Recycling? Just Bin It

As featured in Lochaber Life, August 2014

 

There isn’t any point in recycling; it all ends up in landfill and at the end of the day, what does it really matter to me?

It is true; some of our recycled waste does in fact go to landfill. It is extremely frustrating as we’ve gone to this effort to separate all that cardboard packaging to have it all end up in the same place. The reason for this though, is the recycled waste has been deemed contaminated. If you’re bin is contaminated the bin operatives are told to leave the bin, giving you a full bin for another two weeks. If they were to accept a bin with one or two contaminants each time this would build up over a full collection and eventually mean the whole lorry load would be put to land fill, recyclables included. So, in short, it’s worth knowing what’s contaminating our recycling.

Pizza boxes, and any other cardboard which has been in contact with food, are contaminants. The oils from the food make the cardboard unusable in the paper recycling process.

Plastic bags or plastic film cannot go in your blue bin as they are ‘B’ grade recyclables and not financially viable to recycle. This includes envelope windows, wrappers, and polystyrene.

Tetra-packs. These are a mixed material making them hard to recycle but they can be recycled at the recycle centre. They are pretty durable though so can be up-cycled (think plant pots for germinating).

String or wire is also a contaminant as they can cause damage to machines used in the recycling process.

Glass. It is important to keep glass out of the blue bin, it’s very breakable and extremely hard to separate when broken. Also, mixed coloured glass does not have much value as it can only be used for aggregate, so make sure your glass is put in the correct bottle bank.

Shredded paper when left loose is a contaminant. This, like broken glass, is very hard to separate. A top tip is to tightly wrap all your paper shreds in newspaper so it forms one big paper ball. Or, better still, you can recycle it at home with a compost bin.

 

So, enough of what can’t go in your blue bin, here’s what can.

  • Cardboard: Boxes, Toilet roll tubes, Egg Boxes, Cereal Boxes.
  • Plastic: Milk bottles, Juice bottles, Detergent bottles, Toiletry bottles (all rinsed out and caps off).
  • Paper: Newspaper, Telephone directory, Letters, Magazines, Greetings cards.
  • Metal: Steel tins and Aluminium cans (rinsed out)

It is important to note that our technology for recycling is always changing. This means that what we can recycle changes too. This list is up to date at the moment but if The Highland Council bring in more technology to their Material Recovery Facility then this will allow them to accept more variety of materials so keep an eye out for information of this sort in the future.