5 tips for recycling on the go

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5 tips for recycling on the go

Modern life seems to keep us busy 24/7, and as a result we’re buying more food and drink ‘on the go’ than ever before. While it’s super convenient (who doesn’t love a meal deal), it also means we’re left with a lot more rubbish, from bottles, wrappers and packaging.

There isn’t always an option to recycle this packaging when we’re out and about, and why we've been working hard to change that with #InTheLoop, a campaign boosting on-street recycling that started in Leeds and has since expanded to several other cities. We also launched funding and a toolkit for councils to deliver #InTheLoop recycling bins themselves.

If our bright yellow bins haven’t visited your city yet, here are some simple steps to help you recycle more on the go.

These tips are part of something bigger. At Hubbub, we want to see a world where everyone makes choices that are good for the environment. Check out what we do and how your actions add up.

1) Empty it first

Leftover food and liquid are a big problem for recycling. Obviously you can’t clean packaging while you’re on the go, but make sure you finish or empty out any leftovers before throwing them in a recycling bin, as leftovers can ‘contaminate’ the rest of the recycling meaning the whole collection might not be recyclable!

2) Reduce and reuse

If you can, the best option is to avoid single use altogether, and use reusable coffee cups as well as other food and drink containers. Most places will be happy to serve you or pack leftovers in your own Tupperware if you bring it. Check out our guide for a smooth switch to reusable cups, or plan and bring lunch from home whenever you can.

3) The easy ones

While plastic is almost impossible to avoid, most plastic bottles are made of PET plastic which is widely recycled in the UK (unlike plastic such as cling film). It can be easily turned into items like a new bottle, clothing or even our Plastic Fishing boats. Cans are made from a valuable metal that can be endlessly recycled. Did you know you could buy the same can within as little as 60 days once recycled? That’s all it takes to be recycled and back on the shelf. Both of these are easy recycling wins.

If you can’t see a recycling bin on the go, pop your empty bottle or can back in your bag and recycle it at home.

4) The tricky ones

Coffee cups can be tricky as although they are recyclable, they need their own special recycling bin and collection. This is because they have a plastic lining to make them waterproof, that needs a special process to separate and recycle correctly. Their lids also still aren’t recyclable and need to be removed. So for cups make sure they’re empty, separate the lid and recycle them only if there’s a specific cup bin. There might not be cup bins on the street but you can find them in Costa, McDonald’s or Starbucks stores and use them with ANY cup, regardless of where you bought it.

5) If in doubt...

If in doubt, leave it out. It’s not just leftover food, contamination by different materials can ruin recycling collections as well. So if you’re not sure whether your packaging belongs in that bin, it’s better to just put it in the general one.

We do more than recycling. 

Ever wondered what food you can freeze, or how to make your smartphone last longer? Find out below.

See Hubbub in action 

From Community Fridges that cut food waste to Ballot Bins that halve cigarette litter, our campaigns show what taking action that's good for the environment looks like in practice.