Help! What shouldn’t I be recycling?

We’re all trying to be a little more eco conscious these days. Reducing our waste, reusing what we can and recycling what we can’t. But recycling is so confusing! Each council is different in terms of what they can and cannot recycle, so unfortunately we can’t give you a list of things to pop in your recycling bin. But we can help with what you can’t recycle.

Since starting out as Eco Camp campsites in 2011 we have always had a strong ethos of providing environmentally and ecologically sensitive campsites

Our philosophy is to allow children and families to get back to nature whilst living lightly on the land

Read more about our campsite philosophy here

Between 2012 and 2016 there was an 84% increase in recycling being rejected because of contamination by non-recyclable items. That often means that all of it gets sent to landfill, so all that good work we’ve done is undone in mere seconds.

Make just these small changes to what goes into your recyling bin and it can make the world of difference. Here is our guide to what you can’t recycle.

1. Plastic bottle tops

Although some are recyclable they seem to cause more trouble than it’s worth. Leaving the lid on means it is more likely they’ll be liquid in the bottle, which can’t be processed properly. It also means air can be trapped inside the bottle causing problems within the machines. If you feel the need to leave the top on – make sure you squeeze all of the air out of the bottle first and then replace the lid.

2. Coffee cups

Cafes and coffee shops are getting better and better at using recyclable materials in their coffee cups. But many of them have a polyethylene liner (used for waterproofing) which makes the cup more difficult to recycle. Get yourself a reusable mug and you won’t need to worry about which ones are recyclable anymore.

3. Anything with food residue

Whether it’s the pizza box from last nights takeaway or tin cans from the supermarket. It cannot be recycled if it has food on it. Tear off the greasy part of the pizza box and wash out your bottles and tins before your put them in the recycling bin.

4. Plastic bags

Buy yourself reusable bags and or keep reusing your plastic ones. Many people are putting recyclable items into plastic bags and then in the bin. This will not be recycled. Lots of local supermarkets offer plastic bag recycling so check out your local store if you have some to get rid of.

5. Wrapping paper

There has been a surge in recent years in sales of brown paper packaging. This CAN be recycled and looks cute with some string tied around it in a bow. Scrap the metallic stuff which can’t be recycled and stop adding it to your recycling bin.

6. Nappies and Wet Wipes

Just don’t put them in the recycling. We are very sensitive to the fact that these do need to be used but have you thought about reusable nappies and biodegradable wet wipes? There are some fantastic alternatives out there.

7. Crockery/glassware

Ever broken a mug and thought it was a good idea to pop it in the recycling to do your bit? Unfortunately this can’t be recycled. Donate the good stuff to charity and use the broken pieces for arts and crafts.

8. Receipts

Most (but not all) receipts are printed on thermal paper which is coated in a chemical substance. These chemicals can be quite harmful when released into our environment so we should not be recycling these. Ask for an email receipt instead, if it’s available.

9. Cellotape

Most recyclers won’t take anything with cellotape or sticky tape on it, as it can’t be processed. Just make sure to remove it from your paper or card before popping it in the recycling.

10. Kitchen roll

Unfortunately things can’t be recycled twice due to the reduced size of the fibres. A lot of kitchen roll is made from recycled paper so it can’t be recycled again.


To finish, here are a few things you CAN recycle that are not so widely known!

Kitchen foil – it does need to be large enough for the machines to pick up. So keep all of your foil until you can screw it up into the size of your fist and then throw it in the recycling. Make sure to clean off any food residue beforehand.

The scrunch test – if you have a shiny foil wrapper and are not sure if it can be recycled. Scrunch the wrapper in your hand and if it springs back open it is not recyclable.

Empty aerosols – deodorants, hairsprays, polish – pop them in the recycling bin!

Metal lids – the kind on top of your jam jars etc are fine to recycle.

Bleach bottles – in fact most plastic bottles are fine to recycle. Rinse, squeeze all the air out and replace the lid before putting in the recycling.

Although we’ve checked if these items can be recycled, some areas can differ so please with your local council first.

For a list of suprising items you can recycle via specific companies check out this article. It’ll help you recycle light bulbs, reading glasses, inhalers, bicycles, tennis balls, cosmetic containers and more!

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Coronavirus Update

Based on Government guidance we have opened both Beech Estate and Wild Boar Wood Campsites on July 4th, 2020. *** Please note any new bookings made after July 6th, 2020 until further notice, that are unable to commence due to Government guidance regarding COVID-19, will be offered credit notes for 18 months. This applies to booking made directly on our website only. ***