Mia recycles

in West Sussex

Mia recycles is a series of short videos to help West Sussex residents understand how they should be recycling and to cut the confusion around which items can and can’t be recycled.

The videos show residents what happens if their recycling is not clean, dry and loose, and also focuses on items which can and cannot be recycled in the bathroom, the kitchen and a takeaway night.

Mia also visits our Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Ford to show what happens to recycling once it has been collected and the problems we can face if items are wet, dirty or tied up in bags.

If you would like to know more about recycling, we have a useful A-Z list of what you can recycle and how.

You can also be sent regular information about recycling in West Sussex by signing up to our newsletter.

at home

Most of us are doing an amazing job of recycling as much as possible and this shows as our recycling rates in West Sussex are increasing.

But there are still some items slipping through which can’t be recycled, as Mia found out when she took a rummage through her family’s recycling.

You cannot recycle:

  • wet paper or cardboard
  • bottles which still contain any kind of liquid
  • jars, tins, or trays with food residue
  • recycling which is tied up in a bag

Clean, dry and loose

When it comes to sorting your recycling it really is as easy as A, B, C. There are just three simple steps which, if followed, will mean we can all recycle as much as possible.

Your recycling must be:

  • clean - free from food and drink leftovers - a quick rinse will usually do
  • dry - keep your recycling bin lid shut - soggy paper and cardboard can’t be recycled and cause other items to stick to them, for example, broken glass, and can clog up machinery when sorted
  • loose - not tied up in plastic bags.
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at the MRF

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Ever wondered what happens to your recycling when it gets collected? Mia took a trip to our Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) at Ford to find out what happens when people put recycling, which is dirty, wet or tied up in bags, into their recycling bins.

In West Sussex:

You can recycle at home:

  • Paper and card - cereal boxes, newspapers, magazines and egg boxes
  • Foil - takeaway containers, tin foil and foil trays
  • Glass - wine bottles, beer bottles, perfume bottles and jam jars
  • Metal - food, drink and pet food cans, empty aerosols and biscuit tins
  • Cartons - fruit juice cartons, milk cartons and soup cartons
  • Plastics - drinks/milk bottles, bathroom/laundry bottles, food/fruit/ready meal pots and plastic lids.

You cannot recycle at home:

  • Paper and card - shredded paper, paper towels and tissues
  • Foil - pet food pouches, food pouches and crisp packets
  • Glass - Pyrex and drinking glasses
  • Metal - cables, batteries and electrical items
  • Plastics - plastic lids smaller than a jam jar lid, plastic bags and plant pots.
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in the bathroom

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It can be easy to miss items that could be recycled in the bathroom. You might not have a separate recycling bin like many people do in the kitchen and most items need a little attention before they can be recycled (as Mia found out with her mum’s cosmetics).

Here’s a list of some items that might get missed:

You can recycle:

  • cardboard (toothpaste box and toilet roll tube) - flatten the cardboard before recycling so that they take up less space in your recycling bin
  • plastic bottles (shampoo, shower gel and cleaning products) - remove any small plastic lids and throw these away in your general waste, rinse out any remaining product from the bottle before recycling
  • trigger spray bottles (shower shine and lime scale removers) - if you can, remove the spray mechanism and dispose of this with your general waste before recycling the bottle. If you are not able to remove the trigger spray mechanism, please pop the whole bottle in your recycling bin. Remember to make sure that all bottles are empty and contain no liquid.

You cannot recycle:

  • wipes - these cannot be recycled and should not be flushed down the toilet
  • plastic bottle tops - anything smaller than a jam jar lid cannot be recycled and should be placed in your general waste bin.

in the kitchen

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The kitchen is the room that most households will find the most recyclable materials. We’re fortunate in West Sussex that we can recycle so many different types of packaging. As Mia reminded her family, remember to give your recycling a quick rinse to keep it free from food and drink leftovers.

Here’s a list of some items that might get missed:

You can recycle:

  • glass jars and bottles (jam jars, spreads, coffee, beer and wine bottles) - these can be recycled, they will just need to have a quick rinse so there’s no food or liquid residue. Lids need to be removed and, if the lids are made of metal, or jam jar sized or larger, they can also be recycled. If not, throw the lids in with your general waste, alternatively some local groups and charities will collect lids.  
  • plastic pots, tubs and trays (fruit punnets, ready-meal containers, meat trays and yoghurt pots) - in West Sussex we can recycle plastic containers of any colour (including black). Remember to give them a quick rinse, as well as providing clean material for plastic recyclers, you will also help to prevent food contamination on other recyclables, such as paper and card, which would make them unsuitable for recycling.

You cannot recycle:

  • cling film or plastic bags (crisp packets, salad bags, plastic carrier bags) - these items cannot be sorted by the automated sorting machinery, so cannot be recycled. Some supermarkets have recycling points for plastic bags. Alternatively, some local groups or charities may collect these.
  • pyrex or drinking glasses (glass roasting dishes and wine glasses) - these items melt at a much higher point than other glass, so cannot be recycled in your recycling bin at home.

For a full list of everything that can and can’t be recycled at home please see our A-Z guide.

on takeaway night

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Take some of the guilt out of your next takeaway by remembering to recycle afterwards.

There are so many items that can recycled after a takeaway night, so we thought we’d give you a handy list of items that often get forgotten about:

You can recycle:

  • plastic and foil (takeaway containers) including the lids - these items can be recycled, as long as they’re cleaned of any leftover food and then left to dry
  • drinks cans (fizzy drinks and beer) - cans can be recycled, as long as they have been emptied
  • glass and plastic bottles (fizzy drinks, wine and squash) - bottles made of plastic and glass can be recycled, as long as they are empty and clean. Remember to remove the bottle tops and pop this in your general waste bin or alternatively, some local charities collect them
  • metal bottle tops (metal caps on wine bottles and foil wrap on drinks bottles) - remove metal bottle tops and put them with your recycling. The magnets at the materials recycling facility will pick these up and sort them for recycling.

You cannot recycle:

  • small plastic bottle tops (lids on fizzy and squash bottles) - these are too small to be sorted by the machinery at the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) and could get caught in the machinery and cause it to stop working
  • plastic cutlery (plastic knives, forks and spoons) - disposable plastic cutlery is too small to be sorted and cannot be recycled.

Remembering to rinse off any food from the containers is important. Items that have leftover food or drink on them can ruin the quality of other recycling in your recycling bin. This can then spoil the rest of the other recycling in the recycling lorries and at the MRF. Items that are covered with leftover food and drink cannot be recycled.


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