Stop ‘wishcycling’ and get wise: how to recycle (almost) everything – the Guardian

Contact Lens with Case (by Marco Verch CC BY 2.0 via Flickr)
Contact Lens with Case (by Marco Verch CC BY 2.0 via Flickr)

From contact lenses to blister packs and used dental floss, there are items that perplex even the most dedicated recycler. Here is the expert guide to getting organised – and getting rid of your rubbish

I spend a lot of time – too much time – thinking about recycling and the main thing I think, over and over, is: it shouldn’t be this hard. Eighty per cent of UK households are “still unclear” about how to recycle effectively, according to research last year – and who can blame us?

Labelling often requires a doctorate in semiotics to decode, kerbside collections are a postcode lottery and council recycling centres are often difficult to access without a car. At home, packaging piles up – no one knows what to do with toothbrushes or the cat’s treat packages, and we’re squabbling over pizza boxes. All of it amounts to us collectively wondering whether recycling is ultimately pointless because it’s all going to end up in landfill in the developing world.

“We’ve made something that could be fairly simple really complicated,” says Libby Peake, of the environment thinktank Green Alliance. “And that’s quite frustrating for the public who want to do the right thing when it comes to recycling…”


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