Recycling household plastic waste

Recycling truck in Canberra

Image via Wikipedia

I occasionally wonder how this current period will be viewed historically by people in say a couple of hundred years time. So how have we made a name for ourselves? Well, I guess we are the pioneers of the digital age and the information explosion and I’ve been really lucky to see that in my lifetime. But on the downside, I think we’ll be viewed as very wasteful of our resources and an era who probably didn’t act quickly enough to counter the effects of global warming, which will probably be impacting on those people in 200 years time, if not before.

Anyway, doing my own small bit for the environment, we were recently issued with recycling bins by the local council for kerbside collection with a booklet advising us what they could recycle. That’s all fine – paper, magazines, cardboard, cans – until I came to plastic. Apparently, we can’t recycle all plastic, just certain types – PETE or PET and HDPE. Unfortunately, there’s quite a lot we just can’t recycle yet.

recycling symbols

(chart from

The real problem is that the symbols for the different types of plastic are often imprinted poorly and illegibly on what are very often transparent bottles and trays. There doesn’t seem to be any regulation regarding the size of symbols or where they should be located, whether on the paper label or on the container itself which is a problem I’m sure for people with poor eyesight and for those of us in a hurry. It can take time to find the symbol and a magnifying glass to read it! I’ve tried to show them on the collage below and have red-ringed the hard-to-spot symbols.

plastic collage

(photo collage made online at photovisi)

My point is that, to make it easier for everyone to recycle old plastic waste, please, please manufacturers, make the symbols large enough so that we can read them without needing a magnifying glass and put them in a consistent location so we can quickly find them and decide if the plastic waste can be recycled. And what about Braille information for the blind? If we want to improve our legacy to the generations that come after us, we all have to do our bit so please try and make it easier for us all to recycle our waste.

Have you any thoughts on recycling symbols and recycling in general? How is your local council doing on recycling? Drop a comment below.

5 Responses

  1. Matthyew Fritch Says:

    This was a great article, Fantastic.

  2. techandlife Says:

    Thanks very much. It really is encouraging to receive comments and to know that a post has been well received. It’s what spurs me on to keep blogging.

  3. Sarah Joseph Says:

    Thanks for this. We recently got a note through the door from the council (Hart, in Hampshire) explaining exactly what can go in the receyling bins, including only 1, 2 & 3 plastics. It’s been eye opening (and straining!) to search for the symbols and not find them as often as I’d hope. Polypropylene seems the most prevalent. Excellent idea to get the symbols more prominent, especially as I now try to find it before buying, in case I can choose recyclable at that point.

  4. Gribz Says:

    well a good place to recycle your PC is

  5. Gribz Says:

    another good place to recycle old laptops and computer assets is

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