In Ireland, the generation of waste grew rapidly during the recent economic boom. Things got cheaper, folks had a few quid to spare... and BOOM!
A waste-storm landed!
A lot of this waste can and should be recycled but the reality is – a lot simply won’t get there.
And it won’t get there because some of us just ‘don’t really care about this sort of thing’ or because we simply ‘cannot get our heads around what can & can’t be recycled here in Ireland’…
In order to try and help, I have put together a little list of common household products… lemme know what you think!
But first things first – what’s recycling?
Well, when a material is recycled, that means it gets recycled back into usable material of the same type.
Some things can be recycled ‘forever’ such as glass and metals. Others – yes, feckin’ plastic! – will be recycled a few times before becoming pretty much useless…
If you can, always choose products made from recycled materials as this is a way for us to avoid the generation of new waste by using existing materials… rather than virgin ones!
Before we start talking about what CAN and CAN’T be recycled, please remember: if you are going to recycle something, pleheeeeease ensure that all items are clean, dry and placed loosely in the recycling bin.
And please know that if you happen to put the wrong items in your recycling bin, these will end up contaminating all your clean recyclables and that will be a true waste of your hard work.
So, here we go…
WHAT CAN BE RECYCLED
- Old sheets of paper, office paper, old letters – Gotta be clean!
- Envelops – Always without that flimsy plastic window as they are considered ‘soft plastics’ and soft plastics won’t get to be recycled here in Ireland
- Brochures – First rip them to ensure they are not coated in a thin plastic film
- Newspaper, comics and magazines
- Books – I’d say first try to find them a new one. I think it’s a shame to see a book in the bin!
- All types of boxes – flattened – and if you can remove plastic tape, great!
- Toilet paper and kitchen paper inner rolls
- Egg boxes can be recycled always when clean
- ‘Tetra Pak’ cartons of juice or milk
- Soda and water bottles
- Bottles of household cleaning products
- Butter, yoghurt and salad containers
- Trays for fruit and vegetables
- Plastic milk bottles
- Shampoo, conditioner and soap bottles
- Lids on, always when possible – that reduces the risk of losing lids on the way to the recycling centre as they are only so small!
Tins & Cans & Foil
- Soup cans, pet food cans, drink cans, food cans
- On foil, always clean and never little bits of it. Make sure you create a ball the size of your fist and then place it into your recycling bin.
- Butter foil can’t be recycled
And again, all of the above must be clean, dry and loose – none of that non-sense of putting a box inside another box and another box…
WHAT CAN’T BE RECYCLED (in your regular household green bin!)
- Glass items should be brought to your local bottle banks
- Lids can stay on or be recycled separately
- For wine bottles, always remove the cork. If the cork is made from natural cork these will go into your brown bin.
Bulbs & Batteries
- Collect them and drop them at the nearest WEEE drop off point. You will find one at shops like Woodie’s – check their locator here https://www.weeeireland.ie/household-recycling/where-can-i-recycle/
- The same applies to White Goods such as fridges and washing machines
Disposable ‘Hygiene’ Stuff
- Menstrual products
- Cotton balls
- Plastic earbuds
Clothing & Accessories
- Never put clothing into a recycling bin!
- Clothing can be:
- Brought to a clothes bank
- Brought to a charity shop
- Sold at websites like Depop / DoneDeal
- Donated to friends & family
- Reworked into something new
Garden and Food Waste
- These should go into your brown bin
- Food and organic brown bins should be available to localities nationwide with a population greater than 500 people
- Not recyclable as made up of a mix of materials. Nespresso have their own recycling programs but as far as I am aware, they are the only ones doing it.
- Chocolate wrappers, sweets wrappers, crackers wraps and crisps packets
- Cling Film (ew!)
- Ziploc bags
- That plastic wrapping fruits like strawberries or those appalling bags of apples
- Frozen food bags
- Cheese bags and cheese protective films
- Cereal bags (you reuse them as freezer bags, they do a great job!)
- Fruit and veggie net bags
- Condiments sachets
- Bin bags – never ever eveeeeer place your recyclables into a bin bag!
Conventional ‘green & yellow’ kitchen sponges
Most makeup packaging
- Nail polish bottles
- Eye shadow pallets
- Lip kits
- Tanning mitts
- Tubes of mascara
- Glitter pots
- Tubes of hair dye
Markers and pens
- Sadly I’ve not been able to find a spot to recycle this!
- Mixed materials (plastic and foil, etc.)
- Even cloth ones… dirty stuff can’t be recycled, remember?
Toothpaste tubes and plastic toothbrushes
- Mixed materials make these items pretty hard to recycled
- Used (Ew!) or not, just not recyclable at all...
When it comes to the various recycling symbols, let's be honest - they are very freaking confusing!
The Green Dot is my least favourite as it causes SO much confusion amongst people... :-|
I took the liberty to use repak's (repak.ie) beautiful graphics to help us with this one!
I will keep adding to this list so if you have any suggestions at all, please drop us an email or leave a comment here :)
We can do this!