What waste in which bin? Why is the household bins scheme so confusing

Posted By Blog Mod / Recycle / Comments are disabled

What bin do I use for the different household waste streams is a question that doesn’t seem to have a simple answer. In the UK there are so many different collection bins in use and a plethora of colours, shapes and sizes that you can be forgiven for finding the whole thing very confusing. 

People are often confused with which bin do I put my recycling into? Can I put glass in here too? Where do I put my food waste and what about my old toaster?  

Even an internet search can add to the confusion.  There are different schemes for different council boroughs so geography plays a major part in it too. Depending on where you live depends on what waste goes in which bin. Confused yet? Exactly!….It genuinely is a very confusing situation for even for the hardiest of recyclers. 

You see the powers that be at the city councils around the country can’t seem to decide on an exact uniform scheme that’s suitable for us all to follow, instead someone somewhere in their wisdom decided that it would be more interesting to have their own individual locally designed recycling and waste collection services each having separate rules and quite strict regulations to follow.  

For instance, take a look at the snapshot below of the Thurrock Council (Essex) .gov website. As you can see from the list of bins below the GREEN bins in Thurrock borough are for Non-Recyclable items and food waste. 

Then if you look at the snap shot below, we have taken this from the Leeds.gov website in Yorkshire and you can clearly see that the GREEN bin in this part of the country is for Recyclable items only and no food waste can be put in there. 

And it doesn’t end there, an internet search of a few different councils shows us that although some councils do have some bin colours and accepted waste streams in common as a whole it is bit of a multi coloured recycling minefield.  

Although some work has been done to have a common UK wide bin colour scheme, it would make sense that no matter where you are in the UK we should be able to recognise which bin accepts which waste stream in a simple to understand format, especially considering that one bag of wrong waste can contaminate the entire batch and render it useless and good only for landfill.  

Would it really that difficult to rollout a nationwide bin colour-scheme, it would go a long way to reducing the confusion and a simpler colour coded scheme would likely encourage more people to recycle instead of taking the easy route and filling the black general waste bin with all waste streams.  


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