Separating waste correctly is the first duty to the environment and the first step towards a functional Circular Economy: each person through his or her own actions can make a contribution.
For several years now, recycling has become part of everyday life for citizens, but are we sure we know how to separate waste correctly? There are several mistakes that are unintentionally made when it comes to sorting plastic waste: let’s find out which are the most common.

Not all plastics should be placed in the plastic bin
One of the most common mistakes is to believe that any plastic item can be disposed of in the plastic recycling bin. In reality, normally only packaging can be placed in this bin, while everything else, even if it is plastic, must be disposed of in the non-recyclable bin or in municipal recycling bins.
For example, in the case of a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste, the former should be disposed of in the unsorted waste while the latter, being packaging, should be placed in the plastic bin.
So let’s always remember to check the precise rules for waste disposal in our municipality!

Crushing plastic bottles lengthwise
Another fairly common mistake is not to crush, or to crush plastic bottles incorrectly. This should be done lengthwise, both to reduce their volume and to allow the equipment to have sufficient surface area to recognise the type of plastic material in the waste and send it for recycling correctly.

Leaving the cap attached to the bottle
Since the cap is very small, throwing it away individually runs the risk of it getting caught in the machines and getting lost. The cap of plastic bottles should therefore be left attached to the bottle so that the scanners can determine what is PET (the bottle) and what is PP (the cap) and send them for recycling correctly.

It is not necessary to wash plastic packaging before sorting it
When we throw away a used plastic plate or packaging, it is sufficient to remove large food residues, without removing sauce haloes or the like, as washing is done directly in the recycling plants.

Where to throw away bioplastics?
It should not be assumed that because a packaging product is labelled ‘bio’, it can necessarily be disposed of in the organic waste collection. To be able to do so, the waste must not only be biodegradable, but also compostable: you must therefore check that it bears symbols or markings that attest to its compostability, as well as checking the precise waste disposal rules of your municipality.

(Source: Federazione Gomma Plastica/Italian Plastic & Rubber Federation,, article dated 08/11/2022)

Gruppo Fabbri

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