The Rubbish Book

By James Piper

A Complete Guide to Recycling

Campaigns | Environment
111% funded
261 supporters
Edits in progress

Publication date: TBC

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The crowd has spoken – The Rubbish Book is happening. Pre-order your reward now.
25 pledges


The edition with 100% fewer trees. You will receive a copy of the ebook and your name in the back of the book.

Rubbish Tip: Your eReader can be recycled at your local civic amenity site, some councils will collect small electricals that can fit in a carrier bag. The lithium battery can be left inside or recycled at any store that sells household batteries.
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$25  + shipping
148 pledges


The edition with 100% sustainably sourced paper (no battery required). You will receive a first-edition paperback, the ebook and your name in the back of the book.

Rubbish tip: Book recycling is quite tricky due to the glue binding the pages. Luckily, you will not want to recycle it! Once you have memorised the content and become a recycling expert, you can give it to a friend or donate it to a charity shop.
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$40  + shipping
41 pledges


The edition with 100% sustainably sourced paper and a scribble at the front, which may even be worth something one day! You will receive a signed first-edition paperback, the ebook and your name in the back of the book.

Rubbish tip: This rarest of collector’s item will never be thrown out or given away, no recycling tips needed.
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$60  + shipping
10 pledges

Two's company

The reward with 200% sustainably sourced paper and double scribblage at the front. You will receive two signed first-edition paperbacks, two ebooks and two names in the back of the book.

Rubbish tip: The ultimate carbon saver – two books, one delivery! Just make sure you hand deliver your friend’s book to them.
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$120  + shipping
2 pledges

Posted poster

The recycling’s on the wall! This reward comes with an A3 art print of the books cover art. You will receive a poster, a signed first-edition paperback, the ebook and your name in the back of the book.

Rubbish tip: Posters can be recycled with normal paper recycling. The ink is removed as part of the recycling process and the paper is pulped ready to be made into new paper.
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$375  + shipping

Infrequently asked questions

Your chance to help craft the book! Ask your burning recycling question; your question will be added and answered in the book. You will also receive a signed first-edition paperback, the eBook and your name in the back of the book.

Rubbish tip: avoid asking “what is recycling?”, that will be answered on page one.
Only 10 available
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$450  + shipping
1 pledge

Trash talk

Join the author at an actual recycling plant near you (anywhere in mainland UK)! James will accompany you and a friend for a day, exploring the weird world of recycling and talking you through the process. You will also receive four signed, first-edition books, the eBook and your name in the back of the book.

Rubbish tip: Pick a pal who shares your passion for plastic (or aluminium; the recycling plants are much more exciting!)
Only 5 available
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Sold out!

$750  + shipping
3 pledges


Your name printed in a special section in the subscribers' list thanking you for your support, plus 10 signed first-edition books and the eBook.

Rubbish tip: The ultimate recycling hero!
Only 3 available
$POA  + shipping
1 pledge

Corporate patron

A special full-page dedication for your organisation printed in the front of every edition of the book - or contact us about other opportunities - plus 20 copies of the signed, first-edition paperback and the ebook edition.

Rubbish tip: The ultimate recycling company!
Only one available

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get my book delivered to?

We deliver to most countries worldwide. Enter your delivery address during checkout and we'll display the shipping cost when we know where to send your book.

How do supporter names work?

Every person who pledges to help to make a book gets their name included in a supporter section as a thank you as long as they pledge before the list closing deadline. If you want to add a different name, this can be changed in your account after you have completed your pledge.

Still have a question? Visit our Help Centre to find out more.

This book comes with a simple promise: to be filled with absolute rubbish from start to finish.

Have you always dreamt of understanding the difference between polyethylene terephthalate and high-density polyethylene? Nor us, which is why this book is a practical guide to your everyday recycling challenges.

Plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, aluminium cans… we all get through a lot of rubbish, but do you really know what happens after you put it in the bin? Do you even know which bin it goes in? The timing for this book could not be better; the world of rubbish, and more importantly, recycling has never been more important (and complicated!).

  • Why is black plastic so hard to recycle?

  • Are sandwich boxes actually recyclable?

  • Why are paper carrier bags worse than plastic ones?

The Rubbish Book will provide you with a unique insight to help you become a true recycling expert; allowing you to do your bit to help protect the planet with confidence.

The news and media do not present a complete picture on the world of recycling, it requires a book, not just a catchy headline. All information in the book will be based on unbiased facts researched, studied and made digestible by James Piper, a leading sustainability professional who has spent the last decade teaching household brands and retailers how to get packaging design and recycling right; helping them to minimise their carbon footprint and collect and recycle your rubbish.

The book will contain: a history of different sorts of packaging, detailed descriptions of the recycling process for all materials, an A-Z of different packaging types and whether they can be recycled and finally an insight into the future of recycling and new materials that might change how we look at rubbish.

  • High quality, B-format paperback edition
  • Printed on FSC-certified paper
  • With black and white, integrated illustrations
  • Approximately 40,000 words and 160 pages
  • Tons of amazing and exclusive pledge levels!

*Book designs, cover and other images are for illustrative purposes and may differ from final design.

Support this project

Quick select rewards

$25  + shipping
148 pledges


The edition with 100% sustainably sourced paper (no battery required). You will receive a first-edition paperback, the ebook and your name in the back of the book.

Rubbish tip: Book recycling is quite tricky due to the glue binding the pages. Luckily, you will not want to recycle it! Once you have memorised the content and become a recycling expert, you can give it to a friend or donate it to a charity shop.
Choose this reward
  • James Piper avatar

    James Piper

    James Piper is a leading sustainability professional, whose career has focused on packaging, electricals and batteries. He is the CEO of a successful environmental consultancy based in Bristol and has won numerous awards for his work supporting brands and retailers to achieve their environmental goals.

    With a focus on impact, James has developed his company into a market leader, centred on developing recycling infrastructure, innovative processes and consumer education. He has been involved in multiple campaigns to improve ‘on-the-go’ collection of packaging, the design and commissioning of recycling plants and development of innovative plastic recycling techniques.

    Having spent many years watching the media try to explain complex issues, largely unsuccessfully, James decided the time was right to publish a book debunking the myths that are most prevalent about recycling.

    The Rubbish Book is a project which has been developed over several years, from knowledge gathered supporting the growth of material collection and recyclers all over the world.

  • Sorting

    What is a MRF?

    Throughout this chapter we will explore the sorting process for each material, assuming waste is collected co-mingled. If waste needs sorting it will likely go to a MRF which stands for Materials Recovery Facility.

    Recovering materials

    A MRF is where recyclable materials are separated by both human sorting and automated machines. Once the materials have been sorted they will be sent to recyclers and manufacturers to create new products. A MRF ensures things are removed that cannot be recycled and helps provide quality material. This stops manufacturers needing to use new materials which can be damaging to the planet and wildlife.

    Dirty MRFs

    The MRFs in this chapter assume waste has been separated by the household. There is another type of MRF, known as a ‘dirty MRF’ where recycling goes that is still mixed in with rubbish. This can be sorted as well but will ultimately create lower quality recycling as the recycling will be contaminated with other waste.

    Recycling Rule: A MRF is where co-mingled recycling will go after being collected, when it is ready to be sorted.

    Paper and Card

    There are a number of ways of sorting paper and cardboard. The most common is to use a giant sieve, called a trommel, which separates the large paper and cardboard from the smaller plastics, glass and metals.

    Large and airy

    A trommel is a steel drum with holes in just like the inside of a washing machine - but much longer.

    Like your washing machine, it rotates, which sends the material being put in from one end to the other. Plastic, glass and metal fall through the holes and the paper and cardboard will not. This means at the other end of the machine you will get a clean stream of paper and cardboard.

    As paper and cardboard is very light, jets of air are another way of sorting. The jets are positioned to send the paper and cardboard to another conveyor belt ready to be piled up and sent on to the recycler.

    Cameras, which are used for other materials and use colour to sort, do not work on paper and cardboard as it will change colour when it gets wet.

    Recycling Rule: A trommel will normally sort paper and card from other materials, using size to separate.


    Glass jars and bottles are recycled and sorted in the same way. Ideally, they would be collected separately but the ones that are collected comingled and end up at a sorting facility need to be separated from other waste, first by material and then colour.

    Cullet and colour

    When glass is crushed it will break into small pieces. These pieces are known as cullet. This process will remove any metal caps left on the jars and bottles - these lids will be picked out with magnets. Hot air is blown over the glass to dry it and remove any glass dust and paper labels.

    Cameras and air are then used to sort the glass by colour. Three colours are sorted: clear, brown and green. The glass passes through a lit-up section and cameras scan the image of the cullet and detect what colour the glass is. Air is used to push the glass into different locations, based on colour.

    Lower quality glass can be used as ‘aggregate’, which means it will be crushed and used in road building. If the glass is destined to be aggregate it does not need to be sorted by colour. If it is going to become a jar or bottle again, this glass is called ‘remelt’.

    Recycling Rule:

    Glass needs to be cleaned and sorted by colour. There are two types of glass; ‘aggregate’, which is used in road building and ‘remelt’ which will become a bottle or jar again.


    Two types of metal are used in the packaging industry; aluminium and steel. Sometimes it is difficult to tell which is which. Luckily, your collection is normally just described as metal so you don’t need to know the difference, however, they do need to be separated at sorting.

    Attractive sorting

    Just as there are two different types of metals, so there are two different types of magnet. Aluminium is not normally magnetic, whereas steel is. If you have a magnet in your house, try running it over a drinks can and a tin of soup or beans. The can may not be attracted to the magnet, as these are normally made of aluminium, whereas the tin probably will stick as these are usually made of steel.

    So, when the conveyer belt passes under a strong magnet all the steel cans will get lifted away and everything else is left behind to carry on along the conveyer belt.

    Aluminium cans are also separated with the aid of magnets, however, as they are not magnetic, ‘Eddy current separators’ are used. These use fast-spinning magnets to repel any metal on the belt. This causes aluminium to jump across a gap into a container, whilst everything else falls onto another conveyer belt.

    Recycling Rule:

    Complex magnetism is used to separate aluminium and steel, ready for recycling.


    Plastic packaging comes in many forms and is marked with a code from 1-7 which tells you which plastic material it is. This also helps the recycler. Mixing plastic types will give a very low-quality product so it is important for plastics to be sorted based on their properties.

  • James Piper has written 1 private update. You can pledge to get access to them all.

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  • Roger Beck
    Roger Beck asked:

    Just curious if there were any updates on progress or thoughts. The book is fully funded per the project page.

    James Piper
    James Piper replied:

    Hi Roger, thanks for asking. I have now submitted the completed manuscript to Unbound for review. I don't know if you have bought from Unbound before but it is quite a lengthy process as they produce very high quality books and the nature of crowdfunding means you are supporting a book very early. We begin the editing process now that the book has been submitted and will communicate at the different stages of development. I am waiting to hear back from their initial review which will give me a better idea on the release expectations. Hope that helps! James.