To bin or not to bin – that is the question!

Our recycling team answer some of the common questions people ask about what goes in which bin...

Have you ever stood by the bin with something in your hand and asked, “does this go in the recycling or not?” 

It’s a common question – more common that you might think – in fact, more than 66% of UK households are unsure of how to correctly dispose of one or more items of packaging, or waste.

Worse still is that we’re losing out on improving our recycling as well, as 56% of households dispose of one or more items in the general waste bin, when it could be recycled.

This issue is common across the UK but felt hardest in areas trying to improve their recycling rates, such as here in Liverpool.

Current recycling is around 23.6%, and although Liverpool has made great strides in improving its performance – it could be doing better.

We’re bombarded everyday by a whole host of messages, signage and labelling telling us –  ‘I’m recyclable!”, ‘Recycle me!”, “Recyclable locally!” and that’s before we start to look at the recycling symbols and numbers on the packaging we’re throwing away.  It’s hard to know sometimes where to start.

Recycling being sorted at Gillmoss

So what’s the issue with recycling? 

With this confusion comes a more a serious problem – the contamination of recycling, meaning sometimes the blue bin contents cannot be recycled – and all of the efforts of residents are wasted. Working with our partner, Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA), the council has identified those things causing the highest levels of contamination in its blue recycling bins :

  • Bagged recyclable items  – leave them loose!
  • Normal waste in blue recycling bins
  • Textiles – such as clothes, bedding, and towels
  • Electronic and electrical items
  • Single use plastics – such as plastic film, tubs, bags, pots and trays

What’s the big deal if the wrong things are in the blue bin?

  • Reducing our ability to recycle, drives up costs which could mean impacts on other areas of the council’s work
  • We can’t separate or open bags of recycling – so they can’t be recycled and can damage our sorting technology
  • Normal waste contaminates the recycling bins and make them impossible to recycle.

What’s the solution?

There are a whole host of small, easy changes that we can make:

Everyone can make a difference – and by changing just one small thing – such as making sure you know what can and can’t be recycled in your blue bin in Liverpool – means that we all make a contribution to making sure that our city becomes greener and cleaner.

Useful links and info

Liverpool Waterfront