Part 3 of my Great Plastics Project takes me back to compare my plastics use in April 2022 with 2021, as reported in this post.

And… it’s time for #30DaysWild again, but I haven’t signed up for it because… why? Unless I do a great deal more blogging and social media posts about it, I just do every day wild, in some way.

for example:

Maybe I am more proactive when #30DaysWild is on, and it does remind me to do the year-on-year surveys for my own interest, like an insect survey of the garden. So I may report on that later in the month.

Plastics Survey part 3

One thing I got my act together in time was reviewing progress on plastics. I didn’t bother saving it, like the previous year, but I weighed everything I didn’t recycle, re-use or compost.

Recycle?

I recycle all the plastic that says it’s recyclable.

Especially ‘recycle at larger stores’.

The label for recycle at larger stores (supermarkets) is not restricted to own brand items. As mentioned last year, most cereal packet plastic inners go there.

Recently I have been preferentially buying things in bags that have that label. And at home, since I now get my supermarket top-up delivered (saves me impulse buying), I even test bags to see if I think they should be recycled by the supermarket (especially own brand items). I’m handing the problem back to the supermarkets to solve.

Everything the Council says it can recycle through the kerbside scheme.

And then I put in all the pots, trays and things that don’t get listed as recyclable on their chart but should plus anything else I think they could. That includes those pesky things like vegetable trays from the supermarkets. Many have gone to a corn or bamboo recycleable/compostable tray, but the rest usually have a plastic triangle mark with their plastic form. The council should recycle them.

And… the biggie! When I went to the Household Waste Centre at Christmas, I asked one of the operators what they did with things in the recycle bins that weren’t recycled. His reply “we hoick them out and they go in the Energy From Waste feed.”

Energy from Waste

Oh, big sigh. EFW is definitely a relatively green disposal route. I know a lot of people are horrified by burning waste, but as long as it’s in a proper EFW plant, it has several benefits. Even in 2000, the annual emissions from these plants (controlled by law – scrubbers in the chimneys) were about 1000th of the average backyard barbecue. A good EFW scheme also provides district heating and/or district electricity. Heating is more efficient than driving turbines for electricity. Reference? My specialist subject in my second degree was pollution management. Our group went over this in fine detail!

What’s left?

So, through May I weighed everything I didn’t reuse, compost or recycle. Everything destined for the black bin. I even brought a small bag back from my week’s holiday to sort and classify!

Total weight of non-recycled plastic for May was 125gms. That compares with 458 gms of items not recycled last year.

Of the companies that I couldn’t class as recyclable last year, including the Terracycle ones (Terracycle appears to be having problems, in this area, at least) I have made some assumptions based on the plastic. Most are going back to the supermarkets. I’ve put the Kallo bags in the compost heap to see what happens. Two of my guinea pig feed suppliers have acted, one with the recycle at larger stores label, and the other has moved to a paper/compostable bag. I might have to tackle the largest ‘recommended by 92% of vets’ brand.

Progress, but am I using less?

Good question. Without having compared total plastic used, I can’t tell. But, as well as using Oddbox for my weekly fruit & veg, I have started using a local bulk food and dry goods supplier, one of many springing up all over the country, or maybe becoming more visible as the plastics issue gains momentum.

The thing here is to buy non-plastic goods as you replace ‘worn out’ plastic ones. I have some lovely washable cotton pads for make-up, and for washing guinea pig parts. Biggles (my guinea pig who had many medical problems and needed his waste separately bagged because his meds would damage the compost) loved them. I think they were much softer on his snotty nose–and the other end. Use, toss in washing machine for next time. I also got new nail brushes, as my plastic ones had collapsed from sitting on a sunlit windowsill. This month I tried the toilet block bombs–kept in a jar in the shop, brought home in a paper bag. They seem to do the job with no residue, and no plastic bottle. And of course, many dry foods, pasta to herbs and spices, and liquids from blackcurrant juice to laundry soap.

See their FB post on the cost comparison.

Conclusions

I think I’ve made progress, and some of the companies I use have also made progress.

I can continue to buy consumables with no plastic waste involved.

It is probably worth doing a full review next year, to compare like with like to see how I’m really doing.

Spreading the word, especially about shops like the Spinney 53, is probably the most important thing we can do if we’ve solved our own lifestyle effects.

30dayswild

My Great Plastics Project 2022 version
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9 thoughts on “My Great Plastics Project 2022 version

  • 3 June, 2022 at 1:54 pm
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    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing your experiences. When only one percent of the Europeans would do so, we really would be able to save the nature and also energy. Best wishes, Michael

    Reply
  • 3 June, 2022 at 2:19 pm
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    What a tough thing to do – reduce the use of plastics! We have a friend who started a company that racks the use of plastic – what kinds and where – through thousands of volunteers who record what they see when they are out and about – and then pick it up. His company has managed to reduce the use of plastic straws and several other items as a result!

    Reply
    • 3 June, 2022 at 5:45 pm
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      I think it’s great that lots of bright people are realising there’s an opportunity here – at the forefront of a revolution. We still have Big Business to contend with, and I’m not the lobbying kind. I might point out to the gp feed firm that their competitors have taken action, though.

      Reply
  • 3 June, 2022 at 2:49 pm
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    Good for you Jemima – living in a flat, and now without a car … I can only be sensible and do what I can – the whole recyclable thing is not easy … but somehow we need to make progress. Good for you is all I can say … cheers Hilary

    Reply
    • 3 June, 2022 at 5:42 pm
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      You’re minimising your carbon footprint with the flat and no car. Just get picky on where you get other things 😉

      Reply
  • 3 June, 2022 at 3:05 pm
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    I’m still working on this, but no surprise that I’m not as systematic as you. Moving is horrible for plastics use—I packed most of my stuff with reused padding, much of it paper, but some foams. Now I have to deal with those. And buying new stuff I need for the new place is horrible for plastic. Even when you need something as simple as a light timer, it comes in plastic. And don’t talk to me about furniture or appliances and the styrofoam! I think I have found a place here in Seattle that will take it, and any more furniture I need I will do my best to buy second-hand. Now to get back to doing my shopping with all my little bags, not to mention doing it on my bike.

    Reply
    • 3 June, 2022 at 5:40 pm
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      Plastic has lots of good uses. Just re-use it as often as you can. Good luck with the new or upcycled things. Seattle should be good for this sort of thing. It has that sort of reputation. 😉

      Reply
  • 3 June, 2022 at 10:42 pm
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    I did The Big Plastic Count recently. I used 77 pieces in a week which is equivalent to 4004 per year. Scary. Glasgow is very poor at recycling and only takes bottles. I used to take food trays, yoghurt pots etc to mum’s in Renfrewshire, but now they just have to go in the bin 😟.

    Reply
    • 4 June, 2022 at 6:46 pm
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      They use the excuse that nobody is buying things made out of recycled plastic. I think that’s a chicken and egg, and also early adopters of recycling technology who were ahead of the buying recycled goods market. Keep at them!

      Reply

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