HCAU Guide to Recycling

The ultimate recycling guide

We are producing an unbelievably huge amount of waste. The amount is around 2 billion tonnes every year and it has been estimated that almost 80% of the waste we throw away could be recycled. Creating a sustainable earth is indeed important to each person on this planet, whether they accept this fact or not. There are plenty of easy ways to reduce waste, but I think the most important one at the end is recycling. However, it appears that not many of us recycle on a regular basis, considering how much waste we send to landfills annually.  One of the reasons could be that the accomplishment for recycling is not immediate, so it can be hard to make a relation between a daily habit and the consequences of the habits. Another could be that people simply forget to recycle because they are busy with their lives. However, I think the most important reason is that a big percentage of people are not sure what is recyclable and what is not. It is important to know what waste should go into which bin, however it is not always unambiguous. There is some stuff you should definitely not recycle, so you won’t contaminate the recycling system. To help, I created a guideline about where to put which type of waste. I hope it helps everyone to become a more environmentally conscious person.

What to put in your recycling bin


#1 Rigid Plastic/Bottles

Any plastic bottles found in your kitchen. However, don’t forget to collect the caps separately.

#2 Paper and Cardboard

Snack and cereal boxes, magazines and mail, office papers, newspaper, and cardboard are all welcome in your recycling bin.

#3 Metals

Steel cans such as beer cans and aluminium are recyclable, but don’t put spray cans into the recycling bin! Even though they are made of metal they could contain dangerous gases.

#4 Glass

Jars, alcohol bottles, soft drink bottles.


What not to put in your recycling bin


#1 Plastic bags and wraps

Plastic bags wrap around the recycling equipment, thus workers have to stop the machine, and throw the plastic bags into the landfills. However, they are recyclable in your local supermarket, along with other plastic shopping bags.

#2 Multi- layer bags, Pouches, and Wrappers, like Chip bags.

Crinkly bags, and other flexible packagings like candy or granola bar wrappers, or baby food pouches, should not go to the recycling bin as they are made of many layers of different materials.

#3 Clothing

Your clothes are only recyclable through textile collection points, or in H&M shops. Or if you have clothes that are still good condition, donate them in any charity shops. Whatever you do keep them away from your recycling bin.

#4 Wood

Things such as ice pop sticks, or much bigger pieces from protective packaging for furniture or appliances appear recyclable, but they are not. However, you could check to see if you have a composting program in your community.

#5 Drinking glasses

The material which our drinking glasses are made of is more durable than glass packaging and have a different melting point as well. Sadly, there is no system created yet to handle these, so put them in the normal bin.

#6 Hazardous material

Don’t recycle products that are ignitable, corrosive, or toxic such as oil paint, motor oil, fuel, poisons, or medical waste. It is essential to take more care when disposing of these hazardous items. If not handled correctly, they can harm water quality, wildlife, and human health.

#7 Batteries and electronics

Televisions, computers, batteries, phones, keyboards, hair driers, vacuum cleaners – basically anything electronic – should never be put into the recycling bin. These products can either be donated or recycled separately if you take them to your local electrical products collection point. 

#8 Food waste

You can recycle food by composting it. Even if you have recyclable food packaging you should always clean out any food residue before putting it into the recycling bin.

#9 Ceramics

Ceramics, like pottery and dishes, are not recyclable so you should either put them in the normal bin, or donate them to charity shops if they are in a good condition.

#10 Cosmetics

You can also take these to be recycled into your local recycling centre.

#11 Lids and caps

While the bottles themselves can be recycled, their caps cannot as they are made of another type of plastic (polypropylene) and should be collected and recycled separately. This goes for laundry detergent caps, peanut butter lids, or even yoghurt caps

#12 Napkins and paper towels

These usually contain too much residue, so don’t put them into the recycling bin.

#13 Brightly dyed paper

Paper can be recycled 6-7 times but if it has been dyed, it will be like a black sock in your white laundry and affect the other paper being recycled.

If you are in doubt, you should leave your rubbish out of the recycling bin in order to avoid contaminating other valuable recyclable materials. On the products themselves, you can look for the way it can be recycled or go to the How2recycle website for more information.

There are three recycling centres to use in Aberdeen:

  • Aberdeen Recycling: AB25 1DH, 79-81 Loch St
  • Recycling Centre: AB22 8WQ, Jesmond Dr, Bridge of Don
  • Aberdeen Recycling: AB11 5HS, 39 Justice street.

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