5 tips for plastic recyclingsandra
Since 1950, approximately 8.3 billion tons of plastic has been produced worldwide. More than 6.3 billion tons have now been dumped as waste in landfills (40%), incinerated (14%) or recycled (only 14%). And the remaining 32%? It was never collected and now roams the planet. That must and can be done differently!
There are more and more initiatives to clean up the plastic soup (such as the Dutch organizations The Ocean Cleanup and The Great Bubble Barrier). Much is also being invested in making plastic packaging more sustainable. It is good that organizations and companies are working on a solution for a cleaner environment, but what can you actually do about it yourself? 5 Tips for plastic recycling.
1. Shop consciously
You can start by making conscious choices when buying groceries. It’s obvious, but bring a shopping bag with you when you go shopping. Buy products with a deposit and make sure that you buy products in recyclable packaging. The latter is sometimes more difficult than it seems. Packaging may look environmentally friendly while it doesn’t have to be. Think of the cardboard meal packaging with a plastic layer to prevent leaks: these are not recyclable and are incinerated during waste disposal. Read more about the recyclability of plastic packaging here.
Reusing plastic is a good way to reduce plastic waste. Plastic (food) packaging is often thrown away while it can still be reused. We give a few examples:
- Use food containers to store and/or freeze food; this way you also prevent food waste
- Tamper evident containers are ideal for keeping fruit, biscuits, bird food, etc. fresh for longer
- Boxes with lids are super handy as storage containers in the shed, hobby room or play corner
3. Rinse packaging? Not necessary!
Although it is nice if you offer the packaging as clean as possible, but rinsing it is not necessary. Shake and scrape your plastic containers before you throw them away. The material is cleaned in the recycling plant, so save energy and water by doing this at home as well.
However, if it is important that your waste bag or container remains fresh (odorless), close the waste bag properly and/or rinse fish, meat or yogurt packaging briefly with some leftover water.
4. Crumple your waste
By making packaging small, you can fit more in your waste container. This also reduces your amount of plastic waste and prevents (parts of) packaging from being recycled.
- Crush cans
- Fold the lids of food cans inwards
- Fold the empty drinking cartons flat
- Make a wad of used aluminum foil
- Make plastic bottles small (press out as much air as possible) and put the cap back on
Does packaging consist of several types of material? Then separate them in the waste bin. For example, we want to highlight yogurt packed in plastic containers with a cardboard sleeve. If you dispose of the packaging in the plastic container with the cardboard sleeve still attached, it is not recyclable. So by disposing them separately in the right waste bin, they can both be recycled.
5. Make separating waste at home easy
Make sure the plastic waste container is within reach! We understand that a waste container by the front door is not the most ideal place, but in the back of the garden or in a closed shed is the least ideal place. In practice, this means that you have to make too much effort to separate the waste, so that there is a good chance that you will throw the packaging with the residual waste out of convenience. Are you unable to put the waste container within reach? Then use a small waste bin in the kitchen. This means you don’t have to walk down as much.
This is plastic waste
- Plastic cups of yogurt, whipped cream, cottage cheese, etc.
- Plastic containers of fruit, salad, fish or meat
- Cups of butter, sauce, cheese spread
- Plastic bottles of soda, water, milk, vinegar
- Squeeze bottles of sauces, oil, etc.
- Squeeze pouches like Capri-Sun and Breaker
- Cartons of juice, milk, yogurt, soup, pasta sauce, etc.
- Bags of pasta, rice, bread, sweets, etc.
- Bottles of detergents, shampoo and soap
- Tubes of gel, body lotion and toothpaste
- Cans, drink cans, beer caps
- Plastic wrapped on vegetables, bread, toilet paper rolls, boxes of tea, cigarettes, flowers, etc. (also cellophane)
- Plastic bags
- Plastic plant pots (except black ones)
- Plastic with a layer of metal or aluminum stuck to it (chip bags, coffee packs, blister packs of pills or chewing gum)
- Empty containers of chemical agents such as an empty mineral spirits bottle or empty drain unblocker
This is NOT plastic waste
- Styrofoam (fast food trays, meat trays, box filling)
- Plastic nets of oranges, limes, lemons (can jam the machine)
- Compostable packaging (note: these are also not allowed in the organic waste)
- Packaging larger than 5 liters
- Black plastic plant pots
- Empty paint buckets
- Small plastic items that are not packaging (residual waste)
- Large plastic items such as broken garden chairs, toys and also large pieces of polystyrene foam (recycling street)
Doubts about recyclability
It is not always immediately clear whether a product is recyclable or not. Are you in doubt? Check your local waste separation guide to check in which waste container the product belongs.
Do you have questions about the content of this article? Contact our customer service, we are happy to help!