A guide to recycling household waste

It’s hard to escape the headlines that the ‘climate is in crisis’ and that the clock is ticking to save the planet. This may seem like distant concepts, and the notion that he can call play our part is easy to be sceptical about. 

However, we can take steps every day to ease the burden on the planet, and one of those is how we dispose of our household waste. The idea of recycling household waste has been around for decades, so it’s not alien to us.

Many households will have two or three bins to sort specific waste into and will be used to putting the right rubbish into the right bin.

However, sometimes it can be not very clear, and we’re not what goes in what bin whether something can be recycled or not; here is a short guide to help you out.

Check with your local authority

Although many materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, and glass can be widely recycled, people can find a few grey areas that people can find confusing. Some aerosol cans, for example, mostly made from aluminum, also contain plastic parts that may not be recyclable. Also, not all forms of plastic can be chucked into the recycling bin. 

If you are unsure about what can and can’t be recycled, always check with your local authority. They should have resources on their website to advise you. You can also enter your postcode on websites such as Recyclenow.com to get a more accurate idea of what you can and can’t put in your recycling bins.

Although most materials that make up our household waste can be recycled or, in the case of food waster, be used for things like compost, there are some exceptions. Here are some to look out for.


Everything from newspapers to cardboard can be widely recycled. However, some forms of paper cannot be recycled. These include envelopes that have adhesive on them and wrapping paper and greetings cards that contain glitter.

You should also never put single-use paper such as tissue paper, paper towels and wipes into your recycling bin.


Most glass can be put into your recycling bin. However, you should remove corks and non-metal bottle tops. If the glass is broken, you should not put it in your recycling bin. Glass kitchenware can also not be disposed of in your household recycling bin as it is made up of different chemical compounds to glass jars and bottles.


This can be a tricky area as there are so many different types of plastic. The two most widely used household products are Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). PET is used for plastic drink bottles and most plastic food packaging. HDPE is used for things like milk bottles, shampoo bottles and tubs. Both kinds are widely recyclable.

A different kind of plastic is used in kitchenware and should not be put into your recycling bin. Plastic carrier bags are also not recyclable in your normal household waste. For advice on how to dispose of them, contact your local authority.

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