Facts about recycling plastic you'll wish you'd known earlier

Can plastic be recycled? What plastics cannot be recycled? How do you recycle plastic bags and wrappers? The answers are all here…

Updated

facts about recycling plastic

Key Steps to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastic

  • Use ultra-concentrate products to REDUCE the amount of waste you produce.
  • REUSE old plastic bags items for storage or as bin liners around your home.
  • Separate your plastics before you RECYCLE so they don’t get rejected.

Climate change is finally disrupting the political conversation and we're fast becoming aware of the impact society has on the environment. With millions of tonnes of plastic ending up in the oceans, recycling plastic has become an important skill but how can you know which type of plastic can be recycled and which cannot?

Try to purchase concentrated products which reduce the amount of plastic waste you produce in your home by using less packaging and a more powerful product.

Can you recycle plastic? 3 facts you should know

Before we show you tips for plastic wrap recycling and more, let’s start with a few important facts you should be aware of.

  1. Plastic drinks bottles can be recycled. You just might have to remove the lids.
  2. Some recycling centres accept DVD cases and duvet covers. If yours doesn’t, you can still upcycle these items rather than throwing them out.
  3. Plastic takes a long time to degrade; up to 1,000 years! It’s much better to recycle it.

Plastic recycling FAQs answered

Get answers to your common questions about bottle, container and plastic bag recycling.

 

Can plastic be recycled?

Yes! Many local authorities will offer plastic recycling as part of their waste collection scheme, it just might not cover all types of plastic. Always check first – it may help to know what plastic recycling numbers and symbols mean first.

 

What are the benefits of recycling plastic? 

There are 3 major benefits to recycling plastic:

  • It reduces pollution as there is less need to incinerate waste.
  • It is cheaper and more energy-efficient than making new plastics.
  • It reduces the amount of future waste as items can be reused.

 

What plastics are recyclable? 

Unfortunately, not all plastics are recyclable – at least not easily. Knowing which plastics you can recycle at home will ensure you separate your waste and reduce excess rubbish. Our advice on recycling symbols and numbers contains a list of common products sorted by their plastic recycling number but some of the most common items include:

  • Polyethylene Terephthalate or PET used in items such as water bottles.
  • High-Density Polyethylene or HDPE used to create containers like detergent bottles.
  • Polypropylene or PP used to create products such as nappies and wipes.
  • Polystyrene or PS used in cups and foam packaging.

 

Are plastic bottles recyclable? 

Yes! Plastic bottles are often recyclable. Check their label for the recycling symbol and plastic recycling number. Sometimes the bottle lid may be made of a different type of plastic which means you may need to remove it to recycle the rest of the bottle.

Learn more with our guide on how to recycle plastic bottle the right way.

 

What can plastic bottles be recycled into? 

There are a variety of end products which can be created with recycled plastic bottles. These include:

  • T-shirts
  • Jackets
  • Sleeping bags
  • Carpet

 

What plastics cannot be recycled? 

There are a few types of plastic which are not currently widely recycled. These include:

  • Low-Density Polyethylene or LDPE used in shrink wrap and bread bags.
  • Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC used to produce plastic food wrap and more.

 

How to recycle plastic bags at home 

Plastic bag recycling isn’t usually available at recycling centres but you can recycle them at home be reusing them for other purposes. Take old bags with you when shopping to reuse them and use them to line the bins in your home when collecting non-recyclable waste.

 

How to recycle plastic wrappers 

Plastic wrap recycling faces a similar challenge to plastic bag recycling. Reuse this item as much as possible by covering similar items of food with it or using it to wrap delicate items in storage (providing it is clean). Limit your use of these supposedly “single-use” plastics as much as possible to avoid further waste.

Understanding how to recycle plastic wrappers, bottles and more will help you take steps to being greener at home. With this guide you now have all the answers you need to make informed decisions.

Originally published