The four main myths about recycling

Andrew here with my first post on this blog started with the recycling team in June and have been really interested in hearing people’s views on recycling. Throughout the summer we have had several chances to meet the general public at events and fairs. This has allowed our team to answer any concerns or questions that the public have.
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It has come to my attention that there are many misconceptions when it comes to the world of recycling and waste. I have written this blog post to address these common misconceptions and hopefully encourage everyone to recycle!

One person can’t make a difference

We often hear this statement when the topic of recycling comes up. If everyone thought this way then nothing would ever change! In reality, more and more people are recycling which helps both the environment and the local economy.

We are all responsible for reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. Not only is the price of sending waste to landfill increasing each year, it is having an adverse effect on the local environment. Under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 it will no longer be possible to send waste to landfill at current rates, and a ban will apply from 2020.

Our recycling rates have improved significantly over the past fifteen years. In 2000-01 the recycling rate in Aberdeen was just 4% and by 2013-14 it had increased to 38.4%. That’s a big increase but there is a long way to go. But every bit of recycling from everyone in the city helps us to increase this figure even more, so don’t think you can’t make a difference by recycling – you can!

Recycling is difficult and time consuming

This may have been the case many years ago but now there are many easy ways to recycle our household waste. Being brought up in Aberdeen, I have witnessed the change in the way we deal with our waste. Long gone are the days when we used to put black bin bags at the side of the road, which would inevitably be picked at by pesky seagulls.

In recent years we have introduced new domestic services including kerbside recycling, food waste and garden waste recycling and on-street food recycling bins and mixed recycling bins. There is now a network of Recycling Points and Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the city, which will recycle anything that can’t be taken by our collection teams including batteries, electrical items and cardboard food and drink cartons. So really, recycling couldn’t be easier!

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You can recycle anything that has the recycling arrow on it

We are currently unable to take certain materials that have the recycling symbol on them. The number that’s printed inside the arrows is what matters, and tells you what type of plastic you’re actually using. The recycling symbol can usually be seen on plastic items and in Aberdeen only some of these plastics can be taken.

Here is a helpful list of the plastic items that you can currently recycle in your black box:

  • Drinks bottles (with lids)
  • Milk bottles (with lids)
  • Sauce bottles
  • Shampoo bottles
  • Hand wash bottles
  • Cleaning product bottles

If you have access to a mixed recycling bin on your street, you can also recycle plastic tubs and trays.

Here is an explanation of what each recycling symbol means.

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Why should I recycle my food waste? It decomposes naturally!

Many people still think that because food waste decomposes there should be no problem with sending it to landfill. However, when food waste decomposes it releases a number of harmful gases into the atmosphere; mainly methane and carbon dioxide.

The best thing we can do with all our food waste is to compost it. You can recycle food waste either in your brown bin or in the food waste recycling bin on your street. We currently send all of our organic waste to Keenan Recycling at New Deer where it is turned into compost.

Here is some more information on food waste and why we should dispose of it correctly.

Happy recycling!


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