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Dry Mixed Recycling- The guide

Dry Mixed Recycling is a category of waste, and is used for disposing clean and uncontaminated recyclable materials, safe for reusing at later date.

Businesses don’t seem to do this a lot. Asurvey of 2,000 people, conducted by Anglian Home Improvements, but reported in reveals that 99% of Brits recycle at home, but 85% recycle at work. You can read the report here.

A lot of businesses make the mistake of putting all their waste into one general bin, which is convenient but causes a lot of problems for recyclers due to contamination, which you can learn about here. The general waste bin your company has may be full of paper, cardboard and packaging materials, so DMR is a simple and efficient way for you to dispose of all of the clean recyclable waste you’re building up, without needing to do anything other than throw it all away in this bin.

This method of is also a lot cheaper than taking your rubbish to a landfill. Landfill taxes are constantly rising because of the negative effects on the earth, so this is a cheaper and greener alternative!


What’s included?

Dry, uncontaminated recyclables are the focus of this bin, including:

Paper- newspapers, magazines and sheets of regular paper etc

Cardboard- cereal boxes, cards, PC component boxes, cleaned out cartons etc

Metal tins or cans- Must be cleaned! Dirty tins or cans are contaminated

Plastic- Clean plastic bottles, plastic pots, tubs and trays

Glass- Clean glass bottles and jars

What isn’t included?

  • Anything that’s dirty or stained
  • Food waste- included containers with food residue on it!
  • Liquids
  • Anything related to clinical or sanitary products, bags included
  • Bin bags and carrier bags
  • Packaging with foil interior like crisp/sweet/sauce packets
  • Bubble wrap, cling film and polystyrene
  • Clothing, including shoes
  • Electrical items including batteries


What happens to your waste?

Waste can be recycled in a number of ways once it’s left your premises. The materials taken out of your DMR bin are brought to a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), where they are sorted and grouped for turning into their new use.

Paper/ cardboard

Once paper and cardboard reach the MRF, they’re split up and sorted into 4 grades based on quality. It is then shredded and baled, then moved to a paper mill.

At the paper mill, the paper is mixed with water in a giant vat, where it is turned into a pulp.

The pulp is cleared of contaminates like glue and ink, then dried and pressed back into new paper.

Aluminium cans and metal

Cans and tins are taken to the MRF and sorted into steel and aluminium. They are then crushed into bales and moved to an aluminium recycling facility.

Once they’re at the facility, they are shredded into small pieces and cleaned of paint, and melted then pressed into blocks for reuse.


Once collected plastic is sorted according to its type of polymer. This determines each material’s melt temperature and possible end uses – find out more.


At the MRF, the glass is cleaned of any paper labels and grouped by colour.

It is then moved to a glass recycling facility, where it is crushed, cleaned of foreign objects and put into a mould to create new glass.

Tips for your recycling

Clean everything

Dry mixed recycling must be completely clean. Any food residue on containers or packaging has to be rinsed off before the waste is thrown away. If recycling has food waste on it you risk the whole load being rejected for processing.

Don’t use a bag

Recycling has to be placed into the dry mixed recycling bin loose, as bin bags and carrier bags can’t be recycled. The sorting facility can reject entire bins for this.

Don’t throw if you don’t know

Not sure if something you’re throwing away is recyclable? Don’t risk it. It’s much better to throw something recyclable into your general waste than it is to contaminate an entire bin-worth of waste because something in it should’ve been in your general bin.

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