Part 2 of my Great Plastics Project is to analyse the contents of my month’s accumulation of plastic and work out where it can go. If I can’t recycle it, I want to work out how to avoid bringing it home.
Pile of Plastics – what’s in it?
The first thing I noticed, when I was doing this, was I had to look on coverings/boxes/labels, to find out what the recycling potential was, not on the plastic itself.
First surprise: the plastic bags for many packets of cereal are marked ‘recycle instore at larger branches’. That’s not just for the supermarket’s own brands – Mr Kelloggs and Mr Nestle say it on their packages too. Not really surprising, since between them they make nearly all the own brand items! But… I was surprised. And I get through around three packets of cereal a month. Unfortunately Jordan’s just says ‘they’re working on it’ – but they probably are.
Second surprise: a couple of bags are alleged to be compostable or biodegradable. As discussed last week, these are not the same thing. But there was more than I expected. I will start composting the compostable one and see what happens. The Clothing Collection bag appears to be a biodegradable one, but its film looks to be non-recyclable.
Third surprise: a couple of companies, Cathedral City (cheese) and McVitie’s (biscuits) mentioned the Terracycle system. One for me to find out more about. That’s the GB link, but you’ll find something near you if you search more.
Not much of a surprise:
- My largest group at 228 gms, was, no surprises, the non-recyclable plastic. If I describe this as tearable film, or crackly film, you’ll probably know what I mean. It includes composites like coffee bags (but see Terracycle for crisp and coffee pods)
- I have lots of clear recyclable plastic trays. Some of these seem the same as ones that are not recyclable according to the labels, and I wonder whether Waitrose (in particular) is being lazy on this. These trays would have gone in my kerbside recycling in Norfolk, but not accepted here (neither are yoghurt pots). At 122 gms, this was my second largest group.
- I have a small residual group from companies who haven’t said, and who ought to: Kallo, Burgess Excel, Cadbury. Florette says it is recyclable where facilities available. (very helpful!)
- The total of the ‘recyclable at larger stores’ group was 78 grams: all popped neatly inside the Bathroom Tissue bag, which makes a good container for it through the month. I’m adding another stretchy celery bag from Spain that says it’s recyclable and I believe it would be – in Spain. It’s the same type of plastic as the rest.
- There’s 108 grams in the ‘possibly recyclable through Terracycle if I chase up the companies’ group
The total I’ve weighed makes 536 gms, leaving me 10 gms for the compostable bag!
|Possibly use Terracycle or lobby||20%|
|Recycle at larger supermarkets||14%|
Where next with the plastics reduction?
I seem to have already given myself an action plan:
- Work out what Terracycle is and how I can reduce my plastic waste by using it
- Save the plastic to go back to larger stores, and take it when I go shopping!
- Buy more items in compostable plastic – ask for it, and maybe even ask those suppliers for it!
- Find out what the other brands I use often are doing (I have made a start on the birdfeed and compost bags)
- Lobby Hampshire to include plastic trays and yoghurt pots – find out from Norfolk what they do and tell Hampshire!
- Find out how to get veggies that aren’t in non-recyclable bags – if Sainsbury’s lettuce is, and Waitrose isn’t – tell them! My Oddbox is part of the solution, but I don’t get enough salad items in it for the boys for a week.
- Buy things that aren’t packed in plastic: Oddbox, Haybox and boxed bamboo toilet tissue (Who Gives A Crap brand is actually softer and stronger than the paper ones) are just the start…
- Repeat next May?
Well I hope this hasn’t been too boring as part of my #30DaysWild for this year. I’ll give you a progress report in six months. Um… happy plastic-free Christmas perhaps?