top of page
  • Sarah

Recycling: The what, the where and the how!

Ok, so every day I go in to work and not one of those days goes by without someone asking me… “Can this be recycled?” It’s also a common question at birthdays and Christmas when my family and I sit around doing the ‘scrunch test’ on wrapping paper! So, I thought wouldn’t it be great if somebody could make a simplified version of the recycling rules so that everyone understands…turns out that somebody is ME!

I’ve packed up all the recycling rules in one neat little package for you so the next time you’re throwing something in the bin…. you can be sure it’s the right one!

So, get a cuppa and learn all there is to know about the world of recycling ….I can tell you are just too excited!

Rule one : READ YOUR LABELS…the information you need is on there but what’s the point if you don’t know what all the symbol mean.? Enter…this very simple chart of labels!!!

If you’re like me and need a magnifying glass to read anything click here to be taken to the recycle now website for a larger version… you are welcome :)

Rule 2: Pay attention to the mobius loop…in other words the three arrows chasing each other… This will often be practically invisible on packaging but it’s really important, especially if it contains a number these numbers go from 1-7 like this..

I would like to point out at this point that although plastic bottles are made up of PET, the most widely recyclable plastic, very few actually end up in recycling plants but rather in the ocean bobbing along and bashing sea life on the head so do buy a reusable bottle if you can.

That’s pretty much it, 3 easy steps.

1. Read the label…

2. Understand the label

3. Throw in corresponding bin

But what to do if it doesn’t go in recycling? Well now we move on to….

A guide to bins (what a fascinating title…)

It doesn’t matter where you live within the UK or what colour your bins are. We, I imagine, all have the three basics.


General waste

Food waste

It all comes down to one simple fact; if you don’t put your rubbish in the right bin…it doesn’t end up in the right place.

So now you are armed with your new labelling knowledge and we have established that we all own bins… we move on to what goes where?


This bin is the home to every item you throw away that can be used to make a new product. Most obvious being plastic bottles, carboard and glass. As an environmentalist, try to get in to the habit of buying things that can be reused at home, or at least can be easily recycled at the recycling plant.

General waste

This is kept for anything that cannot be remade in to anything and will end up at the waste site or in an incinerator, such as soft plastics (film lids), styrofoam, takeaway trays etc. where of course it will just end up in the atmosphere and we get to breath it all in :( (as a budding environmentalist, your aim will be to have this as your smallest bin, meaning you never have much to put in because you’ve switched to good old recyclable options).

Food waste

This is where all your food waste goes to die.. vegetable peelings (although some people can make these in to crisps) tea bags, dead flowers and mouldy veg. If you have relatively low waste in your food bin, make sure it’s because you’re not wasteful with food and not because you’ve put it in the wrong bin!! If disposed of correctly your left overs should make its way to compost :)

It’s worth noting that some places in England and Wales have different rules at each of their waste disposal plants.

If you use the following links, you can use either Wales Recycles or Recycle Now to find out what can be recycled in different areas.

For information in Wales click here

For information in England click here


Sarah x


bottom of page