Become a detective and identify The Unusual Suspects

7 September 2016

Two councils are looking for residents to become detectives to identify Unusual Suspects around their homes that are often missed for recycling.

The week long campaign for Recycle Week between 12 and 18 September is aiming to boost the type of items recycled as ‘The Unusual Suspects’ such as aerosol cans, foil trays, beauty crème jars and toilet roll tubes are often missed.

Waste bosses on the hunt for more recycling have said that residents are used to recycling items such as plastic drinks bottles, food and drink cans, jam jars, cardboard boxes and newspapers in their kitchen, but items often found in other rooms are more often being missed.

What’s hiding in the bathroom or bedroom? Paper and cardboard items such as toothpaste boxes and tissue boxes are lurking. Don’t forget your perfume or aftershave bottles; because the glass from all your little scented bottles is recyclable. Keep an eye out for aluminium deodorant and air freshener aerosol cans.

Taking a shower? The unusual suspect might be in there with you. Plastic shampoo, shower gel and moisturiser bottles can be recycled too. In the kitchen the unusual suspects help to keep things clean - washing up liquid bottles, soap dispensers, bleach bottles and spray cleaners can all be recycled.

Cllr Peter Roberts, Cambridge City Council’s Executive Councillor for Environment and Waste said: “We would like to thank everybody for their recycling efforts and encourage all to look for these unusual suspects in all rooms around the home. Recycle Week is an ideal time to take a fresh look at our recycling habits, and to see if there are any opportunities to recycle even more items.” 

Cllr Mark Howell, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for waste and recycling, said: “Most people are getting really good at dividing their recycling from the things they need to put in their black bins in the kitchen, but this drops off for other rooms. When you are emptying your waste paper bins in your bathroom or bedroom, please take that extra moment to think what could be put to better use by being recycled. Recycling is important as it saves energy which helps the environment. Hunt out those extra items now as each one makes a difference.”

If everyone in the UK recycled one toothpaste box, it would save enough energy to run a fridge in over 2,000 homes for a year. Or, if everyone in the UK recycled one aluminium deodorant aerosol can, enough energy would be saved to run a TV in over 151,000 homes for a year. And if you’ve still not reached a verdict, then even air freshener aerosol cans make a difference – if just one aluminium air freshener aerosol can is recycled by everyone in the UK, enough energy could be saved to vacuum over 876,000 homes for a year. Also, recycled plastic bottles can transform their identity to the point they are unrecognisable – children’s toys, T-shirts, fleeces, garden furniture – the list goes on.

To find out more information or follow ‘The Unusual Suspects’, head to Recycle Now’s Facebook page or website where the series will begin on 12 September.

More information about what to recycle in South Cambridgeshire can be found at and in the City at