Knowing if it's recyclable or not can be confusing. Check out the answers to these common questions to dispel myths and help you carry on recycling.
All the recyclable materials you put into your blue-lid bin have value and are sold to sustainable markets. The money supports council services.
Almost all of Hampshire's non-recyclable waste is incinerated with energy recovery; only a small amount is sent to landfill. Hampshire's landfill rate is one of the lowest in the country. But landfilling or incinerating waste is very expensive - even when energy is recovered from this process.
Most packaging will have a recycling symbol of some sort on it. The recycling symbol means it can be recycled, but not always by us. In addition, the old three arrows triangle symbol is used randomly and may mean the packaging actually contains some recycled material. In Hampshire, just remember these things can be put in your recycle bin:
Some councils and business may collect all types of plastics but this doesn't mean it's always recycled. There is very little demand for lower-grade plastic (pots, tubs and trays). There are only markets for 20% of these materials. Other places may collect them but may send them to be incinerated or to landfill.
These plastics may end up in countries whose waste facilities are not adequate enough to manage their own waste. This places an added burden on their facilities and the plastics may find their way into the ocean or burned on bonfires.
In Hampshire, we would rather not collect these plastics until a long-term sustainable market for them is available.
When we take recycling to the sorting facility, anything that is not a material we recycle gets removed and taken for incineration or landfill. This extra sorting and moving waste which should be in the refuse bin cost Council Tax payers a lot of money each year - money which could go towards providing extra services.
The worst things to put in your recycling bin are soiled items (such as nappies and packaging covered in food) and glass. In the lorry, it can contaminate the whole load. This means other people's recycling efforts are wasted, as well as your own.
The most common mistake with recycling bins is putting plastic pots, tubs and trays in. These must go in your general waste bin, not in the recycling bin. The only plastic that can go in your recycling bin is bottle-shaped plastics such as plastic drink bottles. And don't forget all the bottles from the rest of the house – shampoo bottles and cleaning bottles (e.g. toilet bleach, spray cleaners) are all recyclable.
In Hampshire, we have well-regulated waste disposal facilities which mean the waste you put in your bin cannot find its way into the ocean. We incinerate the general waste we collect, recovering energy. This means it's burned to produce heat, which in turn makes steam to power turbines, producing electricity. The electricity is fed into the National Grid. So, the plastic you put in your general waste bin will not end up in the ocean.
Of course, the litter will blow around and can end up in waterways or the ocean. So plastic that is left on beaches or in parks or streets can end up in the ocean. Please take your rubbish home with you or put it in a public litter bin.