PLASTIC FREE HOME: Recycling Myths, Mistakes and Misunderstandings

David Lamont

With the aim of clearing up a few things (no pun intended) when it comes to our rubbish and recycling, we spoke to re3, the waste management partnership between Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham Borough Councils responsible for waste disposal.

And remember to download the excellent free re3cylopedia app on mobile. Enter an item, your postcode and find out how to correctly dispose of it.

Which items are commonly placed in landfill that could be recycled?

1. Glass bottles and jars (use bottle banks or a local recycling centre)

2. Textiles (use textile banks or a local recycling centre)

3. Garden waste (use a brown bin, garden waste sacks or a local recycling centre)

4. Plastic trays

5. Tetrapak cartons

Which items are incorrectly placed in kerbside recycling most often?

1. Black plastics

2. Shredded paper (it is preferable to home compost this instead)

3. Crisp packets and other wrappers (currently not recyclable at the kerbside. Local drop off points are provided by TerraCycle)

4. Paper towel

5. Toothpaste tubes (also collected by TerraCycle)

What can go in kerbside recycling bins?

Dry paper and cardboard, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays – including detergent bottles, cleaning bottles, yoghurt pots, ice cream tubs, fruit or meat trays, metal food tins and drinks cans, clean aluminium foil and trays , Tetrapak food and drink cartons and aerosols.

Why can’t Wokingham residents recycle glass at home?

This would require additional investment. Residents are already very conscientious and effective glass recyclers and our bottle banks are well used.

What percentage of waste that you process is incinerated, put into landfill and recycled? And how much leaves the UK?

In 2017/18, 39% of waste from Wokingham Borough was reused, recycled or composted. Over 50% was sent to the Energy from Waste plant and 8% landfilled. Currently, around. 80% of our recycling happens within the UK, including all plastic recycling.

What percentage of the waste that could be recycled currently is?

Our last analysis showed that 10% of waste in blue bags could have been recycled via the black boxes or garden waste scheme. A further 7% consisted of textiles or glass bottles/jars which could have been deposited at locations around Wokingham Borough.

If recyclable items are incorrectly placed in blue bags, will they be recycled later on?

Unfortunately, all recyclable items placed in blue bags will not get recovered. All residual waste is loaded together and sent either to the Energy from Waste plant or to landfill.

Congratulations to Jane Draper from Wokingham on winning a Naked Necessities set in our recent competition.

For more tips and advice, join the online group at


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David Lamont
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