The River Hamble Harbour Authority

What can and can't be recycled

The following items can be recycled in Hampshire

  • All drinks cans, both steel and aluminium
  • All plastic bottles (but please take the lids off first)
  • All clean paper including newspapers, magazines, envelopes, junk mail, scrap paper, directories, brochures and catalogues (but not yellow pages or shredded paper please – see below)
  • All food tins (please rinse out) including pet food
  • All cardboard including greetings cards, cereal boxes and food packaging (please flatten or break up large boxes)

Its important not to put items which can’t be recycled into a recycling container – dealing with the wrong material is expensive and can sometimes result in good material being wasted and sent to landfill.

  • Glass can be recycled however it needs to be put in separate bottle banks.

The following items cannot currently be recycled in Hampshire

  • Drinks cartons - eg. orange juice. Tetra-pak cartons are difficult to recycle because they are mixture of plastic and paper and there are limited facilities to process them in the UK.
  • Polystyrene and cellophane – Unfortunately there are no facilities to process these materials at present in the UK.
  • Plastic packaging – this includes items such as yoghurt pots margarine tubs, plastic food trays and flower pots. At present there are limited facilities to recycle these items in the UK.
  • Yellow pages – unfortunately the yellow dye and ink are difficult to remove at the paper mill once the directory is more than a year old.
  • Shredded paper – in order to process such a large amount of material at our Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) we use a lot of automatic sorting equipment which recognises different types of material but not very small or shredded pieces.
  • Plastic carrier bags – The MRFs sort out all the different materials so you don’t need to separate them in bags. Plastic bags can actually cause problems and prevent good materials from being recycled so please make sure they are always loose in your collection container.
  • Aerosol cans - These are not the same as food or drinks cans, so should be disposed of with your household refuse. Never squash or pierce them due to the flammable contents.
  • Food wrappers - Although chocolate bar wrappers and crisp packets may say they are "foil wrapped", it is not foil. This type of plastic cannot be recycled. The ‘Scrunch’ test will help you – if it stays screwed up, it’s foil, but if it opens back out again, it’s plastic.

Our volunteers have been asking questions and researching the tetra pak vs. plastic bottle question for drink containers on board.  Avoiding the use of one or other is difficult given the circumstance son a boat, so which has a lower impact?  William Yonge investigated.

“There are two waste disposal scenarios, first the empties are segregated and recycled, and second they go to landfill as general waste.

Plastic bottles have an established recycling route, with a new plant very recently opened in Dagenham specifically to recycle these plastic bottles.

Tetra Pak say their product is recyclable, but this is a much more complex process, and I am not aware of any places that actually take tetra paks for recycling. There are also several different types of tetra pak, some with aluminium foil in them, which adds to the complexity of recycling.

So if the boat owner/charterer does segregate the drinks bottles/paks for recycling, in reality, only the plastic bottles will be able to be recycled.

Assuming there is no segregation on board, the bottles/tetra paks will just go as general waste to landfill, (unless the waste contractor sorts the waste later). One of the big issues with landfill sites is that they produce methane, which has a global warming potential of 23 times that of Carbon Dioxide, hence the pipe work covering landfill sites such as at Port Solent to collect the methane and preventing it adding to the layer of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Apart from the lack of landfill space, and the waste of resources, this methane generation is another big driver for diverting waste from landfill. Any waste that breaks down in landfill will generate methane. This includes food waste, as well as cardboard. Tetra paks are made from waxed cardboard, and so will eventually break down and produce methane, whereas plastic bottles won’t.

To summarise, if individual drinks containers are to be used, plastic bottles are easily recycled for boat users, unlike Tetra Paks, and if they do end up in landfill, plastic bottles won’t generate methane.”