Like most things, recycling gets harder when you’re an adult. Your grownup brain has learned that not all plastics are equal – especially the plastic that looks like cardboard – and that it’s not as simple as putting
it in the recycle bin and hoping someone will sort it out for you if it doesn’t belong there.
When you do that, you’re committing the eco-crime known as wishcycling, which can lead to:
Yep, it’s a jungle out there, so here’s a quick rundown on what all those labels mean, with some tips to save you from future recycle bin sins.
A label that only goes on products that have been tested for their recyclability, with instructions to make it easier for you to pick the right bin.
Thanks to REDcycle, you can recycle a lot of soft plastics at participating supermarkets (think chip packets and bread bags). Some will have the REDcycle label or ARL ‘Store drop off’ instructions,
but it’s not limited to those items – so check their website for the full list.
A number in a recycle symbol indicates what kind of plastic it is. Rule of thumb: put 1 and 2 in your recycling and check what your council says for 3-7.
Of all the labels, this one’s the trickiest. Because while it means the product is technically recyclable, it doesn’t tell you what it’s made of – so you’ll need to do a bit more
research to find out if your council can actually recycle it.
Not all compostable packaging can go in your home compost (some need specialised treatment to break down), so this label is there to help you know which ones can.
Means the company donates money towards recycling products – not that the packaging itself is recyclable (so look for other labels to see if that’s the case).
Not a recycling label. Just a responsible guy reminding you not to litter.