Common mistakes in recycling and how to avoid them

Errores comunes en el reciclaje y cómo evitarlos

I think it is a simple thing, that we all have it under control, but in reality there are common mistakes in recycling and they are made frequently.

Some people throw waste in the wrong container, others do not separate the waste in their homes before depositing it in their respective recycling containers.

Another error in recycling is when throwing away the garbage in the corresponding container.

For example, it is common to put a waste in the grey container because you do not know which container it belongs to

These are just a few examples of the mistakes that are made in the recycling process, which cost recycling companies time and money.

Despite the fact that the recycling system has been in place for about 20 years and more and more people want to join this initiative, the same mistakes are being made every year.

So to avoid committing them, stay with us so that you know the most frequent mistakes when disposing of products and what the correct way to do it is.

What is recycling?

¿Qué es el reciclaje?

In the end, recycling

Recycling is a process in which waste is given a second life by going through industrial processes in which its raw material is converted into new products.

It prevents waste from polluting the air through its incineration and causing damage to the aquatic ecosystem and the species that reside there.

Among the materials that are recyclable are paper, glass, plastic, cardboard, some metals, wood and even organic waste, which is used to make compost.

Common mistakes during recycling

Errores comunes durante el reciclaje

It is common that with some products you have asked yourself: In which container should I throw them?

This usually occurs with products that are made of different materials, but are disposed of in the recycling container of the most commonly used material.

Let’s see which are the most common mistakes and the correct way to proceed in each one.


Even if the bulbs are made of glass, they cannot be disposed of in the green recycling bin.

If you are going to dispose of traditional light bulbs, you should throw them away in the grey container. On the other hand, if they are fluorescent bulbs or those with low consumption, it is important to take them to a clean point.

Light bulbs are distributed from clean points to companies that separate the glass from the metals in it

In addition, they manage to extract the mercury that is present inside the bulb to use it in the creation of new bulbs, batteries or cells.


Glasses or any other product made of glass should not be disposed of in the green recycling bin.

This is because glass and crystal have different treatment processes when they are recycled, as well as being subjected to different temperatures to obtain new objects.

If you are disposing of a glass product, the best option is to take it to a clean point and then transfer it to a company that recycles the glass.

Hygiene products

Hygiene products such as toothbrushes, wet wipes, razors and ear-sticks should be disposed of in the grey container.

In some deposits or garbage dumps, recyclable materials are separated from these products. In this way, they are sent to recycling industries to begin the process of converting them into new products.

Caps and Plugs

Stoppers and products made of cork should be disposed of in the orange recycling container, indicated for organic waste, because of its qualities to be used in composting.

In case of not having an orange container, it has to be thrown in a yellow container to be classified as a container.

Inside the yellow container, the plastic sheets and lids must also be discarded.

The lids are melted down to create new plastic products and the metal from the sheets is used in the manufacture of automotive parts, tools or packaging.

Toys made of plastic

Before throwing away a toy it is important to check that it does not have parts made of other materials, such as battery boxes, cardboard and even some metal parts.

Ideally, you should go to the nearest cleaners to separate each of the materials and just melt the plastic to create a new product.

However, if it is in good condition, avoid throwing it away and donating it to non-governmental organizations or in orphanages for children to use again.

Brik packaging

Brik type containers tend to be discarded by people in the blue container under the excuse that it is cardboard.

However, this is a misconception because they are made of cardboard, aluminium and plastic.

When disposing of any brik-type product, it should be in the yellow recycling container.

As the products are contained in the yellow recycling container, they are transferred to companies where the three materials are separated and sent to their corresponding treatment plants.


Diapers are usually disposed of in organic waste containers, when – in fact – they should be placed in the grey container.

Tampons, pads and toilet paper should also be disposed of in the grey container.

Kitchen paper

Even though the kitchen roll is made entirely of paper, it should not be disposed of in the blue container.

As the kitchen paper has been used, it must be disposed of in the organic waste container to be used as compost.

If you dispose of film or aluminium foil, it must be put into the yellow recycling bin to be converted into new products.

Recycling containers: know what they mean

Contenedores de reciclaje: conoce sus significados

To avoid each of the errors mentioned in the previous list, we explain the meaning of each of the colors of the recycling containers and what you should dispose of in them.

The blue container is the one indicated for the waste that has been made with paper or cardboard, such as leaves, newspapers, packages or boxes previously folded.

The orange recycling container is used for the storage of organic waste. If you do not have an orange bin, you should dispose of it in the grey bin.

We also find the yellow container, in which products made with plastics and cans, such as soda cans, bags or plastic containers, must be thrown away.

The green recycling container is intended to protect glass waste. Products made of glass, ceramics or porcelain should not be discarded, as they have a different recycling process.

The grey container is one of the most common to find, as it is where you dispose of the waste that should not be in the other recycling containers because it is not reusable

Finally, in some locations there is the red recycling container where hazardous waste such as aerosols, hospital waste, batteries or technology products are disposed of.

Benefits of good recycling

Beneficios de un buen reciclaje

If you avoid recycling mistakes and follow disposal tips, you will become part of the ideal process to contribute to the care of the environment, as well as reduce your environmental impact.

Placing the products in the indicated containers reduces the working hours spent on sorting and transferring the products to the correct treatment plants, shortening the time needed to transform each product.

To promote recycling, at least in the case of the objects that should be taken to the clean points, some of these establishments compensate with money your effort in recycling and approach you to leave the products previously classified.

Just by putting the products in their indicated containers you contribute to saving energy and avoid the growth of air pollution with greenhouse gases.

We hope that you now know the best practices for recycling and how to avoid the problems that occur every day in this process.

Remember that the planet is our home and we must all strive to keep it clean and healthy.

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