Borough Insight

Don’t let your recycling go to waste

In caring for the environment, we all want to recycle as much as we can, and Epsom and Ewell residents are doing a fantastic job, with recycling rates above the national average. However, an increasing number of incorrect items are making their way into the recycling, which can prevent good material from being recycled. This isn’t just a local issue but is being seen nationally.right thing right bin

This is why we’ve produced a leaflet called ‘Right thing, right bin’ that we’re currently sending to all houses within the borough.

Sometimes what we’re getting is non-recyclable rubbish that should go in your black refuse bin. And sometimes it's recyclable stuff that should actually go in your other recycling containers for food, textiles or glass. Either way, it's expensive to sort this out from your green bin recycling, and it can reduce the amount that actually gets recycled. This increases our expenditure and therefore costs you, the taxpayer, money. And money we’re spending on this issue could have been used on other services.

Rejected recycling ends up being general waste and is burnt or ends up in landfill  both of which is what we should strive to avoid if we are to mitigate climate change.

Some recent recycling questions you’ve asked

  • What happens to my recycling, does it get dumped in the third world and does it really get recycled?
    We’re careful what happens to your recycled material. We want to recycle it effectively and with due regard to the planet – we have information on our website detailing what material goes where – here

  • Why is it OK to put plastic bags in food waste but not in the green recycling bin?
    We’ve created a dedicated page on our website to answer this oft asked question - here

  • Why can’t I recycle all types of glass in my glass recycling box?Pizza box
    Window glass, glass tumblers and Pyrex jugs and similar cookware are made from tempered glass. This is chemically different from the glass used to make bottles and jars. Tempered glass melts at a higher temperature than ‘bottle’ glass. This means that it can cause un-melted blobs to appear in the recycled glass creating serious quality issues.

  • Why can’t I recycle wallpaper?
    Wallpaper is not currently recycled because unlike other paper it has added vinyl coatings and/or textured effects often applied to make it water resistant and durable.

  • I’ve read I can’t recycle pizza boxes, can I?
    If the pizza box is fairly clean and not too greasy, it can go in your recycling. If there is grease from the pizza toppings (cooked cheese, salami and other oils) soaked into the cardboard then please put it in your black refuse bin.  This is one of the major recycling issues in the USA (where else) where complex diagrams are often used to show the amount of grease on the box that is acceptable – our advice; if in doubt, put it in the black refuse bin.


Your comments (1 comment)

  • Robin GouldAugust 20, 2019

    My green bin has a Council issued sticker on the lid showing the 'old' recycling criteria - can I get an updated one?

    The sticker was produced for the Big Switch. The only real difference between then and now is that the sticker said “Any plastics” while we have now switched to the plastics detailed in the Right thing, right bin leaflet. This is due to changes in what we can get recycled.

    We have not produced any new bin-lid stickers since the Big Switch and, with the vast majority of bins having lost their stickers, I’m afraid we have no plans replace these.

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