Your guide to waste in Wokingham Borough

Are you in need of a guide for your waste? Research shows that there is so much uncertainty with what can or can’t go in certain bins across the country. Whether you’ve moved from a different council and the restrictions are different or you’ve not heard of them before. It’s important to dispose of waste properly. There are plenty of measures put in place to ensure that our waste doesn’t harm the environment but part of that relies on us using our various bins and bags correctly. So, here’s our guide to waste in Wokingham Borough, that way you can be part of the solution.

One blue bag per week is plenty for most homes 

Your blue bag waste is typically known as rubbish. Your Councils might also refer to this as residual waste. Most of the contents in here will go to incineration where energy will be created from the waste. This sounds good because there isn’t much going into landfill. But just like we use our waste hierarchy for reducing waste, sorting our bins out is just as useful when it comes to reducing the impact of our waste. Consider it like this: if you put a plastic bottle in your blue bag and it gets incinerated, yes you have some biogas, but you’re still pulling more oil from the sea to make plastic and incineration isn’t the cleanest method for getting energy. Instead, you could just pop it in your recycling, so it gets made into a new product, reducing the impact on the environment altogether. 

Now you understand why the blue bag is not always the best solution. We think it’s important to highlight what typically ends up in blue bags across the borough. In fact, only 37% of the items found in blue bags should be there. This means that as a collective, we could reduce our blue bag usage by nearly two-thirds. So, before you use your blue bag, ask yourself if the item really needs to go in there. 

Utilising your food waste bin  

This may come as a shock, but 24% of the waste found in blue bin bags is food. Even though food waste is collected weekly for recycling, the service is not used as much as it should be. Households that do use the service will no doubt save space in their blue bags for the non-recyclables. But if you’re unsure how you can utilise your food waste here are our top tips: 

  • If it’s out of date, remove it from the packaging and put it in the food waste bin 
  • Donate it to a community fridge (not your bin) where possible if you won’t use it 
  • If you have leftovers but nowhere to store them, pop them in your food waste bin 
  • Remember by-products of cooking can go in your food waste bin like chicken bones and banana peels 
  • Even tea bags can go in your food waste bin 

How else can you make the most of your waste in Wokingham? 

Aside from food, 22% of what goes into the blue bags in Wokingham is recyclable at the kerbside. That means 22% of items are simply being put in the wrong bin. You don’t need to take them to an Re3 centre like you do with household waste or a glass bank as you would with jars. 22% of waste in blue bags are items such as paper, metal, and plastic. Items that have been recyclable for decades and are the easiest to recycle. 

When you add it all up, it’s quite shocking to realise. 46% (food and other recyclables) of items in blue bags across the borough just need to be put in a different bin at home. It’s as simple as opening a different lid. Imagine the positive impact that can be created from simply using the correct bin for your food waste and household recycling!

Now that you’re aware of how waste is being removed from homes and dealt with in the borough it’s time to make a difference. If you’re recycling right and wasting as little as possible, could you help a relative, friend or neighbour to do better? If you spot someone putting out more than one blue bag, could you point them in the direction of Greenredeem or assist them in creating less waste? It’s important we share this information within the community to help reduce our impact. 

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