How can I dispose of different types of plastic?

Table to show how best to dispose of different types of plasticRecycling
Unfortunately, we cannot accept compostable, biodegradable or oxo degradable plastics in home recycling bins as, due to their make-up, they cannot be recycled with other plastics.

Home compost bin
If an item is labelled as being ‘suitable for home composting’, it can be placed in your home compost bin, although it is likely to take a long time to fully break down. Anything labelled as ‘suitable for industrial composting’ should not be placed in your home compost bin as they require specific conditions to break down, which are not present in a home compost bin.

Brown garden waste bin
Although the contents of the brown garden waste bins are taken to an industrial composting plant, the technology can’t distinguish between compostable plastic and regular plastic so all will be removed as contamination.

Food waste bin
If you receive a food waste collection where you live, please refer to your district council guidelines on what type(s) of plastic bag/caddy liners (if any) are acceptable.

For further information about compostable, biodegradable and oxo degradable plastics, please click here.

What is the best environmental solution?

So, if these new plastic materials aren’t an environmentally sound solution, what can we do? Here are some simple ideas to help to minimise the impact of waste and reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Only buy what you need – both in terms of food and products/clothing. Making a shopping list before you go to the supermarket or doing a quick wardrobe audit before you order that new top can help you to reduce unnecessary purchases that will either end up in the bin or languishing unloved in the back of the wardrobe
  • Look for products with no or minimal packaging – sometimes packaging can’t be avoided as it’s needed to protect food or fragile items from damage, but always try to opt for the absolute minimum
  • Opt for items made from sustainably sourced natural ingredients or materials – this reduces the impact on the natural environmentBamboo lunchbox
  • Choose reusable items – these are much better for the environment than single-use or throwaway items, and the chances are they’ll save you money in the long run too! Have a look at our swap2save pages for some great ideas
  • Buy preloved – keeping items or clothes in use for longer reduces the amount of energy and resources needed to make new ones. You can get something unique, save some money and help to save the planet too
  • Buy locally produced goods – this reduces the amount of transportation needed and can also reduce the amount of packaging required to protect the items whilst in transit
  • Compost at home – this is a great way to recycle fruit and vegetable scraps into compost for feeding the plants in your garden. There are several different types of bin available from your traditional composter to wormeries or even bokashi bins. Take a look at our composting pages for more information
  • Select items made with recyclable materials – if you can’t avoid packaging or non-reusable items, choose items that can be easily recycled. Recycling reduces the amount of raw materials and energy needed to create new products, however finding ways to reduce waste, and reuse as much as we can, should always be our first choices