Recycling logo

How to improve & increase your recycling

The UK’s household recycling rate was 45.2 per cent in 2016, which improved upon 2015’s rate of 44.6 per cent. However, there is still much work to be done to boost these figures and improve our country’s efforts. We have gathered together some handy ways below to easily improve your recycling at home and when you are out and about.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Always keep these three words in mind and you won’t go far wrong: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. In summary this means avoid creating waste where you can, but where you do create it, reuse it and/or recycle it instead of sending it to landfill. Upcycling is another option, where you re-purpose something instead of getting rid of it.

Find out what you can and can’t recycle

Plastic bottles can be recycled
Check what can be recycled

This may seem obvious, but actually a recent poll revealed that a lot of Brits have no idea what they should and shouldn’t be putting in their recycling bins! So take the time to read up on what can and can’t be recycled in your area or by your waste management company, and stick to it — non-recyclables mixed in with recycling can spoil whole batches of recycling, which is bad news for the planet and ruins the efforts of others.

Buy recycled goods

Where you can, buy recycled goods. This eliminates the need for more virgin materials to be used, increases the demand for recycled products, and creates a recycling loop. Recycled products are widely available and you’ll start spotting them in shops and online as soon as the idea is in your mind.


Kitchen scraps for composting
Kitchen scraps for composting

If you don’t already have a compost bin, now is the time to create one. Chucking food waste such as leftovers, veg cut-offs and such on a compost heap means they will rot down and create a lovely fertiliser for your garden — meaning you won’t need to buy one! Find out more about composting at home, here.

Donate unwanted items

Instead of binning unwanted items or things you no longer need, where they’ll end up in landfill, offer them to friends and family, donate them to a charity shop, or list them on a website such as eBay or Freecycle. One person’s junk is another’s treasure.

Make recycling fun for kids

Kids recycling
Make it fun for kids

Don’t worry too much about educating your kids on the importance of recycling when they’re really young — you can do that when they are old enough to understand and take it on board — but instead work on making recycling second nature for them by placing coloured recycling bins around the house. Make it fun and they’ll be more than happy to get involved! We wrote a whole blog post on this subject, which you can read here.

Get your whole household recycling

It’s not just kids that need some encouragement when it comes to recycling waste! Get your entire household thinking about it. Ensure you have a dedicated space for recycling, giving everyone no excuse not to recycle. The easier you make it, the more likely people are to do it.

Do you have any other tips for recycling? Share them in the comments.

Published by

Lucy Ravenhall

Lucy is a long-standing editor of the Forge Recycling blog and loves writing about her environmental passions.