Reducing our impact on the environment; Recycling and cutting down on plastics

I came across an interesting article on ‘wishcycling’ – the practice of adding something to the recycling bin in the hope that it will be recycled and avoid ending up in landfill, without checking that the item is fully recyclable.

As a way of reducing our impact on the environment, recycling is easy and accessible for most of us but to avoid falling into the trap of ‘wishcycling’ I’ve summarised the points from the article below:

Separate materials

If an item is made of more than one material—typically plastic and something else, like paper or metal—there’s a good chance it can’t be recycled curbside, unless you can separate the component parts. 

Clean your recycling

If there’s any sort of food or liquid residue on the item you’ve put out for recycling it will contaminate it and will likely be rejected at the recycling centre. Rinse out and dry things before recycling them.

Greasy cardboard, like pizza boxes should not be recycled, it’s not possible to get these completely clean and composting is a better option.

Plastics are very difficult to recycle correctly.

The triangle symbol might lead you to glance and assume the plastic can be recycled but it’s important to check the number inside the triangle.

This useful chart shows which of the plastics can be recycled easily in the UK, which need to be dropped at specialist points and which can’t be recycled at all.


Bearing this in mind, I’ve put together 10 simple ways to reduce your use of plastic.

  1. Carry a reusable shopping bag
  2. Get milk delivered where you can
  3. Carry a reusable water bottle
  4. Get a reusable cup for take away coffees
  5. Choose wine with natural cork stoppers
  6. Use beeswax wraps instead of cling film to wrap food
  7. Swap plastic containers for glass or ceramic jars to store food
  8. Bring your own containers to the butchers, fishmongers or these counters at the supermarket.
  9. Use paper tape or try ‘furoshiki’ for wrapping gifts
  10. Swap beauty products in plastic bottles for bar equivalents


Have you discovered any great ways to reduce your use of plastic? I’d love you to share them on my instagram channel.


Founder of Ondine

Cutting down on plastic waste
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