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Confused.bin: The Results

So, in our last blog we mentioned that we were having a confused.bin in the office for the week. On Friday our MD, Bill Swan went through the things we’d put in and gave us the definitive answers on whether or not they can be recycled. There were three recurring themes that ran through the answers:

Take Away Coffee Cups aren't recyclable

  1. If it’s a common item, E.g. a sandwich box with a plastic window, the recycling plant will have found a way to overcome the fact that there’s two different materials in there, so it’s ok to put the item in the cardboard bin.(So long as it’s clean enough that it won’t contaminate the other recycling)
  2. If metals do find their way into general waste, E.g. metal bottle tops, the metal will be recovered via a magnet after the rubbish has been incinerated. (Of course, this isn’t true if your waste is sent to landfill, but that isn’t an issue for our clients, because at Paper Round guarantee a zero-to-landfill service).
  3. If an item has “wet strength” E.g. ream wrappers or kitchen towel, it can’t be recycled. The first step in the recycling process is to pulp the items and wet strength makes them resistant to that. If you think about it, if a material is designed to not tear when it comes into contact with water (kitchen towel), or to protect something from getting wet (ream wrappers), or to contain liquids without leaking (take-away coffee cups), it makes sense that it would be resistant to being pulped.

Some materials, such as polystyrene, can’t be recycled unless it’s produced in a very large quantity. Without the materials being compacted, the CO2 emissions from transporting the items outweigh the benefits of them being recycled.

So there you go, a few things to think about next time you’re confused about which bin to put your waste in. Have you got something you’re confused about? Tweet us @PaperRound with #Confused.Bin and we’ll do our best to answer!

Emily Morrey-McGrath

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