Recycling – September 20th 2020

This week I have been thinking a bit about recycling, prompted by all of the plastic use at work. There doesn’t seem to be much that I can do about that; but it has prompted me to think about what we recycle at home. I realised I wasn’t entirely clear about what we could put in the recycling bags. Below are some FAQs taken from the County Council website that I have found useful!

What kinds of plastic should I recycle?
• You can put plastic bottles of any colour and size in your recycling bin.
• We don’t recycle plastic pots, tubs, or trays because they are more likely to contaminate other recyclable items such as paper and card, and they are a low-quality plastic.
Do I need to check for numbers on plastic bottles?
• You don’t need to check for recycling numbers. If it’s plastic, and a bottle, please put it in your bin.
• Milk bottles, soft drink bottles, water, detergent, shampoo, and even trigger bottles can all be recycled.
Do I need to take the tops off plastic bottles?
• No. You can leave tops, caps, and triggers on plastic bottles.
• In the past, they were made from a lower-grade plastic so could not be recycled. Manufacturers have now changed the minimum grade of plastic for the lids so they are more easily recyclable.
• For your information, the safety hazard of flattening bottled and lids flying off under pressure has been resolved with the introduction of a piercer in the sorting plant.
Do I need to rinse my plastic bottles before recycling them?
• Plastic bottles should be empty, and (preferably) clean to avoid the contamination of other recyclables such as paper or card.
Why do other local authorities recycle pots, tubs, and trays, but Northumberland chooses not to?
• Plastic bottles are made of HDPE or PET which is easily recyclable and in high demand for reprocessing in the UK and Europe.
• We don’t recycle pots, tubs, and trays because they are made of a low-grade plastic that are often contaminated with food waste.
• In Northumberland, plastics such as this should be placed in your general rubbish bin. This waste is then used as fuel for our Energy from Waste scheme, which generates 9.6MW of electricity to the National Grid every year.