Do you actually know what you can and can't put in the recycling bin?

We all know we should recycle, but apparently people are still confused over what you can and can’t put in your recycle bin.

A survey commissioned by the British Science Association found that large numbers of people still don’t know exactly what they should be recycling – with some mistakes meaning that whole bags of recycling end up going to landfill.

The Recycling Association say: “If in doubt, throw it out” as it’s better than putting the wrong items in the recycling bin, but here are some things that are commonly confused.



Kitchen foil and foil trays

According to the survey, two thirds of people thought these couldn’t be recycled when actually, as log as they’re clean, they can.

Deodorant aerosols and hairspray cans

You might assume that you can’t recycle empty deodorant aerosols and hairspray cans, but you actually can –  along with the plastic cap.

Metal can lids

More than half of those surveyed didn’t realise that you can recycle metal can lids, so think again next time you throw that baked bean tin lid away.

Empty surface cleaner and bleach bottles

You could be forgiven for assuming that empty surface cleaner bottles and empty bleach bottles can’t be recycled because of the substances that have been inside them, but they also can be recycled.

Kitchen roll

It’s paper, right? So it’s fair that you’d assume that kitchen roll can go in the recycling bin. Actually, you and almost half of those surveyed are wrong – you can’t.

Coffee cups

The same goes for coffee cups – 24% of people surveyed thought they can be recycled, but they can’t because of their plastic lining.

Shampoo and conditioner bottles

Yes, you can recycle these but only if you empty and rinse them out first.

Food containers

Another common mistakes is people failing to wash their food containers. If you don’t and still chuck them in the recycling bin, the whole lot’s likely to get rejected.

Tissue boxes

How many tissue boxes have you thrown in the recycling? But did you take the plastic out of them? You can only recycle them if you do, so make sure you whip that out, otherwise the whole lot’s going to landfill.

(All pictures: Getty)