Recycling: What is and isn’t rubbish?

Roger Gambba-Jones
Roger Gambba-Jones

CABINET CALL: By Coun Roger Gambba-Jones or South Holland District Council

With Christmas approach-ing, we’re busy spending our hard earned cash on all manner of things, some of which will inevitably end up in the bin.

Which bin, or, rather bag, it ends up in is often a source of confusion for people, given the range and mix of materials used in the packaging we receive when we buy something, be it a packet of biscuits, or a brand new TV.

What both of these items have in common is that they will have packaging containing materials that are a mix of recyclable and non-recyclable.

Trying to help households understand what can and can’t be recycled, is a challenge in itself.

Christmas wrapping paper used to be pretty straightforward, after all, it’s paper. Unfortunately, just like crisp packets, nothing’s simple these days and so it is with wrapping paper.

As with crisp packets, shiny paper can’t be recycled. The same applies to shiny wrapping paper and the stuff with lots extra stuff applied to the outside of it.

A very simple way to work out whether or not paper is recyclable, is to screw it into a ball.

If the ball tries to open up and not stay in a ball, put it in with the normal rubbish, not the recycling.

Finding something in the recycling that can’t be recycled, is called contamination and causes thousands of tons of material collected to be rejected every year. A campaign has been launched on this issue, focusing on one of the biggest causes of contamination in recycling; food waste.

One half eaten takeaway meal for four put in with the recycling, because it has foil dishes in it, can write off many tons of otherwise perfectly good paper, or cardboard.

We ask you to completely empty and rinse out anything that has contained any sort of food, or liquid, if the container is recyclable.

However, if you’re unable to do the empty and rinse routine, it would be better to put it into your ordinary rubbish bag to avoid contaminating your recycling, or even a whole freighter load. If in doubt, chuck it out.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Remember, if your normal collection day is Mon 26 Dec, or Tues 27 Dec, this will change to 2 Jan and 3 Jan respectively, for the holiday period.