We used the month of July to #FocusOnRecycling in our social media updates (we’re on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and Google+ if you’re not already following us). As a core component of our business, recycling is a topic that we like to keep up to date with and post on, usually from a business viewpoint. However, we feel that personal recycling is just as, if not more, important to stay informed on and with our recent discovery of how to correctly recycle jars (keep the lid on!) we wanted to take a look at some of the most common frustrations out there when it comes to personal recycling.
First up is the controversial issue of plastics. With a pledge to recycle 50% of plastic by 2020, it is assumed that the plastic recycling in the UK should be on the increase. Yet figures for 2016 reveal that while 71.4% of packaging waste was recycled, the actual amount sent to landfill had increased by 15%, a total of 446,000 tonnes. With recycling rates stagnating in the UK, how can that 50% target be met? The easiest thing to do is to look for the number codes at the bottom of plastic packaging. Ranging from nos 1- 6, they indicate the type of plastic the product is, but the alarming fact is that only two of these, nos 1 and 2 are collected through household recycling and even then, only by 92% of local councils. This means that for many of us, everyday household items such as yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, bottle tops and soup pots are currently not collected from households for recycling. So next time you’re sorting through the recycling, it’s worth checking the number at the bottom against what your local council collects.
Food waste is another important area that many environmentally conscious consumers feel should be explored. With a new study finding that it is actually cheaper to collect food waste separately and process through anaerobic digesters (we found this great infographic to explain the process) and with the National Infrastructure Committee estimating that universal waste collection would save local councils £400m in capital costs and £1.1bn in operational costs between 2020 and 2050, it seems incredible that not more is being done on this front. Yet only 10% of local councils are actually collecting food waste and that is actually falling as local authorities struggle with the costs of collecting and separating food waste. For those of us diligently recycling our household waste, to be told that a potentially easy and cost effective method is not being utilised can leave many of us frustrated.
March saw the UK reverse its opposition to the proposed EU recycling target of 65% by 2035, but given that the nation’s recycling rate has stalled and is unlikely to reach the 2020 target of 50%, is this achievable? With the everyday person on the street both conscious of the need to recycle and keen to do so, proper investment could be key.
If you’re interested in how we can help your business with their recycling needs, you can find what we offer here, including our closed loop paper recycling.