The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday
THE GOLDEN RULES OF RECYCLING Clear film
Labelling on packaging should give you advice on whether it is recyclable. Plastic is a particular headache, as different packaging is made from different types of plastic resin. Products should be printed with reside codes that identify the type of plastic used. The code is represented by a triangular arrows symbol surrounding a number between 1 and 7. Numbers 1, 2 and 5 can be widely recycled. Numbers 3, 4 and 7 can be recycled at specialist points, while number 6 is not easily recyclable.
Most plastic bottles, pots, tubs and containers, both clear and coloured, can be recycled, but remember to remove pumps from liquid-soap bottles and dispose of these separately. Also, remove any paper or card labels from yoghurt pots and place these in your paper and card recycling bin, if these are collected separately.
The tennis-ball rule
A modern Material Recycling Facility (MRF) uses a range of different mechanised processes to sort recyclables. For example, magnets are used for metal and air jets are used for plastics. Generally, these facilities have trouble sorting items smaller than a tennis ball and these often end up rejected and sent to landfill or the incinerator. Put smaller items of the same material into bigger items to ensure they are sorted properly.
Even if it is made of recyclable plastic, black plastic packaging is problematic, as it can’t be identified by the automatic sorting machines used at recycling plants.
Hot food and drink containers
Anything with a plastic coating on the cardboard, such as hot-drinks cups and some hot-food trays, is difficult to recycle. Coffee cups are not normally accepted in household recycling collection schemes, but can be returned for recycling at some high-street coffee shops. They can also be recycled at banks for food and drink cartons at recycling centres.
Generally, wrappers that resemble plastic bags can be recycled with carrier bags at supermarkets. This includes bread and vegetable bags, freezer bags, and the plastic wrappers on toilet roll and paper-towel packaging. Anything else probably can’t be recycled, including Bubble Wrap, cling film, and food and drink pouches.
Padded packaging and envelopes
While paper and stationery is widely recycled, the plastic padding inside envelopes is not. Tear this out of envelopes before putting them in with the recycling.