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This coming week is Recycle Week and it’s celebrating its 20th anniversary! Who knew that recycling has been a ‘thing’ for so long? Recycle Week is Recycle Now’s flagship event which is a celebration of recycling across the nation. It’s the one week of the year where retailers, brands, waste management companies, trade associations, governments and the media come together to achieve one goal: to galvanise the public into recycling more of the right things, more often.
This year’s theme is the Big Recycling Hunt – and focusses on “missed capture”: the items that can be recycled but are commonly missed in the home. Many schools are taking part and there are lots of fun activities to encourage them to recycle and there is also a focus on local authorities, partners and brands to share the central message. There is also going to be a Recycling Summit from the 17-19th October under the auspices of wrap.org.uk. This is an online event and it’s open to anyone interested in learning more about the cutting edge insights and/or work in the circular economy.
Apparently, since the inaugural 2004 Recycle Week, 88% of UK households now regularly recycle, but 87% of UK households recycle 1 or more items which are not accepted in the kerbside recycling and 57% miss one or more items which could be accepted. The Recycle Week team are hoping to improve on the results of last years efforts which won them 3 awards for the film Let’s Get Real about Recycling.
The website has links to the different sorts of materials that can be recycled and the members of the public who might be new to recycling. I happened to see a report on the news recently about schools that were going out into the nearby streets and litter picking but also explaining what and why they were doing it to their families and communities.
Alert: Some personal observations coming up.
I’m always slightly disappointed that supermarkets still sell and produce so many items either wrapped in plastic or produced and sold in plastic bottles. For instance, I can’t remember the last time I bought washing powder/liquid in a supermarket. For several years I have bought the Eco Laundry type Detergent Sheets. This means I don’t have to carry heavy shopping, but I do have to buy them online as my local supermarket doesn’t sell them. An eco dilemma! When it come to the packaging of fruit and vegetables there are so many varieties of plastic which may or may not be recyclable. To confuse us even more, different local authorities have different rules for what they will take and what they won’t.
Apparently, the government is going to simplify the recycling guidelines and end what they are calling the ‘wishcycling’, whereby people put non-reusable materials into recycling bins thereby contaminating them. Whole lorry loads of waste can be contaminated so easily as the waste plant machinery just can’t cope with the smaller items that are wrongly recycled. If the pieces of contaminated waste are visible to the staff at the recycling centres they will try to remove them but tons of recyclable materials are regularly spoilt by things like crisp packets, juice cartons, toothpaste tubes and wet or greasy cardboard. Also, for information you can’t put a piece of wood into your recycling bin? That’s got to be taken to the tip and put in the correct container.
Hopefully with time, effort and a willingness to do our bit, things will improve but possibly we’ve just got to either choose our packaging with more care, or consume less.
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