What can’t we recycle?

by NappyLadyUK

Being “The Nappy Lady” you can kind of guess that our household is fairly green. I always try to buy products with minimal packaging and where possible recyclable packaging. Frustratingly some packaging says it’s recyclable but then you can’t find anywhere to take it to be recycled! Our Council seems determined to stop this problem and has been adding new recycling options.

So what can we recycle in our area?

Our doorstep recycling collection takes:


Plastic bottles,



and from this week food waste. In our previous home we composted food waste but this isn’t an option in our current home so reluctantly i’ve been having to throw it away.

At the local supermarket we can recycle these additional items:


Tetra packs,

 Books, CD’s and clothing (either in the supermarket donation bins or at charity shops)


Light bulbs,

Plastic containers (eg  yoghurt  pots),

 Aluminium Foil

Carrier bags

and this week a new one – aerosols

At the local dump (or now officially known as the recycling centre)

Toys – working toys go to the charity shop to be reused but broken ones can now be recycled,.


Garden waste



My Son’s school collects postage stamps for charity.

My Mum collects plastic milk bottle tops for a work colleague who collects them for a wheelchair charity; (although i remain sceptical that this isn’t some hoax as i’ve read about this on the internet.) My Mum remains convinced it’s genuine and has been passing them on for a long time now(sorry Mum i still don’t believe it!)

Baby equipment i try to pass on or sell. Many of my items i bought second hand to save money and reduce the need to produce new products (it’s important not to forget reduce and reuse as well as recycle)

So what’s left?

I’m really struggling to think of what we can’t easily recycle? Plastic sellophane such as the cover on meat, breakfast cereal bags, pasta packaging. Birthday wrapping paper (although if i have time i get the kids to make our own by painting pictures on plain white/brown paper which is recyclable). Toothbrushes.

Am i missing anything as at this rate i don’t think i’ll need our wheelie bin emptied for a year!

Wendy Richards


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6 Comments to “What can’t we recycle?”

  1. I try to use gift bags instead of wrapping paper now because they are much more easily re-used. I also use my son’s artwork from preschool when wrapping gifts for adoring grandparents (he brings home a LOT!).

  2. The one thing which drives me round the bend (and I’m glad you have differentiated on this post) is friends who think that cellophane, clingfilm and similar covers to packaged foods are plastic and can be recycled. They aren’t, and they can’t!

    Plastic for recycling is solid stuff, like the containers bacon is sold in at the supermarket, not the tops to those containers. Or like shampoo bottles etc.

    Also, tissues are not to be recycled, though I think that is more for hygiene reasons.

    People still get so confused by what can/can’t be recycled that our council now employs workers to sort through the recyclable rubbish and take out what should not be there. In the past, an entire lorryload would be rejected because of incorrect items in there.

  3. My partner, I am ashamed to say, refuses to recycle anything. :( It really winds him up when I’m at his house, commenting on every recyclable item that he puts in the rubbish bin.

    And my Dad spent an entire week trying to understand which was the recycling bin (it’s green, Dad) and the landfill bin – and the day he left, he promptly put a bag of rubbish in the recycling bin, which I then had to rescue!

    Like you, Wendy, very little goes in my rubbish bin these days, and I’ll have no difficulty switching to fortnightly rubbish collections once my new food bin comes in. Mike, on the other hand, is going to really struggle!

  4. With regard to the plastic milk bottle tops YES they can be recycled, this is not a hox. Several places collect them – I give them to a school who send them to help the local Air Ambulance. Typical products made from recycled milk bottle tops include childrens slides and toys, but they’re also made into more bottle tops! http://www.ghsrecyclingltd.co.uk/10444/info.php?p=7&pno=0
    There are firms trying to make more from this plastic, my step brothers run http://www.greenfrogdesigns.co.uk/ who make chicken houses, dog kennels, wine racks and this fab castle http://www.greenfrogdesigns.co.uk/outdoor-toy-castle-1530-0.html
    However insufficent demand for recycled plastic in this country means they have to purchase many colours from Europe, who are way ahead of the UK for recycling

  5. But because you invariably have to cut into such wrapping to open it it cant be reused its seldom even good enough to continue using around the remainder of the half-eaten product and while the plastic typically polythene LDPE resin code 4 can be recycled its not kerbside recycled everywhere and crucially its often not marked so people dont know it can be recycled. Following the 3Rs we should first REDUCE before thinking about REUSING and RECYCLING but sometimes in some situations it seems better to get a larger amount weight of packaging thats easier to reuse or recycle. Would you prefer items to be packed in the least amount of packaging possible or prefer more packaging but something more reusable or easier to recycle?

  6. Yes you’re more than welcome to use the information in your school project.
    Kindest Regards

    Wendy Richards The Nappy Lady

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