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Recycling: how you can help

89% of the UK recycles their waste, so we know that recycling is as important to you as it is to us. Here’s a chance to learn more about why it matters, along with some easy tips on things we can all do.

Why you should recycle

Recycling saves energy, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Current UK recycling is estimated to save more than 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year – that’s equivalent to taking 5 million cars off the road.

  • Metal and glass can both be recycled again and again without any loss of quality.
  • Recycling one bleach bottle saves enough energy to power a streetlight for 6.5 hours.
  • Recycling one tonne of paper can save 17 trees and 4,000 KW of energy (that’s enough to power a house for a year).
  • Around 5 litres of water are needed to make just one sheet of A4 paper. 
  • If everyone in the UK recycled all the glass we use, it would save enough energy to chill 56 bottles of wine each day for every UK household. 
  • If everyone in the UK recycled just one more can, it would save enough energy to power an electric train from Leeds to Brighton (and back) 6,000 times.

Top recycling tips

There are hundreds of easy-peasy ways to do your bit and help keep recyclable waste out of landfill. Here are just a few to try at home:

  • Replace lids and tops on plastic bottles – if they stay on the container they will get recycled. If they don’t, they’re too small to be detected at the recycling plant.
  • Squash empty bottles to save space.
  • Leave labels on. They’ll be removed in the recycling process (unless the packaging asks you to remove it).
  • Empty and rinse all containers to avoid food contamination. 
  • Triggers can be left on cleaning product bottles such as bathroom cleaners (soap bottles pumps need to be removed and put in the rubbish bin).
  • Don’t forget to recycle items from all rooms in the house (like the shampoo bottles from the bathroom).
  • Keep your recycling bin next to the main bin, so you can take out the rubbish and recycling at the same time.
  • The majority of the UK have doorstep recycling collection – please check with your local council if you don’t have a recycling box. 
  • Find out what you can and can’t recycle locally and where your nearest recycling point is with Recycle Now’s handy Recycling Locator.

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