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The War against plastic waste

edited 18 June 2019 at 9:51AM in Old Style MoneySaving
394 replies 55.8K views
PrimrosePrimrose Forumite
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edited 18 June 2019 at 9:51AM in Old Style MoneySaving
I don't know if we have a specific thread on here for sharing tips against reducing our plastic use - perhaps we could share them, but here's a current "bee in my bonnet".




We recently received our National Trust magazine which came packaged in an oute wrapper which said:
"I am 100% compostable and contain Potato Starch. The National Trust has moved away from polythene wrapping to a more environmentally friendly potato starch film which is compostable. Here are several ways you can dispose of your wrapper:



1 Add to a well maintined home/garden compost heap
2. Place it with your garden waste for industrial composting

3 Use to line your food waste caddy"


I realised we receive quite a few publications with these plastic wrappers, including magazines issued by weekend paper supplements so my self assigned task is to write to them all asking why, if the National Trust can adopt such a policy, the rest of them can't do the same ?


Anybody care to join me and do the same?


And please do share your tips for reducing plastic. The waste is reaching epidemic proportions, isn't it?


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  • firebubblefirebubble Forumite
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    Why not write to the NT and ask them to ditch the outer wrapper entirely, as other companies such as Boden have? The address is printed on the magazine and it goes through the post loose without any problems.

    Or even better, ask the NT to create the magazine online so you can opt out of receiving a hard copy and save all the polluting inks and paper waste entirely, as well as the fuel to transport it and the plastic it's no doubt swathed in on pallets at the printers. There is really no need for anyone to receive brochures as the info is always online.

    Reducing what we acquire to only the very necessary is, I've found, the best step.
  • jwiljwil Forumite
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    The problem is that many councils will not accept compostable packaging in their food or garden waste collections. So the advice from the NT is wrong, and they have switched to using a product for which there are few reprocessing opportunities. They would be better using a paper envelope or as suggested, no envelope at all.

    There are many different types of packaging out there and it's not always easy to distinguish between that which is normal plastic, 'biodegradable' plastic which does not break down, and compostable plastic, some of which will break down in industrial processes. Biodegradable plastic and normal plastic are contaminants, and so the sight of any packaging in the bin may mean it's not collected.

    Compostable packaging is best sent to 'in vessel' composting facilities, not anaerobic digestion or standard composting facilities. Many councils do not use these, so whilst compostable packaging is a good idea in theory, we do not have the reprocessing facilities in this country to deal with it.
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  • bouicca21bouicca21 Forumite
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    Surely compostable bags are fine for the food caddy - they are what my local council recommend, though tbh I have found that they take a very long time to break down and so will no longer use them for my worms.

    What we did have trouble with, was getting all the neighbours in our block of flats to understand that recyclable bags were not acceptable in the food caddies. Council refused to take them, leading to a smelly, fly ridden bin. Still turns my stomach to think of it.
  • PrimrosePrimrose Forumite
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    I agree that the term capable of being recycled" or words to that effect is very misleading and can mean different things to different people. We have such a plethora of packaging materials these days that it,a understandable how people can get confused.

    I think the national milk supply is one area, given the number of plastic bottles used throughout a year , where we could make massive savings if only the Diary industry could get together with the government and invent a system whereby we drew what we needed from massive tanks in supermarkets in the same way that we obtain our petrol from petrol stations. I accept that there would be issues of freshness to overcome but where are the innovative suppliers trying to get ideas like this off the ground? Surely better not to use make plastic milk bottles in the first place than to spend money and energy having to recycle them?

    As a country we must have hundreds of citizens bursting with innovative ideas. What we need is a government who can harvest the best of our creative talent in the recycling area and support it to bring new ideas into the mainstream. Rant over!
  • bouicca21bouicca21 Forumite
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    I don’t understand why plastic milk bottles can’t be collected and reused.
  • jwiljwil Forumite
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    bouicca21 wrote: »
    Surely compostable bags are fine for the food caddy - they are what my local council recommend, though tbh I have found that they take a very long time to break down and so will no longer use them for my worms.

    What we did have trouble with, was getting all the neighbours in our block of flats to understand that recyclable bags were not acceptable in the food caddies. Council refused to take them, leading to a smelly, fly ridden bin. Still turns my stomach to think of it.

    People should always check with their local council as to whether they are acceptable because otherwise just using them might result in a refusal to take the bin like you've mentioned. They need to be easily identifiable for the bin men as well, otherwise they will just leave them if they can't tell they are the correct material.
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  • jwiljwil Forumite
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    bouicca21 wrote: »
    I don’t understand why plastic milk bottles can’t be collected and reused.

    They wouldn't survive the transportation and washing. It's different if they are being shredded and flaked, they can be recycled. Glass is better for reuse, but is heavier and costs more in emissions to transport.
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  • katiepantskatiepants Forumite
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    Primrose wrote: »

    I think the national milk supply is one area, given the number of plastic bottles used throughout a year , where we could make massive savings if only the Diary industry could get together with the government and invent a system whereby we drew what we needed from massive tanks in supermarkets in the same way that we obtain our petrol from petrol stations. I accept that there would be issues of freshness to overcome but where are the innovative suppliers trying to get ideas like this off the ground? Surely better not to use make plastic milk bottles in the first place than to spend money and energy having to recycle them?

    Going back to doorstep milk in glass bottles would be an easy first step.
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  • chaniechanie Forumite
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    Another problem is that the ‘greener’ alternatives are often a lot more expensive. For example my reusable cotton wool pads are 60p each compared to 3p for a disposable. I’m lucky, because I can afford the initial outlay, but many people can’t. Ithink the governrmt should offer incentives to encourage people to switch to greener products.
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  • tori.ktori.k Forumite
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    chanie wrote: »
    Another problem is that the ‘greener’ alternatives are often a lot more expensive. For example my reusable cotton wool pads are 60p each compared to 3p for a disposable. I’m lucky, because I can afford the initial outlay, but many people can’t. Ithink the governrmt should offer incentives to encourage people to switch to greener products.

    But thats only if you want to be a bit hipster about it, a cut up old towel would do the same job.
    Some incentives are great like cheaper coffee if you bring your own mug but a lot would probably just increase waste.
    There is no easy way, recycling is as naff as landfill reduction is the only way it going to work the onus has to be on manufacturing to limit their packaging and on the consumer to except more limited products lines.
    Plastic is a ingenious product but like most things we've abused it.
    For years now i've tried to minimise the amount of plastic that enters our home (selfishly its more a stop buying plan to overpay the mortgage) i've got enough butter tubs and storage containers to see out my lifetime but never felt the need to purchase green things like stainless steel straws I just drink out of the glass.
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