No wonder the public is confused about recycling when our national newspapers print such confusing rubbish about what can and can’t be recycled.
If you read this story in The Sun today, you would think that cans, glass jars, and coffee cups can’t be recycled:
Under a photo of six items including crisps, a mars bar, a jar of fruit, baked beans in a tin, a disposable coffee cup and empty metal tins the caption says: “Here are six items that can’t be recycled.”
Metal cans – CAN BE RECYCLED
Metal is one of the most widely recycled materials in the world. You CAN recycle metal cans. There are two types of can, those made mostly from aluminium which are largely drinks cans, and those made mostly from steel which are usually food cans such as baked bean tins or jar lids.
It is vital that we collect and recycle metal cans and metal objects of every type as they are in fact easy to recycle. They are made from valuable raw materials that can and should be reused again and again – indefinitely! – because these materials never lose their properties, no matter how many times they are recycled.
Coffee cups – CAN BE RECYCLED
The card in coffee cups can be recycled, we should know as we collect them and send them for reprocessing into other goods! You can read about our coffee cup collection service on our website. The cups are turned to pulp so that the component parts can be captured and recycled, for example the metal from the cups is used to make aluminium foil.
The reason so few cups are currently not being recycled is because people don’t have access to a waste collection service like ours, or are confused by stories in the newspaper that their cups can’t be recycled, so they don’t bother trying!
If you are concerned about waste from takeaway coffee you might also be interested to know that coffee grounds can be recycled too. We collect coffee grounds and send them for re-processing into coffee logs, giving them a second life use and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from landfill.
We have a lovely case study from Charlie’s Coffee & Company from St Albans on our website which shows just what a difference even a small independent can make by adopting the right recycling approach. Imagine what an impact it would have if every business in the whole country followed Charlie’s example?
Glass – CAN BE RECYCLED
Glass recycling bins are a familiar site up and down the country. This is another material which is widely and easily recycled. We have specially adapted vehicles for collecting glass packaging and always ensure that glass is collected safely for recycling.
Oriented Polypropylene (OPP) – CAN BE RECYCLED IN A POST-INDUSTRIAL CYCLE
The wrapper on a confectionary such as a Mars Bar is made from Oriented Polypropylene (OPP) and contrary to popular belief this material can be recycled. The substance has a reasonable value, making it economical to recycle and there are companies which specialise in recycling it. However this is only viable in post-industrial environments.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – CAN BE RECYCLED IN A POST-INDUSTRIAL CYCLE
A crisp packet is made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET.)
This substance can also be recycled, and there are specialist recyclers in Europe who can process it. PET has a lower value than OPP so it is less economic to recycle, but even so, it can be recycled from a post-industrial setting.
With both OPP and PET the issue which causes so much distress to us all is when the material is not disposed of correctly and causes litter, where it finds its way into our streams, rivers and oceans.
Recycle all drive the circular economy
The facts are clear. All the items mentioned here can and should be recycled. The most important thing we can all do is to segregate our waste resources for collection, and use a reputable company to collect and reprocess that waste.
At Cawleys we have easy to use, innovative ways to end waste and help you drive the circular economy, like our Infinity Programme, which works for businesses of any size, large or small.
So please, don’t be confused by what you might read in the newspapers, and keep recycling!