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Household recycling – there’s still work to be done

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has released the results of its 2019 Recycling Tracker – the organisation’s annual survey of UK householders’ recycling habits.

WRAP’s report contains some interesting findings from the online survey of 5,452 respondents – some good, some less than encouraging.

A positive key result in the report showed that over the past year, 60% 0f UK households recycled one or more extra items than they have previously done – a great indicator that more and more householders are taking responsibility for recycling.

However, the report also indicates that apathy and confusion remain, as 51% of respondents admitted to disposing of recyclable items in their general waste bins, and 82% said they have tried to recycle one or more items in kerbside collections that are not accepted locally. Additionally, householders are placing items that can be recycled into the waste bin, such as plastic cleaning bottles, and aluminum foil.

WRAP’s Recycling Tracker report also noted that 45% of households admitted to disposing of high-level contaminates in their recycling, including Pyrex glassware, textiles, empty toothpaste tubes and electrical items.

Following the government’s consistency consultation which took place earlier this year, and in a bid to stamp out contamination, DEFRA announced it is seeking to amend legislation to bring in a universal collections system which will see councils across England collecting more of the same items. The industry eagerly awaits the next steps.

At Casepak we have been working hard over the past year to tackle contamination and have partnered with local authorities to highlight the issue to householders. Nappies have been the biggest bone of contention, but through a series of waste audit day trials with each of our local authority partners, we’ve seen a positive impact on the quality of materials entering the MRF.

To help quell confusion, here are five things you can’t recycle that might surprise you:

  1. Hygiene products including nappies, baby wipes or any other personal sanitary items.
  2. Packing and wrapping items. Bubble wrap, sellotape or film coated wrapping paper are all a no-no!
  3. Children’s toys (wooden or plastic).
  4. Contaminated food containers – greasy pizza boxes are the biggest culprit at Casepak. Yes, they may be cardboard, but the grease absorbed into the cardboard fibers cannot then be extracted.
  5. Plastic film, such as carrier bags. The fine plastic shreds easily and can get caught in the MRF’s machinery causing jams and delays.

To help make life easier, we’ve put together a Recycling Guide which provides a definitive list of what can and cannot be recycled at the Casepak MRF. It is important to note that this guide has been designed for householders in local authorities that send collect and send recyclables to the Casepak MRF. However, the guide also provides best practice advice on recycling all round – give it a read, you may be surprised!

Casepak Recycling Guide