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Celebrate Recycle Week From 23th To 29th September

Recycle Week was set up 17 years ago and founded by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) and has, possibly partly due to its success in 2018, been split with Recycle Now. Compared to previous years, the campaign saw a surge in people taking part and sharing their recycling and composting efforts on social media last year so 2019 can only be bigger and better! This progress could possibly be due to more people becoming aware and familiar with environmental issues and wanting to help and the more ‘normal’ eco issues become, the more we try to take our efforts further. Recycling is widely accessible with most kerbside pick-ups offering a wide range of options, but as local councils expand their efforts and companies make more recyclable products, the general public can become more confused as to what can be picked up and what needs to be taken to a specialist site.

Look through our guide of what can and cannot be easily recycled and what you may need to do to make some items recyclable.

image of carton tetrapak

TetraPak® Recycling

There is a myth surrounding TetraPak® (juice/milk cartons and chopped tomato cartons) that they cannot be recycled due to the plastic outer layer. Luckily, this is not true. Many districts allow this packaging to be recycled kerbside (to be sure check the Local Authority map on the Tetra website to find where you can take items if this hasn’t been rolled out in your area), so if you’re lucky enough to have this facility then you can pop it in your bin safe in the knowledge that it is being looked after.

The sad thing about these cartons is whilst they protect us from harmful bacteria, they are not easy to recycle. In fact, they go through a process of ‘downcycling’ whereby the products that make the cartons are reused as something of a lower quality. The paper used is turned into office paper and the rest is passed down into the cement industry as ‘polymer’. Unfortunately, due to their protective nature, TetraPak®s need to be made from virgin products every time they are produced. Where possible, it is best to buy products contained in glass or cans as they can be recycled back into the same products as before.

Pet Food Sachet & Bag Recycling

These sachets are complex in their materials and can cause confusion when it comes to recycling them. Luckily, Terracycle have launched a scheme in the UK to recycle these. The scheme is in association with Whiskas and James Wellbeloved and has raised over 13k for charity since its inception. The success of this scheme has meant that people can no longer post these items due to high demand but there are hundreds of drop-off points in the UK which can be found on the Terracycle site.

These sachets are recycled and used to make products such as park benches and fence posts which can take a lot of energy to create. Where possible, feed animals with canned food (or home cooked meat) to cut down on your usage of this complex packaging.

image of slatted wooden composters

Composting

Whilst most of us either put our food waste out for kerbside pick-up or use for compost in our gardens but there are a few items that can go on your compost heap that may surprise you.

  • Liquid from canned fruits and veg
  • Hair and nail clippings
  • Feathers and per fur
  • Small scraps of materials made from natural fibres
  • Natural cork from wine bottles
  • Potting soil
  • Hamster bedding
  • Christmas trees (break them down first)
  • Some Cellophane can be composted as it made from plants, check the labels though
  • Wood ash

Composting rule of thumb is that if it’s biodegradable, you can compost it. As more people start composting, more information becomes available and more inventive ways of creating a rich soil for your garden are thought up. Using products such as Bokashi can really speed up your compost creation and can make a really luscious fertiliser.

Terracycle Scheme

The Terracycle scheme in general makes recycling difficult products that are not widely looked after, easy to properly dispose of. Items such as crisp packets and tubes, coffee pods, used pens, air fresheners and toothpaste tubes are all accepted in this scheme.

In 2019 is it easy to recycle most things if you know how and as more information becomes readily available, anyone can make the extra effort especially during Recycle Week. Have you found a scheme near you or have an interesting recycling fact or hack? Get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know!

Explore our garden, composting and rainwater harvesting product range on Original Organics.