We must remember that recycling should be our third option after reducing the amount of stuff we bring into our homes and then trying to reuse it in some other way before thinking of salving our consciences by dropping it into the recycling bin. We all know there's nothing like unburdening yourself of a load of bottles and packaging at the bring bank, and then going home with a warm feeling of virtue. Although the amount we are recycling in Northern Ireland has increased over the years, there are still a lot of people who don’t bother to recycle at all and end up sending most recyclable household waste to landfill. We could be composting more of our organic matter, and making more of an effort to keep paper, metals and textiles from being sent to landfill.
Before you recycle it is important to know whether items need to be prepared for recycling or not. For example, whether they need to be washed or flattened, etc. Waste that is not segregated properly can be difficult to recycle. It is also useful to know where you can recycle different waste streams. The Belfast City Council website provides a handy 'A-Z Directory of Recycling' explaining which household items can and cannot be recycled.
NOTE: Asbestos is extremely hazardous both to people's health and the environment and under no circumstances should it be disposed of with your ordinary waste. See this information on asbestos from Belfast City Council.