Recycle, Reuse, Rethink

Many people just don’t get it. They want to recycle but when it comes down to it they want to do so without having to think too much about it. I am one who will check the labels on packaging to see if a yoghurt pot or a plastic tray can be recycled but many people, I imagine, will guess whether they think it is recyclable or not. If you look you get phrases such as ‘widely recycled’ and ‘not currently recycled’. Widely recycled, does that mean I can recycle it wherever I am or do I have to then check somewhere else? Not currently recycled, is that an indication that at some future point that type of plastic will be recycled or is it just the manufacturer trying to pass the buck? (Well if only they would recycle the plastic we use rather than us paying slightly more to use already widely recycled plastic).

When I asked Waitrose why they use not currently recycled plastic their customer services told me that they will be moving to recyclable plastic sometime in the future (If I recall correctly it was 2025). Iceland has said it will eliminate or drastically reduce plastic packaging of all its own-label products by the end of 2023. Why not sooner, there are widely recycled plastics, or even non plastic materials available? I am pretty certain that the other supermarkets will give similar responses.

Sometimes I get the impression that manufacturers are making it harder than it needs to be to recycle with mixed materials some which are recyclable some are not.

Bournemouth Council passed a motion at the last council meeting in support of its world-class seafront. The motion to help protect the marine and coastal environment from the threat posed by plastic pollution. The Council will be embracing the Refill scheme, providing segregated bins on the seafront and encouraging recycling.

I was happy (I may have said delighted in council) to support the motion as it is a welcome and important first step and I hope it is followed by more steps, meaningful steps that start to challenge people and to impact on the amount of plastic entering the sea and littering the land.

Yesterday’s announcement that the government is looking into a bottle and can return scheme is welcome news although until the details are agreed one has to be a little sceptical. Let’s hope it is more than greenwash and that they are finally taking on board the Green Party message that we do need to look after the planet we live on because there is not an alternative one.

Recycling is part of the solution but don’t forget re-using or not using plastic in the first place. Who still uses plastic bags these days?

Simon Bull