The UK household recycling rate is at a current high of nearly 46%, according to the latest data from Statista.
That represents a near 9% increase from 2010/11.
But there’s still a long way to go, considering that despite this massive increase, less than half of household waste is being recycled.
This still means that tonnes of waste every year continues to go to landfill that could be recycled and put to good use elsewhere.
Increasing recycle rates and diverting more rubbish away from landfill is a mission of ours at LITTA.
While we have a current recycle rate of 93% for all the home, garden and commercial waste we collect, we’re always striving to improve it.
But there are some simple things you can do at home that will drastically increase how much of your waste you recycle and avoid sending to landfill.
Here’s just a few tips to start increasing your recycling rates at home.
1. Educate yourself on what can and can’t be recycled
We’ve all seen those council leaflets that come through the door trying to explain what we can and can’t recycle – it can seem overly complicated.
But it’s actually pretty simple, you just need to take the time to understand how the recycling works for your local authority.
Council bin collections are typically broken down into simple categories:
- Garden waste
- Plastics and cans
- Cardboard and paper
- General mixed waste
Admittedly not every council deals with its recycling the same way, which is probably where some of the confusion comes from.
But it won’t take long before you know what you should and shouldn’t put in each recycling container.
2. Start composting your garden waste
Garden waste is an easy thing to recycle for the most part.
You’ve got green waste, which is items like leaves and flowers, grass and weeds, tree bark and branches and twigs, and fruit and vegetable waste.
Other things like large branches, soil, stones and rubble shouldn’t be put in your green bin, but your garden waste can easily be turned into a homemade compost box that you can use in your garden.
All you need to do is put your dry garden waste into a box along with some cardboard or paper, and watch as it breaks down into natural compost.
Not only is this a great way of increasing your recycling, it gives you a project to work on at home that can be beneficial for the environment, and your garden.
3. Make it easy to recycle
One of the reasons many households find it hard to recycle consistently is because there are so many bins, bags and boxes to use.
But you can make this easier to deal with.
For example putting all your recycling and rubbish boxes together and putting smaller bins in your house specifically for recycling products.
Having a small food bin in your kitchen for example is an easy way to avoid throwing food waste out with the rest of your rubbish.
You can simply fill up the smaller bin and then transfer to the bigger bin when it’s full.
Similarly you can just have a small bag or collection point for cans until you’re ready to take them out.
Putting a small bin in your bathroom is a sure way to increase recycling at home.
Once they’ve been rinsed out, shampoo, shower gel and face wash bottles can all be recycled.
But often these are taken downstairs and dumped in with the mixed waste.
Having a separate bin upstairs means you can just collect these bottles in one place, rinse them out when the bin is full, and then put them in your larger plastic recycling bin.
4. Wash out empty bottles
Much of household waste doesn’t get recycled because it isn’t prepared properly before being disposed of.
Empty any shampoo or drinks bottles and give them a rinse out before putting them in the recycling box.
If a single item is contaminated by liquid or other materials, it could mean everything else around it has been contaminated and can’t be recycled.
Just this step alone can significantly increase the amount of recycling taking place in homes.
5. Reuse items
Could your old glass containers be washed and reused to store something else?
Reusing any items you have is a great way to increase recycling at home.
If you like your DIY or are particularly good at crafts, there’s millions of videos online with tutorials on how to reuse or repurpose household goods.
6. Donate or sell items
Not all recycling means taking waste to a dedicated recycling centre.
Sometimes it’s just about making sure anything that can be reused, is reused rather than thrown away.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to donate any items you don’t want to a charity shop.
Most charity shops will accept most household items and electronics.
Bulk items like beds and sofas can be tricker because the shop needs a place to display them, but some charity shops now have dedicated branches for furniture that you can donate to.
If your items are in good enough condition, you could also consider selling them through an online marketplace and make yourself some extra money in the process.
Getting the basics right when it comes to recycling
Increasing recycling rates at home essentially comes down to two factors.
Education and habits
By understanding what can be recycled in our homes and creating the habits so we don’t automatically throw things into general rubbish, we can drastically increase the recycling rates in the UK even further.
Article Submitted By Community Writer