Let’s admit it. We are facing an enormous waste problem. Managing and getting rid of waste has become difficult because more and more items are produced, used, and discarded daily. It fills up most of our sanitary landfills as well as the ocean. Ideally, to minimize our waste problem, recycling can be utilized.

Recycling is easy when you have the right wastes such as newspapers, plastic bottles, plastic containers, and such. But what if most of the items you regularly discard are those that you cannot recycle? What do you do then? Below are some of the most challenging items to recycle and that you might need to hire skips when their volume gets too overwhelming.

Shredded Paper

Shredding papers, especially information-sensitive papers, is essential for discarding because of their confidentiality. There may be some way to recycle shredded paper, but shredded papers are essentially worthless to recycle. Why? When you shred a paper, the paper loses its natural stronghold, which are the little fibers. Natural fibers will keep your paper in shape, and without them, papers can’t be formed well when you recycle them.

Shredded paper waste
Cardboard Food Containers

Cardboard Food Containers

Cardboard food containers are ideally great recyclables, but the grease and food residue inside them hardens their recyclability prospect. Examples of cardboard food containers are pizza boxes, paper takeout containers, used paper plates, milk cartons, and more.

The grease on the cardboard food containers melts their natural fibers. Once you let them be part of the recycling process, the grease, and other food substances can jam the machines. If you have the patience to remove all food remnants in the cardboard food container, then, by all means, recycle them.

Paper Cup and Drink Cartons

Just like cardboard food containers, paper cups, and drink cartons can also be drenched with food. Thus, paper cups and drink cartons are unfit to recycle. In addition to that, most paper cups and drink cartons are lined with plastic. Plastic, in a sense, is a non-recyclable material when they’re flattened too thin.

Paper cup and drink cartons
Paper towels napkins and tissue products

Paper towels, napkins, and tissue products

Paper towels, napkins, and tissue products are used to remove dirt in general, and because of this, most discarded paper towels, napkins, and tissue products are unfit for recycling. These materials can have food, body fluid, and dirt residue in them. Paper towels, napkins, and tissue products are often used in the kitchen or the toilet too. Recycling them can contribute to health issues.

Disposable Nappies

Disposable nappies are used in a single-term way and are heavily contaminated by human urine or feces. Since you can only use it once, disposable nappies could tower in your bin for a week. Imagine the would-be situation it imposes on sanitary landfills.

Disposable nappies are made from composite materials. When composite materials are contaminated by human or non-human waste, they become not fit for recycling.

Disposable nappies
Ceramics Waste


A lot of people think that ceramics can be recycled because of its similarity to glass. The truth is, ceramics are vastly different from glass and can therefore not be recycled. Unless you’re crafty enough to harness ceramics in your Science project, ceramics should go to sanitary landfills.

Ceramics can cut, so don’t go throwing them haphazardly. Seal them in a tight box or container with a label indicating that the contents inside are ceramics. Spare the hands of your dutiful garbage collectors.

Loose Bottle Caps

A plastic bottle can be recycled but not its bottle cap. Bottle caps can be troublesome to be recycled because they’re too tiny for the processing machine. In addition to that, most bottle caps don’t have the same density and plastic-type as the plastic bottle. That’s why you have to sort bottle caps and plastic bottles. Loose bottle caps have larger and thicker plastic density, while plastic bottles are often flayed out thin.

On the bright side, you can recycle bottle caps as long as the caps are fist-size and if they’re cleaned out thoroughly. Examples of these huge lids are ice cream containers.

Loose bottle caps
Grocery plastic bags

Grocery Plastic Bags

The ideal plastic bags fit for recycling are thick plastic bags composed of low-density polyethylene (LDPE). The majority of plastic bags from supermarkets today don’t have those features. Therefore, most of them don’t fit recycling.

Grocery plastic bags are too thin for machines. Their thinness can wrap around the machine and could ruin the machine.

Small Pieces of Metal, such as Wires & Foils

Metals can be recycled. Metals can even go far as “reworked.” Not all pieces of metals can be recycled. Wires and foils are an example of pieces meant for discarding. The reason? Wires and foils haven’t got enough materials worth recycling.

Small pieces of metal
Batteries phones and electronic waste

Batteries, Mobile Phones & Electronic Waste

Batteries, mobile phones, and electronic waste are recyclable, but they can’t be discarded like any regular waste. There are official drop off points for these materials because leaving them lying around could potentially create toxic soil, water, or air.

Batteries, mobile phones, and electronic waste can’t be recycled on processors either because they’re too complicated to be churned. The most viable option for owners is to bring them to second-hand electronic stores and possibly make some money out of them.