Recycling is by no means the perfect way to dispose of your waste, but it is a very easy place to begin if your practice is looking to reduce their waste being sent to landfill!

What are the benefits of recycling?

  • Reduce emissions produced from incineration of unnecessary waste
  • Stop unnecessary waste being sent to landfill
  • Conserve valuable resources and energy
  • Prevent pollution (reducing the demand for raw materials)
  • Protect ecosystems and wildlife (E.g. fewer forests cut down)

How can you make recycling work for your practice?

  • Communicate with your team – get everyone involved
  • Make it easy – place multiple recycling bins around your practice
  • Place a poster of recyclable materials near each recycling area
  • Ensure items are clean (E.g. drinks bottles rinsed out) – this will prevent foul odours in your bin and ensure items are more likely to be recycled
  • Be realistic – mistakes will be made! Just learn and move on

What can we recycle in practice?

Each area (and country) will be different, so it is important to check which materials your local council will accept.

Generally, mixed recycling may include:

  • Plastic bottles
  • Plastic packaging
  • Cardboard
  • Paper (not paper towels)
  • Metal packaging

Other items which can be recycled but not with your mixed recycling include:

  • Batteries (supermarkets)
  • Electronics (local recycling centre)
  • Ink cartridges (local schools or charities)
  • Bubble wrap and soft plastics (supermarkets)
  • Glass (recycling points)
  • Fabrics (recycling points or textile banks)

Check out Recycle Now for UK laws and tips and tricks if you are unsure! If there are materials you don’t know what to do with, you can find some more information at this link here!

Example of common items to recycle in practice include:

  • Plastic bottles (disinfectant bottles, purified water bottles, staff drinks)
  • Hard plastics (trays from vaccinations)
  • Soft plastics (bubble wrap, carrier bags)
  • Any cardboard packaging
  • Shredded paper
  • Scrap paper
  • Paper packaging
  • Metal items (patient food, staff drinks)
  • Ink cartridges

TerraCycle

Another great way to recycle items in practice is to get involved with TerraCycle. According to their website, TerraCycle is Eliminating the Idea of Waste® by recycling the “non-recyclable”.

They offer many recycling streams for otherwise non-recyclable materials, including;

  • Pet food packaging
  • Empty medicine blister packets
  • Tassimo coffee pods
  • Crisp packets

TerraCycle also team up with specific companies to recycle their products. Examples include Lilies Kitchen, Carex and Flash.
Check them out at and see if your practice could benefit!


To have a look at some more sustainability themed blogs, and ways to reduce your carbon footprint in practice you can have a look at my past writing here.