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The War against plastic waste

edited 18 June 2019 at 9:51AM in Old Style MoneySaving
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  • jwiljwil Forumite
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    Whilst on my mission to reduce and recycle i came across Terracycle and a lovely local lady that goes to a lot of effort to collect loads of different items that wouldn't normally be recycled but they take them back and transform them into many different items and the collectors raise money for charity in my local area a Primary school.
    Items include crisp packets, chocolate wrappers. coffee pods.List is endless.

    I can see why Terracycle are popular, but I am very unconvinced of the benefits. They 'recycle' the stuff they collect into low grade materials like fence posts. These are not recyclable at the end of their life, so it's not really recycling, it's delayed disposal.

    These materials are classed as not recyclable because no one is able to economically make them into anything worthwhile. 'Recycling' them probably expends more energy than it saves, and Terracycle only succeeds because the companies pay it for its services. Businesses are doing this to make it look like they are green, rather than working on producing packaging that can easily be recycled.

    As soon as we drive to a collection point, the emissions from our cars will far outweigh any benefits from 'recycling' these materials, that is assuming there are actually any benefits once they are all transported to the bulking up points and the reprocessors. From an environmental perspective we'd probably be better off incinerating it and getting some energy benefit.

    Terracycle acknowledge that this is not a long term solution and they are moving into working with these companies to produce reusable packaging, working along similar lines to a milkman, ie. you pay a deposit and return the container when you are finished with it. This is a much better solution in my opinion.

    That said, I have recently started using my local Terracycle collection point - but only because it is right next door to somewhere I go regularly. If I had to make a special trip, I would not bother. I consider it a charity donation rather than recycling as the charity is raising funds from it.
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  • never_too_oldnever_too_old Forumite
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    jwil wrote: »
    I can see why Terracycle are popular, but I am very unconvinced of the benefits. They 'recycle' the stuff they collect into low grade materials like fence posts. These are not recyclable at the end of their life, so it's not really recycling, it's delayed disposal.

    .

    Afternoon all
    The way i look at it is if i and everyone else can make small changes to shopping habits and recycling its got to help even if it is only a short term solution(until better systems are in place) Its got to help.

    I still need to drive my car,heat my home and shop and buy mass produced products at the best possible price i can find and no doubt i will still go in an aeroplane or a boat.My life still goes on but even if i can make a few small changes i t does make a difference. :)
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  • halogenhalogen Forumite
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    falcieri wrote: »
    I agree. There were a lot of excuses here. I would add, why buy straws? Take pack lunches. Don't buy coffee on the go. Get a bigger bag if you can't stand holiding your reusable water bottle. Etc etc etc.
    I don't buy straws but I have a friend who uses them for plant labels. Papper won't cut it there. yes you can by plant labels but they are also plastic and more expensive.

    I don't actually eat lunch at all

    I don't buy coffee on the go except when travelling when the problem of carrying around a reusable cup would be worse.

    I would love to have a bigger handbag but it's already bigger than I can comfortably carry.


    I wasn't actaully making excuses. Just pointing out the flaws in some of the apparently 'easy' suggestions that people make.


    Take recyling... My council won't take anything contaminated with food.
    All plastic used to wrap/transport/protect food will be contaminated with food so as far as I'm concerned they can't go in the recycling.
    I have enough problems getting day to day dishes clean without the added problem of removing food contamination from plastic, which I don't think is actually even chemically possible.


    I'm happy to reduce plastic waste where possible but if it costs a lot, reduces the function of an item or involves a lot of extra work then it's always going to lose.
  • dreamingdreaming Forumite
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    halogen wrote: »
    I don't buy straws but I have a friend who uses them for plant labels. Papper won't cut it there. yes you can by plant labels but they are also plastic and more expensive.

    I wasn't actaully making excuses. Just pointing out the flaws in some of the apparently 'easy' suggestions that people make.

    Take recyling... My council won't take anything contaminated with food.
    All plastic used to wrap/transport/protect food will be contaminated with food so as far as I'm concerned they can't go in the recycling.
    I have enough problems getting day to day dishes clean without the added problem of removing food contamination from plastic, which I don't think is actually even chemically possible.

    I'm happy to reduce plastic waste where possible but if it costs a lot, reduces the function of an item or involves a lot of extra work then it's always going to lose.

    Re using plastic straws for plants labels vs. plastic labels - why not use (suggest friend uses) wooden lolly sticks. These are widely available. And it isn't difficult to wash plastic food trays etc. If I use one I just throw it into a bowl of water while I eat then scrub it a bit and most food comes off quite easily.

    I don't think anyone is expecting that all of the suggestions could be implemented by everyone. As I mentioned before - if everyone does a little bit, it is just as effective as 1 person doing everything. I am trying to concentrating on single use plastics at the moment and focussing on 2 or 3 areas at a time, and I must admit I can find it a bit overwhelming. Once those 2 or 3 things are embedded into my life then I move on to another couple of things. I am also trying to be mindful when purchasing new things (not that it happens very much as I hate shopping).
    It isn't easy - I have been just as guilty as rushing into the supermarket and picking up a couple of bags of pre-packed fruit and veg etc. because it is easy - but really, how hard is it to take a couple of cotton bags in and pick your own?
  • halogenhalogen Forumite
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    dreaming wrote: »
    Re using plastic straws for plants labels vs. plastic labels - why not use (suggest friend uses) wooden lolly sticks. These are widely available. And it isn't difficult to wash plastic food trays etc. If I use one I just throw it into a bowl of water while I eat then scrub it a bit and most food comes off quite easily.
    I can't even get dishes clean enough to use. There's no way I can get any plastic free from food contamination- thats simply isn't chemically possible as plastic absorbs from its contents.

    Plastic straws come in many colours so you can colour code plants easily and are reusable.
  • dreamingdreaming Forumite
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    halogen wrote: »
    I can't even get dishes clean enough to use. There's no way I can get any plastic free from food contamination- thats simply isn't chemically possible as plastic absorbs from its contents.

    Plastic straws come in many colours so you can colour code plants easily and are reusable.

    I'm not sure you have to get the plastic forensically clean. Our council certainly doesn't mention that in their instructions, but maybe your is different. I just make sure any "baked on" food has gone. Obviously I don't know your circumstances and maybe you don't have easy access to hot water (as was the case for my eldest when she was living in a hostel) , or maybe you have a disability, in which case then obviously you can only do what you are able.

    Regarding the wooden lolly sticks - these are also available in colours (just do a web search for coloured wooden lolly sticks) and can be written on quite easily. The price in't too bad either - 200 for £5.50 - although of course everything is relative so that may be out of your friend's budget.
  • Tink_04Tink_04 Forumite
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    I know everyone on this thread is having a bit of a rant about what they cant do and how hard things are to change because of the cost and way things are packaged but some thinking outside the box sometimes helps.

    Today when discussing shops that let you fill you shampoo bottle up for a cost i started thinking about a friend who is a hairdresser. She goes to the wholesalers and get a huge 5L bottle of generic shampoo for hair washing at the salon for something like £7.These are still nice quality as are for a business but are large in size.

    This may not be great for everyone to use as coloured hair or specialist shampoos may be needed, but would be a great generic for hubby and kids and me every other wash. I can decant into smaller bottles - a conditioner too and that would do us months with only one larger plastic bottle and be MSE friendly.

    I know there is still plastic involved but is an idea? There must be other things you can buy like this which could help too?

    Tink
    Living the simple life
  • villagelifevillagelife Forumite
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    I use wooden lolly sticks as plant markets and they work well and weren't expensive. There is enough plastic used in the horticultural industry. I will reuse plastic pots until they are beyond use. I also make paper pots for seeds. The advantage though is I'm reducing my plastic packaging for fruit and veg.
  • PipneyJanePipneyJane Forumite
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    Tink_04 wrote: »
    I know everyone on this thread is having a bit of a rant about what they cant do and how hard things are to change because of the cost and way things are packaged but some thinking outside the box sometimes helps.

    Today when discussing shops that let you fill you shampoo bottle up for a cost i started thinking about a friend who is a hairdresser. She goes to the wholesalers and get a huge 5L bottle of generic shampoo for hair washing at the salon for something like £7.These are still nice quality as are for a business but are large in size.

    This may not be great for everyone to use as coloured hair or specialist shampoos may be needed, but would be a great generic for hubby and kids and me every other wash. I can decant into smaller bottles - a conditioner too and that would do us months with only one larger plastic bottle and be MSE friendly.

    I know there is still plastic involved but is an idea? There must be other things you can buy like this which could help too?

    Tink

    Tink, I do this already but for money saving reasons. Large bottles of shampoo, hair conditioner, body wash and lotion are decanted into pump action bottles in my bathroom. All the better to control the amount used. Anyone can visit the hairdressing suppliers to stock up, although I just buy the 1L bottles of Lidl’s finest when it is on offer.

    I do the same with washing up liquid, which I buy in 5L bottles from a Chinese supermarket.

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  • [Deleted User][Deleted User]
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    Am I odd in that I have never bought or used plastic straws for anything my DDs had small cups with a lip lid when little but then when they were old enough they just drank normally from a cup.

    I get far more cross about unnecessary plastic packaging on food. So much seems to be a complete waste of time and just clogs up the bins, then gets exported to somewhere else to ruin their country. Man will turn this beautiful planet into a huge landfill rubbish site at this rate.
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