Recycling. Most people agree it’s essentially good. In fact according to a recent article 99% of Britons actively recycle in order to protect the planet. This is definitely a stat worth shouting about; plastic has been hitting the headlines big time recently after the success of Blue Planet II and we’re becoming increasingly aware that when we throw our rubbish away it doesn’t just disappear. It’s incredibly important to keep materials in the loop, but are we recycling the right stuff?

With each council having its own rules the consensus on what you can and can’t recycle can be a little bit muddled. What's worse, putting the wrong items in the recycling bin can spoil whole batches of recycling. Luckily there are some hard and fast rules you can follow wherever you are to make sure as much as possible can be recycled. These rules are pretty universal but for the full list of what you can recycle in your area head to your councils website.

1) Give stuff a rinse

Getting as much food out of containers as you can makes plastic and aluminum much easier to recycle. Sometimes if really dirty things are put in recycling, it can contaminate other things meaning a whole collection may have to go to waste.

2) Check packaging labels

Sometimes it can be easy to mix up 'recyclable' for 'widely recycled'. Some things, like coffee cups, can technically be recycled but because of their mix of cardboard and plastic, they need a particular process which isn't found in normal 'widely recycled' collections. Check the labels of your packaging and be sure to only put things that are recycled in your collection bins.

3) Beware of black trays

Black plastic trays are often coloured with carbon black which makes it undetectable for a lot of sorting machines. This means a lot of black plastic ends up as residue either to be burnt or sent to landfill. An easy way to avoid this is to use your purchasing power and try and buy food in clear or white plastic when you’re at the supermarket, (of course this is unless you can avoid excess packaging all together).

4) Recycle your batteries

Batteries can’t be recycled in your curbside collection and they can cause trouble if left in landfill as they leach chemicals into the soil. But never fear they are super easy to recycle in most major supermarkets and electronics retailers. October is #BringBackHeavyMetal month so there's been no better time to recycle your batteries. To find your nearest battery collection point click here

To find our what happens to our recycling after bin day the Hubbub Investigates team donned their detective gear and headed down to the Suez recycling plant in Birmingham. To get a behind the scene look watch the video below!

Enjoyed that? Check you this video which explores what happens to make a 100% recycled plastic bottle and how easy it is to use recycled plastic.