Recycling guide

Tips and tricks to make recycling easy

Recycling at home should be quick and simple. The tips and tricks you'll find here are to help you waste less and recycle more. You can use our waste wizard for more information on what can be recycled and how.

Reduce your waste

The best way to reduce waste? Don’t create it in the first place. Cutting the amount of waste we produce saves time sorting waste and frees up valuable space in our boxes, bins and bags. Some options are:

  • buying loose fruit and vegetables
  • taking reusable containers to a local butcher for meat
  • reading a newspaper online instead of in print
  • using a reusable coffee cup
  • selling and buying used items

Maximise your space

To get the most out of your recycling boxes, you should make sure you use the space effectively. Flatten cardboard boxes and break down larger pieces of card into smaller pieces. You can also flatten smaller boxes, plastic bottles and drinking cans.

Double up

You should have a minimum of two recycling boxes. The more boxes you have, the more items you can recycle and the easier it will be for you to sort your recycling. Sorting recycling also helps our crew work more efficiently.

Two in one

Most households have a bin in their kitchen that they use to dispose of waste. Why not consider swapping this for a dual compartment bin, or buying another bin for recycling? Both of these can be found at most home retailers.

Go packaging free

Some companies allow consumers to send back used packaging to them. Walkers have introduced collection points across the UK for people to take their used crisp packets to be recycled. Find the nearest collection point at the Walkers website.

You can buy reusable mesh pouch bags for grocery shopping loose fruit and vegetables

Try to avoid buying items wrapped in plastic packaging, card packaging is a better alternative as it is easier to recycle.

Carrier bags

Most large supermarkets have carrier bag banks in store where you can recycle your used plastic carrier bags. Find your nearest drop-off point.

Remember to take your ‘bag for life’ to the supermarket with you.

Sign up to TerraCycle

Sign up to TerraCycle, an innovative company offering a range of free recycling programs funded by brands to help collect and recycle your hard-to-recycle waste. Encourage friends, families, neighbours and community groups to sign up too.

Be aware of different food dates

Make sure you understand what the dates on your food packaging mean.

A ‘best before’ date refers to the quality of the product, not the safety. For example, the carrots are at their best before 9 June 2019. You can still eat the carrots after their best before date, but they may have started to lose their flavour and texture.

A ‘use-by’ date relates to the safety of a product. If a product has passed its use by date, you shouldn’t eat or drink it because it might not be safe.

‘Sell by’ and ‘display until’ dates are only relevant to supermarkets and are not intended for use by consumers.

Use your leftover food

Use your leftover food to make new meals. There are loads of tasty recipes to get stuck into, visit Love Food Hate Waste for inspiration.

Get your family composting

Composting at home is both fun and rewarding for all the family. Compost some of the things you might usually throw away like fruit and vegetables, dirty cardboard, grass cuttings and old flowers.

Any compost created can be used for potting plants or growing vegetables. You can also subscribe to our garden waste collection service for convenient fortnightly collections. 

Get creative

There are lots of ways to re-use the items we usually recycle. Why not consider filling up your old jam jars with sweets and giving them to friends and family as gifts? Or use them around your home or garage for extra storage?

Don’t bottle it up

In the UK tap water is clean, fresh and usually tastes just as good as the bottled stuff. If we all bought a reusable water bottle we’d save money and reduce our dependency on single use plastics.

Reduce junk mail

If you receive large amounts of unwanted mail you can put a “no junk mail” sign on your letter box. Alternatively you can contact Royal Mail, the Direct Marketing Association or register with the Mailing Preference Service.

You can also write direct to the sender. Any company that receives written indication that you want to be removed from their mailing list is legally obligated to stop sending you mail.

Go online!

It is now possible to access most utility and monetary services and magazine subscriptions online. Moving online cuts waste by reducing the amount of letters, printed receipts and plastic cards received.

Be aware that online shopping often means excess packaging. We can reduce this by:

  • opting out of carrier bags when ordering an online food shop
  • unchecking the option for gift wrap on presents
  • not ordering multiple sizes in clothing
  • buying from companies that use recyclable packaging

Of course, you can recycle as much of the packaging from online orders as possible.

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