Rubbish and litter is an inevitability. Everybody accumulates waste and rubbish that has to be disposed of. The average person in the United Kingdom disposes of over 5 kilos of rubbish a week in their rubbish bin – a quarter of a tonne a year.

All that waste has to go somewhere too. It is either buried in landfills, burnt or it can be recycled. However, not everything can be recycled and much of what we throw away in our rubbish bins isn’t biodegradable, meaning it can linger around landfills for decades – damaging the environment in the process.

Types of rubbish

The type of rubbish we throw away can be divided into five different categories. Some of which is biodegradable, some which isn’t:

  • Plastic – Most plastics aren’t biodegradable. Many can’t be recycled either which is why the use of plastics is becoming an increasing environmental concern.
  • Paper/card – from packaging to newspapers most paper can be recycled in some for or another. Paper recycling bins and recycling containers make it easy to store before it is taken away.
  • Tins and metals – Most metals can be recycled and special recycling facilities exist in most towns and cities to deal with it.
  • Ceramics and glass – Both can be recycled so look out for bottle banks or glass recycling bins.
  • Organic waste – from lawn trimmings to the garden to food scraps fro the kitchen. The least harmful to the environment, organic waste is useful as compost and fertilisers.


Recycling is essential if we are to keep in check our growing need for landfill and the increase in rubbish that is being discarded. Different types of recycling bins are available for both public and home use.

Household recycling bins, for inside the home, are often separated into compartments to make recycling easier. The rubbish can then be disposed of in the relevant outdoor bins. Often recycling bins are colour coded to make the process easier.

Can bank

Can bank

Non-recyclable waste

Waste that is thrown in the rubbish bin and can’t be recycled can become a nuisance, especially many plastics that linger in the environment. Look to ways to reduce the amount of plastics and packaging you consume to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill. You will be surprised at how little you really do need to throw away in the waste bin.

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