle! In fact, 80% of households miss one or more items that could have been recycled.
Foil, for example, is one of those things a lot of people aren’t sure whether they can recycle – but the good news is that you can in many parts of the country! Most councils (check with your own) are happy for you simply to check it’s clean, scrunch it into a ball and pop it in your normal recycling bin.
Aerosols are another item commonly missed (check if your local authority collects them), as are plastic bags and wrapping, which you can often collect in a bag and take back to a participating supermarket. We’ll be publishing a post on this very subject soon, so keep your eyes peeled!
In the meantime, if you’re ever not sure whether something can be recycled, check out our handy A-Z guide. Here are nine more things you didn’t know you could recycle!
3. I will… start a compost heap
Recycling food waste via your kerbside food waste collection is one way of doing it (if available in your area), but if you have a garden, or access to a communal one (or even a mini garden on a balcony or windowsill!), you can make your food waste go even further.
Setting up a compost heap is a great way to nourish your plants with some of the odds and ends you haven’t been able to get through. You’d be surprised just how much you can compost: veg peelings, banana skins, eggshells, teabags, loo roll tubes… the list goes on! No cooked food, meat or fish though – these can go in your normal food waste caddy.
4. I will… put the right things in my recycling bin
You could be the most religious recycler in the world, but if the stuff you’re recycling ends up in the wrong bin, it will all have been in vain! It also needs to be clean, dry and loose for it to be recycled. To make sure everything you put in your recycling bin can be recycled, give it a rinse first. To save on water use, you can even do this with old washing up water!
Read our tips on how to get your recycling right to learn more about what could cause whole lorry loads of recycling to be turned away. You might be surprised by what does, as it’s not just the obvious things, such as disposable nappies, animal waste or COVID-19 tests – it’s also things like sticky tape, toothpaste tubes, and glass kitchenware. Contamination can mean that the whole bin ends up unrecyclable, so it’s worth trying to avoid!
5. I will… recycle materials from all over my home
Recycling is easy enough to do when it involves simply putting something into a different container at home ready for the recycling crew to come and collect. But what about the things that can’t be included in your regular kerbside recycling? This year, take your recycling to the next level by resolving to recycle the hard-to-recycle stuff as well!
So what does that mean in practice? The answer is that it depends on the item. For example, beauty and grooming products can be difficult to recycle, but there are often take-back schemes that you can make use of. Electrical items might need taking to your nearest recycling centre, or to an electronics store.
Also, if you're still sorting out your recycling, decorations and trees from the end of year festivities, take a look at our blog on how to recycle right at Christmas.
If you’re ever unsure about whether something can be recycled, consult our A-Z guide, and when you’re ready, find your nearest recycling point. Happy New Year – let’s make 2023 a record year for recycling and give the planet a helping hand!