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​The amount of UK household rubbish rejected for recycling has increased

The amount of UK household rubbish which has been rejected for recycling has increased by a staggering 84% over the past 4 years.

Councils are saying that they are working hard to try and stop people from putting the wrong items in bins as the cost of re-sorting is stated as the primary reason that a lot of local authorities are rejecting recycled waste. The Freedom of Information Request found that 97% of the rejected waste is being either destroyed or sent to landfill (based on the most recent year for which figures are available).

There seems to be some confusion on what can and what cannot be recycled.

Can be recycled

  • Paper (such as cardboard, newspapers, magazines, envelopes, junk mail, food and drink cartons etc.)
  • Plastic (such as butter and ice cream tubs, yogurt pots and ready-made meal trays)
  • Glass (all colours are able to be recycled except for broken glass or ovenware)
  • Bottles (such as drinks, shampoo and detergent bottles)
  • Foil (such as kitchen foil and foil trays)
  • Tin and cans (such as steel, aluminium and aerosols)

Cannot be recycled

  • Tissue / kitchen roll
  • Plastic (such as plastic wrap, cling film, bubble wrap and plastic bags)
  • Plastic / paper contaminated with food (such as grease-stained pizza boxes and paper plates)
  • Coffee cups
  • Polystyrene
  • Crisps packets and sweet wrappers
  • Nappies
  • Soft plastic / metallic packing (such as pet food pouches)

Noting that what can be collected from households varies from council to council and many other items, such as textiles, plastic bags, electronics and batteries, can be recycled at designated centres.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association stated, "In the past decade, councils and residents have worked together to radically increase recycling and divert millions of tonnes of waste from landfill […]. The problem is there is widespread confusion over what can and cannot be recycled. If just one non-recyclable item is included with recyclable items, the whole bin is effectively contaminated. Councils then have to re-sort it, which is time consuming and very expensive.”

While the country has seen major progress being made in boosting recycling rates, more needs to be to educate the population and find newer ways of sorting.

All Green Motion car hire locations worldwide have designated recycling bins to try and encourage customers (as well as staff) to cultivate best practices.

To make a car hire booking with Green Motion or to find out more about our environmental policy, please visit greenmotion.com or call +44 (0) 2071864000.