Today is Global Recycling Day, a great opportunity for everyone to come together to highlight the importance of recycling, reducing waste and tackling the climate crisis. Created in 2018 by the Global Recycling Foundation, Global Recycling Day aims to recognise and celebrate the crucial role that recycling plays in preserving our planet.

Global Recycling Day describes its mission as twofold:

1. To tell world leaders that recycling is simply too important not to be a global issue, and that a common, joined up approach to recycling is urgently needed.

2. To ask people across the planet to think resource, not waste, when it comes to the goods around us – until this happens, we simply won’t award recycled goods the true value and repurpose they deserve.

Global Recycling Day

Playing our part

As a company that creates a wide range of recycled plastic products that divert waste away from landfill, we’re always keen to play our part in raising awareness around the subjects of recycling and sustainability.

Wherever possible, we like to try and advise our existing and potential customers about the benefits of recycling and making positive changes for the environment. However, information around recycling is sometimes confusing and conflicting, which can potentially reduce the incentive to recycle at all. It should be simple – just drop your rubbish in the designated box, and that’s it – but in reality there are numerous considerations when it comes to recycling your waste.

A question of recycling

We recently received a question on our social media from someone who was keen to recycle, but also unclear on some of the details.

Dan asked:


I’ve recently stopped putting plastics like food trays, cartons and yoghurt pots in my weekly council rubbish collection, as I discovered they don’t currently have the ability to recycle these types of items (apparently this will change, but not before 2024).

What’s more, if do put these things in with my regular recycling bag, it could contaminate other items and risk nothing of that bag being recycled. The council’s advice is to put these items in the general waste (black bag collections). My issue is that I know other councils nearby and across the country do have the ability and facilities to recycle these items already.

What advice could you give to someone in my position who wants to recycle plastic pots, trays, yoghurt pots, etc.. now? I’ve been looking for local programs, but as yet not found any solutions.

Thanks in advance,


We got back to Dan directly with our advice, but it got us to thinking about the most common recycling questions, and how answering them could be useful here on Global Recycling Day.

Why recycle plastic in the first place?

In short, to save the planet. The last decade has been the hottest on record, and rapid changes are needed on a global scale to deal with the climate emergency. Recycling is one of the small steps you can take at home to help reduce harmful C02 emissions.

Why do different councils recycle different things?

Recycling is currently devolved to local authorities in the UK, and it can differ significantly from place to place. Councils choose what to collect for recycling, and the decision is often based on the cost of selling the collected material and which materials can be recycled at nearby facilities.

Nearly all councils collect plastic recycling through kerbside collections – check out the recycling and waste section on your local council’s website for more detailed recycling day information.

Girl with recycling box

What type of plastic can be recycled?

Again, this varies between councils, but plastic bottles used for water, milk, fruit juice, etc, are the most commonly recycled items.

Most councils recycle plastic, paper, glass, card and clean foil. While some councils will recycle pots, trays and tubs, it really depends on where you live, so checking with your local authority is always the best option.

What type of plastic can’t be recycled?

The black trays that supermarket ready meals come in cannot be recycled, as sorting machines are not able to detect them. Other items which can’t be recycled are crisp packets, bubble wrap, cling film, polystyrene foam, food pouches and salad bags.

Margarine tubs are also problematic for recycling, as they are often made from a wide range of polymers, which require technology not readily available in the UK.

Most councils don’t recycle plastic bags, though many of the major supermarkets have recycling collection points at their larger stores, so just drop them off there.

What about tetrapaks & cartons?

These items are hard to recycle, as they contain a mixture of cardboard, foil and plastic. Only the cardboard can be recycled and the other components have to be incinerated.

For that reason, many authorities will not accept them for recycling because it is such an involved and costly process. Try to avoid purchasing items packaged in tetrapaks and cartons if the item is available in another form of packaging.

Should I take the lids off plastic bottles before recycling?

Once again, this tends to differ between councils. Most local authorities now accept bottles with lids on, but it’s always worth making sure in advance.

If possible, squash your bottles before recycling, as this takes up less space in the lorry which means more recycling can be collected with fewer miles.

Global Recycling Day Should I clean my recycling?

Yes. Ensure all your items are washed and dried, as any residue can make them more difficult to recycle. Food left in containers also leads to contamination, and if contamination levels are too high in a recycling load then it may be rejected and sent for incineration or to landfill. Don’t undo all your recycling efforts by neglecting to clean your items properly!

What do the numbers mean on plastic items?

Plastic items often come with a recycling symbol, that may also have a number from 1-7 stamped on it. This is a resin identification code that denotes what type of plastic the item is made from. These number are then used by recycling processing plants to sort the waste into the correct categories.

Initially, many councils requested that consumers sort their own recycling using these numbers, but authorities have since recognised that expecting consumers to remember these details is not conducive to engaging with the recycling process. Most councils now ask consumers to consider the type of item – plastic bottle, tray, pot, etc – rather than the number.

Can gadgets be recycled?

Yes, but most councils won’t collect them from your home. They can be dropped of at selected retailers such as Apple, Currys and Panasonic, or otherwise at your local household waste recycling facility.

Some useful information on recycling electrical items can be found here.

What should never go in recycling?

It seems obvious, but nappies, sanitary products and dog poo bags should not be in your recycling under any circumstances. Somebody has to sort through that lot, and it’s a sure-fire way to get a recycling load rejected for contamination and sent directly to landfill. Don’t be that person!

Family recycling

Every day is recycling day

We’re totally behind Global Recycling Day as a great way to bring people together and keep the subject of recycling in the public conversation.

Recycling is a key part of the circular economy, and it saves more than 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions every year. Here at BRP, we want every day to be recycling day, and we hope these questions and answers will make your recycling that little bit easier!

Why British Recycled Plastic?

By choosing British Recycled Plastic, you’re making a making a hugely positive change for the planet and actively helping in the fight against climate change. So why not get on board? We offer a range of products that are not only incredibly tough and durable, but actively help to dismantle the UK’s domestic waste mountain and keep plastic out of landfill.

Our recycled plastic is completely rot-proof, splinter-proof and maintenance-free and it comes with a 25-year guarantee. This means that year after year, it will keep its good looks and robust functionality without needing anything other than an occasional wash down. Of course, as it is chemically inert, it can be washed as often as wanted, with bleach, disinfectant or any other regular cleaning product.

We’re proud of how our role in the world of recycling is helping to reduce domestic waste and create products which are useful, long lasting and beautiful. Engineered from 100% British waste, our products are supplied to thousands of organisations and private homes across the UK: we believe they are the very best money can buy. We’re making waste wonderful.

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