How to recycle?

Here you have to believe me and try it yourself at least for one month and you will see that what seemed a burden is actually quiet easily becomes a healthy habit.

Start by doing what’s easy and simple. You don’t have to be an expert over night. The first step is to start realising that there is ‘no such place as away’ so when you ‘throw something away’ it just goes some place else, for someone else to deal with or most likely becomes a contamination in the environment.

First think about where would you sort you recyclables to. Here is an example of my set-up at home. I have two smallish bins- one for general waste and another for recyclables.

Surely living alone or in a big family makes a difference on how to set-up your green bin so it doesn’t get overflown with rubbish or be an unpleasant sight.

Don’t forget to rinse your containers so they’re not contaminated with food and drink. It takes only 10 seconds to do. Not only it avoid contamination and makes recycling possible, it also more pleasant for yourself to deal with “clean” waste.

When my recyclable bin is full, I take it out to recycling bin, which are about 2 min walk away from my house, where I separate plastic from paper and glass.

Mostly around Riga there are three main bins which are available- Plastic, Paper and Glass. Here are the rules- what is permitted to throw in them:



Plastic– Normally bins for plastic are yellow colour. You put plastic PET bottles, plastic bags and plastic wrap in them- normally those bottles that have 1 or 2 as their recycling code. You CAN’T throw in them plastic toys, bottles from cooking oil, food containers especially filled with food leftovers or any plastic utensils you might be using at home. Hopefully one day it will be possible to recycle a wider range of plastics in RIga.

Paper– normally a blue bin. You can throw away paper, newspapers, magazines, books, cardboard, cardboard boxes (squashed), egg packaging. You SHOUDN’T put paper that is wet or contaminated with food (like pizza boxes), no glossy magazine covers or other paper products which contain other materials in them, like plastic or metal. Unfortunately Tetra-pak aren’t being recycled yet, but hopefully it is going to change very soon.

Glass– usually a green container. You can throw bottles, jars, window glass. You CAN”T throw mirrors, car window glass, plates, lightbulbs or any ceramic products. Glass containers should be rinsed from food or drink and only then disposed of.

As for the cans there only six places in Riga, where you can dispose of them. For the other types of waste, like hazardous waste (batteries, lightbulbs etc) you can check website, where they have detailed description on where and what you can throw away.

Here is an explanation on how do items actually get recycled:

Here are some tips on how to do it:


  • Scrape out any food remains/pour away excess liquid.
  • Rinse the container (use your washing-up water)
  • Don’t put recyclate in the dishwasher – no need to waste resources to achieve an unnecessary level of cleanliness!


  • Crush metal cans.
  • Squeeze plastic bottles flat to expel as much air as possible.

JarBuy products that can be recycled.
When shopping at the supermarket, buy products that can be recycled easily such as glass jars and tin cans.

PackagingBuy products that have been made from recycled material.

You can tell if a product is eco-friendly by looking at the label on the packaging.

Hazardous MaterialAvoiding buying hazardous material.

It is difficult to recycle products that contain hazardous waste. Try to find safer alternatives to household cleaners and buy non-toxic products whenever possible.

Recycle BinRecycle bins.

Make sure you have a recycle bin in your home. Keep it in an obvious place so you won’t forget to use it.

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