Five common recycling myths busted!

Since becoming more eco we’ve heard, and believed, our fair share of myths around recycling. On reading up on this topic we found even more that we had believed so keep an eye out for part two!

With so many myths going around it’s hard to know which are true and false without putting in a lot of research so here are our top five everyday recycling myths busted!

All receipts are recyclable
False

The common misconception is that because they are seemingly all made from paper they must be recyclable but this isn’t the case. Generally as a rule receipts that are printed on shiny paper aren’t recyclable while those printed on non-shiny paper are recyclable.

The shiny paper is thermal paper which reacts with the heat in printers, and contains BPAs, making it non-recyclable. While sometimes there is no clear way of telling the difference just have a look and feel of the texture. Alternatively when shopping ask the cashier to not print a receipt and where possible get them emailed to you.

The green dot icon means your item is recyclable
False

The green dot symbol, the one that looks like two green arrows hugging, is really misleading as it suggests the item is recyclable however this is sadly a myth. In actuality it means that the producer of the material financially contributed to the recycling and recovery of packaging elsewhere.

To find out whether an item is recyclable make sure you check the packaging thoroughly to make sure you’re putting them in the correct recycling bins. You can also check online guides like this one.

Green dot recycling symbol

Film lids are recyclable
False

The flimsy plastic covers that come on packets of strawberries, tomatoes and a load of other fruit and veg, contrary to common belief, are not recyclable. People go to the effort of rinsing these containers with film lids attached but the lid needs to be put in with general waste. As detailed on the container it specifies that these plastic film lids are not recyclable.

Recycling consumes more energy than it saves
False

Extracting raw materials such as oil to make reusable materials requires a lot of energy – up to 95% less energy is needed to make products using recycled materials than making them from scratch. Recycling saves energy and as a result helps save resources and protect the environment from unwanted waste.

Washing recyclables before recycling isn’t necessary
False

Emptying and cleaning items before recycling them is really important otherwise they can contaminate other recycling as soon as they hit the rubbish truck. The risk is if enough contaminated items get in with the rest of the recycling load it can all be sent to landfill. To save energy further rinse the items in your washing up water rather than running the tap to clean them.

With more convincing myths coming our way on a weekly basis we’ll be back with installment two of debunking soon!


Lauren works for a public health charity, is our resident vegetarian (11years!) and volunteers for an animal charity in her spare time. Her favourite eco product is the Face Halo.

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