How Do I Sort My Recycling Properly?

12th May 2015 by Junkwize Admin

Rubbish removal in London is a rather more complicated affair these days, what with the introduction of various recycling schemes across our capital. This is the case both for the generators of waste and the people who collect it. That being said, it’s all for a good cause in the long-run and is far kinder to our environment. But to make things a tad easier for those somewhat befuddled by the widespread push for greener living, we’ve put together a short guide.

A good way to prepare your recycling for collection is of course to separate and then store it securely. Sort the waste according to type so that paper and cardboard are kept together. Plastics and metals should also be divided. Make sure that containers are labelled and sealed. It is of course worth remembering that not everything is considered recyclable by your local authority collection service. So be sure to check the recycling guidelines for your borough.

When preparing paper cardboard for recycling rinse of food and any other matter. Crush and fold cardboard boxes to create more room. For larger boxes, consider cutting them up instead of compacting them – this too can save more space. And if you really want to push the boat out, remove any staples. However, this isn’t usually necessary as most paper mills are able to remove these.

Shredded paper can also be recycled although you may encounter certain restrictions regarding the size of the shredded pieces. Some boroughs allow residents to include shredded paper with garden waste believe it or not, while others require it to be deposited in black refuse bags.

Never include solvents, paint or oil in either your rubbish or recycling bins – these should be disposed of separately. Visit your local authority’s website for more information on how to prepare these for collection – many operate a specialist collection service. Soil or dirt can be taken to a clean landfill site for disposal and should also be kept separate from rubbish or recycling bins. For garden and compost waste, use the green bags which are supplied by your council (if available).

Depending on the complexity of your council’s recycling initiative, try to sort plastics into separate containers according to their grade and type. The most common types of recyclable plastics are polyethylene terephthalate, high density polyethylene, and polyvinyl chloride. It is however the case that most local authorities and councils require plastics and other household items such as aerosols to be disposed of using typical black bags. If you are offered plastic recycling facilities, be sure to crush any bottles. Take the lids off first, crush the bottle and then put the lids back on so that they can be recycled in their entirety.

Some London borough services specialising in rubbish collection in London offer separate green boxes for food waste. Residents are permitted to place anything they like into these boxes, which are then recycled into compost. In many cases however, food waste should be placed in the black bags for collection.


Image by Andy Beecroft and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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