Recycling is complicated, and even when we try our best, it often feels like an impossible task to get right. This week, we are celebrating Recycle Week: Recycle Now’s annual event encourages individuals, retailers, brands, the government, and anyone else you can think of to recycle correctly, and more often.
Step It Up
The theme of recycle week this year is Step It Up, in an effort to encourage us all to do more, with even small, daily changes that we know can collectively make a big difference.
At Ecozone, this is something we know all too well, and something we have long felt is at the core of our brand. When it comes to tackling the climate crisis or trying to live more sustainably, the task can feel overwhelming. By creating accessible, eco-friendly alternatives to all conventional household cleaners, we have hoped to make a greener lifestyle an attainable goal for everyone.
42% of supermarket packaging is labelled with the wrong recycling advice
When it comes to recycling, a 2019 investigation by Which? found that only 52% of packaging from typical UK supermarket products were easily recyclable. Difficult to recycle items are defined by Which? As those that “need to be given special treatment to recycle,” and between 40 and 50% of packaging fit into this category.
More worryingly: 58% of supermarket packaging was found to be labelled with the right recycling advice. Findings like these prove that recycling mistakes are easy to make.
Confused about what can and can’t be recycled? You’re not alone.
70% of us don’t know exactly what we can and cannot recycle, according to a 2018 survey by Anglian Home Improvements. The other problem? Incorrect recycling has big consequences. Between 2012 and 2016, there was an 84% increase in recycling that was rejected because of inappropriate rubbish being put into recycling bins.
The good news is, recycling is not an impossible task! Here are some of the recycling tips you need to know…
- Items made from several different materials need to be separated
Look out for the plastic lining next time you go to recycle your sandwich packaging, which needs to be peeled off the cardboard layer in order for it to be recycled. Similarly, coffee cups are lined with a thin plastic layer to waterproof the cup and keep the liquid warm. This would need to be remover to make the outside paper layer recyclable.
- Dirty or contaminated material cannot be recycled
Although empty pizza boxes can be recycled, any other products with food residues or stains need to be rinsed and washed before you put them into the recycling bin. When dirty recyclable product ends up in the recycling, it is dumped with the general trash as it is deemed too troublesome to clean
- Glass and metal can be recycled forever
But there are some drawbacks. Glass is heavier than plastic, making its fuel consumption to transport a lot greater than plastic. Glass is also much more likely to break in transit, which leads to a lot more material wasted compared to plastic.
- Not all paper can be recycled
Most paper and cardboard can be recycled, but not all. Dirty kitchen roll and wrapping paper need to be put in general rubbish (unless your wrapping paper states otherwise), even though many of us incorrectly think they can be.
Try switching to refills!
Refills, if you have the space, are a great way to reduce shipping or trips to buy more products, and in turn reduces the need to recycle as many bottles.
At Ecozone, we’re working on expanding our refills lines, but for now, try our 2L refills for our Anti-Bacterial Bin Cleaner and Ultra Shower Cleaner, 5L refills for our Non-Bio Laundry Liquid and Concentrated Bio Laundry Liquid, pellet refills for our Laundry Ecoballs 1000 and keep an eye out for our Oven Cleaning Gel Bundle coming soon!
What about plastic recycling?
With a myriad of symbols and now an increase in specific supermarket collections for soft plastic recycling, plastic recycling can be confusing. Read our full guide on plastic recycling and symbols here, and stay tuned on Ecozone.com for a full post on plastic recycling as part of our Recycle Week celebrations!