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7 Surprising Things You May Struggle to Recycle

7 Surprising Things You May Struggle to Recycle

2018-09-27T18:01:11+00:00 September 27th, 2018|News|0 Comments

You can recycle foil right? Yes, in most cases but not all *. Surprised? You may be surprised by some of the other items on the list but there are solutions!


Commonly used as packaging, polystyrene was invented in 1947 and burst onto the world stage as a lightweight packaging solution that prevented items from being knocked about, broken and damaged in transit.

Whilst it was a fantastic invention, it is possibly one of the biggest environmental disasters created. Not only does it suck natural resources and energy to make, it barely degrades and somewhere in our oceans, there arebits and piece of polystyrene bobbing about.

Some local authorities in the UK can recycle it but you’ll need to do your research to find who will accept it. Here’s the bad news: those polystyrene nuggets are heading for landfill.

Put pressure on your suppliers that you won’t accept anything in non-recyclable packaging.

Coffee pods

The coffee machine is possibly one of the most important gadgets in the kitchen, aside from the kettle, of course.

But those coffee pods are tough to recycle. You may be able to strip them down and place in your recycling bins or you can send them back to the manufacturer via their recycling scheme.

Not all coffee machine makers do this though so do your research before buying a new machine.


Some light bulbsare more difficult to recycle than others…

  • New, energy efficient light bulbsof all shapes and sizes can be recycled can be recycled at local authority recycling centres (or ask your office recycling contractor).
  • The old style light bulbscan be recycled so off to landfill it goes.
  • Fluorescent tubes can be recycled at some larger retailers like IKEA and Tesco or check with your local recycling centre.

Plastic bags

Another common packaging material, they can’t be recycled alongside the hard plastic bottles. You’ll need to stuff them in the collection bins of local supermarkets or have a word with your recycling contractor.

plastic bags

Takeaway coffee cups

Usually coated with a wax covering, these cups cannot be put in the cardboard recycling bin. If you run a business, encourage staff to use a ceramic mug or travel cup for their take-out coffee but otherwise, it has to go in the bin.


They may be made of paper and cardboard but for older books especially, the glue poses a huge problem when it comes to recycling. You can always donate them to libraries or other community hubs. Other than that, you can have a chat with your local authority who may have the means the deal with stripping them down and recycling what they can.

recycle books

Sticky tape

Paper or cardboard that has the sticky residue on it is super-difficult to mulch into a good enough product to reuse and so even though your intentions are good, envelopes, packaging and other paper products with sticky tape or glue residue won’t make it to the recycling plant.

*Foil shouldn’t be placed in the recycling with food residue on it. Did you know that? Foil food pouches can’t be recycled either!

Now one thing you definitely can recycle are your old ink and toner cartridges and this is where we can help. Contact us for your FREE recycling bag.

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