Coming to UK 🇬🇧 changed my live. I remember when I looked into a bus window riding to the Oxford. I saw green fields, forests birds and animals, lots of animals. On university campus I saw multi-colored bins, designated smoking area and generally tidy roads. When I saw how much effort is done to protect the nature how much care British people put in everything that’s surrounds them, I am thinking how can I contribute.

Back in Russia the only thing I cared is collecting batteries 🔋🗑 and modern lightbulbs. Before living, I made a trip to local IKEA shop to dispose batteries into a special bin. Battery throwed into a landfill poison soil and getting in the water. At that moment in 20141 there was no way to dispose energy saving light bulbs so I stored them in a box with a warning note. ⚠️

Mixed Recycling.

Black rectangular bin with a sticker that shows whats recyclable.

As I learned, recycling saves money — which means less taxes, less energy, which is good for preventing Climate Change and it helps to reduce amount of waste we throwing into oceans and land. Less people give a though about Recycling and Nature in Moscow but here in 🇬🇧 everyone contributes to a some degree, from a local council to every home. Mixed Recycling is simple, you don’t need to separate glass from metal.

Some answers.

Anything that has multiple layers is not recyclable, for example, crisp bags, single tea bags wrap paper.

Rinse containers, jars and pods from food.

Tear off plastic windows from mail envelops.

Tear off non recyclable label from plastic bottles.

Sign up for paperless bills for the services you’re paying for.

Paper receipts are not recyclable because of the chemical ink.

Buy biodegradable water wipes and diapers for your baby.

Don’t throw away bread film,2 bring them to Waitrose. This kind of film have following logo. I also saw it on Coke cans multi-pack wrap.

Recycle with carrier bags at larger stores logo

Finally, bring your own cup to coffee shop, it’ll even cost you less in Starbucks. Mixed paper coffee cups are never recycleble but sometimes you can tear off paper wrap.

Every council has different recycling facilities, for example, only some kinds of plastic are recyclable. Use internet to get all the information you can from your local council. Unfortunately, almost no one gives a full information, each plastic box is marked with a number from 1 and up. Oxford council has information about what numbers are recyclable. Even if plastic don’t have a number you can try to stretch it or to squeeze it, if it keeps shape, it can be recycled. Look at this illustrations:

2 pictures with a hand squeezing plastic packages, one of them stays the same and other spreads out. First is recyclable.

**When in doubt ** always use general waste bin, the risk of contaminating perfectly recyclable materials is worst than not recycling one item.

Food Waste.

Here in 🇬🇧 almost every kitchen has green Food Waste bucket with biodegradable line-in bags. Food waste is used to produce energy or safely composted. When you throw food into a plastic bag it creates greenhouse gas, poisons water and contributes to Climate Change. Don’t use normal plastic bags for food waste.

Plastic Bags.

There’s a new law which prohibits giving away plastic bags in groceries shops. Now they cost 5p. This had huge positive effect 3, people now reusing their bags. I am always carrying a bag with me in my coat and I have one in my backpack. We have cotton bags for a weekly groceries shopping.

Unfortunately this law didn’t applied for a street food. They continue to give away plastic bags for each customer with a food in another plastic container.

When you buy take-away, don’t accept a bag, give it back, moreover bring your own reusable plastic container.

Home delivery food, which is very popular here, will give you food in a plastic bag. Yesterday we ordered Chinese and I tried to give it back to courier but he didn’t want it and walked away quickly. Next time I will try to be more persuasive.

Electronic waste.

The best place to bring your old iPhone, laptop or any other electronic device is Apple. they even have special robot to disassemble every iPhone component. If your iPhone still works you can get money for it.

I also found this black bins in the center of London.

Black metal box for throwing away small electric devices.

Donate your old electronics or sell it on eBay. Don’t throw it away.

Air Pollution.

Crossed truck sign. Please respect our residents and switch off your engine when stationary. Hackney.

Air in London is better than in Moscow, where government burns waste right in the center of the city in multiple places, there’s no cyclists, roads are very busy, electric cars are non existent and all the trucks going right through the city center because there’s no separate road for them. I see more green areas in London. 🌳

However, it is still bad even here and that’s why government introduces new tax for old cars.4 When I see parked car with running engine I am telling the driver to turn it off, if this is a company car, I take a picture and write email. I always getting a response with a promise to advise their drivers. You can do the same.


You might think that’s I am overly optimistic and idealistic about this. Often people use wrong bin, don’t separate food at all. I believe we can be better with this and we can encourage our neighbors and coworkers to be more thoughtful. We can’t do everything right but at least some percent of the waste is properly disposed and this is already slowing down Climate Change. That’s why when I see that’s some people don’t care it doesn’t stops me from doing my part.

  1. Now it looks like the situation is better and there’s multiple locations for accepting 💡 in Russia. 

  2. Probably specific for UK. 

  3. England’s plastic bag usage drops 85% since 5p charge introduced. 

  4. Sadiq Khan unveils plans for extra charge on London’s most polluting cars.