Confused by Recycling Symbols? Get to Grips with What Means What for Recycle Week 2017

We recycle more than 44% of our household rubbish as a nation, according to the government statistics (Defra). It’s good, but is it good enough?

Research from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) shows that around half of us recycle products from the bathroom, compared with almost 90% of us who claim to regularly recycle items from the kitchen (because, let’s face it, how many of us have a recycling bin in the bathroom?).

It’s important to know just how vital recycling all around the house is, especially as recycling a mere three empty deodorant cans equates to enough energy to power a shower for eight minutes!

This week is Recycle Week, and the latest survey from national recycling campaign Recycle Now shows that eight out of 10 people believe recycling ‘makes a difference’ but few know how! Over a quarter believe we don’t see the direct benefit of recycling – in reality, recycled card is highly likely to be used for new items on supermarket shelves, for example.

‘We know that understanding the recycling process motivates people to recycle,’ says Linda Crichton, head of Recycle Now.

‘Our aim this Recycle Week is for more people to find out their deodorant could come back in a mobile phone, or their sweetie box as a toothpaste box – and, as a result, be encouraged to recycle more because they can see it’s worth it.’

You can probably recycle far more than you think you can. Look out for the on-pack recycling label (or OPRL) which can be found on all types of packaging, from drink cans and bread bags to milk cartons and shampoo bottles. These labels help you to know if something can be collected for recycling or taken to your local authority. Not everything will have a label, though, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be recycled!

Our infographic below shows you what some of the most common symbols mean: