In an article published on July 2, 2019 in The Guardian, correspondent Linda Geddes provides a set of tips for effective recycling within current recycling systems. The article references a range of published studies and interviews carried out with various recyclers and environmental organizations. While certain aspects are focused on providing insight for recycling within the United Kingdom, some of the advice is also generally applicable to other countries as well. Tips include focusing on reduction and reuse rather than recycling, as well as the importance of separating material streams, properly rinsing cans and bottles, and being aware of the potential limitations of compostable plastics.

The title of the article refers specifically to avoiding black plastic food packaging due to its long-standing difficulty to sort during the recycling process (FPF reported), however black plastics are also prone to chemical contamination due to the potential contamination of recycling streams with plastics from electrical products (FPF reported). While the article notes that the recycling of flexible packaging (referred to in the article as soft plastics) is technically possible, recycling infrastructure for such materials vary greatly by country and even by municipality (FPF reported). Many areas do not have the infrastructure to recycle plastic films, and consumers should take care to check in advance. The article highlights that many of the recommendations are given considering the current range of packaging materials on the market and recycling infrastructure available to consumers.


Linda Geddes (July 2, 2019). “Avoid black plastic food packaging – and the 16 other essential rules of effective recycling.” The Guardian