Nowadays, recycling is such an important element of our everyday lives. Our children learn about the topic in school, the news is awash with the issues the planet is facing as a result of failures to recycle sufficiently, and items we once saw as ‘free essentials’ – such as plastic supermarket bags – are now chargeable, in a bid to reduce their presence in our homes.
Separating your waste into separate bins, depending on material type, is also the norm – and when faced with papers, glass, or certain types of plastic, the task at hand isn’t too daunting.
But, what are the most difficult-to-recycle household items? Here’s a list of 10 of the trickiest…
1. Dental hygiene products
Dental care in general is not on a recycler’s ‘friends list’ – almost every product is made from plastic. Councils dislike plastic toothpaste tubes for example – and more than 50 million pounds worth of toothbrushes end up in landfill in America each year!
2. Razor blades
As the popularity of disposable razors grows, so too does the number of blades thrown away. Using high-quality brands which last longer can help – or switching to more environmentally-friendly options. It’s also possible to save blades for appropriate recycling centres.
3. Pill packets
Packaging for tablets is notoriously difficult to recycle. Pill bottles – as opposed to blister strips – are simpler to deal with, but as the popularity of these declines, we are left with fewer options here!
4. Bubble wrap
Another tricky one, but in the same way many of us ‘store’ plastic bags from the supermarkets, bubble wrap can also be saved and reused, as opposed to being automatically thrown away.
5. Cat litter
Unfortunately, cat litter typically has to go in the general waste bin. However, there are those made from biodegradable materials available, enabling these to be composted.
6. CDs and DVDs
In the era of Spotify and Netflix, the number of these items in the average person’s home has fallen significantly. However, they are tricky to recycle – due to being made from aluminium and polycarbonate materials – but they are great for fashioning into retro drinks coasters!
7. Fruit netting
Many supermarkets package their citrus fruits in coloured nets – handy packaging but non-recyclable. They can also be very harmful to wildlife, which can get trapped in these when they are not disposed of correctly.
As this is made with PVC, it’s impossible to recycle, due to the fact that when the structure is altered it gives off harmful fumes. Many people nowadays are using reusable sandwich wraps – made from linen or recycled PET – to avoid this issue.
9. Silica gel
These small packets – which appear in many of the products purchased today, including food items and handbags – more often than not end up in the bin. They can be saved and kept close to electronics and perishables to prevent moisture, although they do need to be kept out of the reach of children.
10. Broken crockery
Plates and other items are taking up a large part of landfill everywhere, due to the fact that they can’t really be reused for any other purpose once damaged. If you simply grow tired of your plates and dishes, but they are still in a useable condition, consider donating them to a charity shop instead of the bin!
Hopefully you’ve learnt something in this blog, whether that’s simply what items you could use less of, or some handy tips for reuse. Sadly, the fact remains that some items still pose a challenge when it comes to our recycling targets.
There’s always room for improvement, let’s hope this comes over time.