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I reckon recycling is a complete waste of time. There's more plastic in those wheely bins than in a lifetime of plastic bags

(102 Posts)
moondog Tue 09-Apr-13 14:39:02

I'm convinced it's nothing more than a right on gesture.
I've a good mind to say sod it and not bloody bother (and I'm a woman who spent a total of three years washing shitty nappies in an effort to be right on).

StealthPolarBear Tue 09-Apr-13 17:39:21

Oh and special subject, you mention buying loose fruit rather than pre packaged. I have tried to buy fruit and veg from a green grocers and from the market in the city centre. Each time I have gone away with bruised, mushy apples, dry celery, mushy tomatoes etc. the stuff I buy from tesco is always much nicer. I hate that, but I eat a lot of salad, and last week I had to force myself to use up the market stuff - and threw lots of it out. Am I just unlucky?

WowOoo Tue 09-Apr-13 17:40:27

YABU. For some people it's just a gesture. For others it's what they believe in.
I've heard that some councils shove the recycling from collections into landfill. Not sure if it's true, but if it is it's totally shit.

Supermarkets should be recycling NAyFindus. They really should. That is shocking.

Edlyu Tue 09-Apr-13 17:47:13

I havent recycled anything for years after I stood on a footbridge and watched some recycling bins being emptied .

There was a large lorry with a claw like crane that lifted each bin up and carefully positioned it over the huge container at the back of the lorry. When in position a catch was pulled and the contents were allowed to drop into the container.

I watched as I wondered how the operator knew which part of the container was for which type of recycling.

I wondered no more when I saw that it was simply emptied into what was obviously just a big general bin .It all dropped into the same void and I could see from my vantage point that everything was just mixed up.

I could have wept for all of the hours wasted by people carefully sorting and carting stuff to those bins.

Xiaoxiong Tue 09-Apr-13 17:51:22

Some data:

I work on regulation of waste. For packaging waste in particular, in 1998 27% of packaging was recovered, this increased to 67% in 2010. The legally binding target is 79% recovery, of which 73% is recycling by 2017.

I've also advised clients that have been prosecuted for using excessive packaging and failing to pay for recycling so it's not a matter of "caring" or not, it's a matter of what's deemed necessary to keep products in good nick in transport and on the shelf. Of course it's a catch-up to be played by the enforcement authorities but if consumers do their part that's 99% of the battle. You can report excessive packaging to trading standards as well.

Packaging waste was one of the first producer responsibility regulations enacted in the UK. Large businesses that use, produce or sell products that use packaging have to join schemes where they pay according to the volume of packaging they produce. This money is used to pay for recycling and recovery of packaging.

If large volumes of wastes are being produced usually businesses have contracts with waste carriers who sort recyclables at large depots behind the scenes.

Every action has a small effect. But many small actions add up to big effects.

Xiaoxiong Tue 09-Apr-13 17:53:06

Edlyu that's the reason many councils no longer require individuals to separate their recycling - it's much more easily and efficiently done at a separate depot. General mixed recyclables will still be recycled.

WowOoo Tue 09-Apr-13 17:54:41

Xiaoxiong - I totally agree with your last sentence.

StealthPolarBear Tue 09-Apr-13 17:56:14

How do they do that though? Does someone need to manually sort them? What about mixed glass?

HesterShaw Tue 09-Apr-13 17:57:49

Yes but you don't routinely chuck your wheelie bin into landfill do you?

And it's the Mail who publish articles about how all YOUR recycling goes to China. They are generally against any kind of environmental responsibility at all. They seem to think it is leftie.

Xiaoxiong Tue 09-Apr-13 17:58:16

Wilson that's a shame, would be interested to hear which council that is. Our council collects food waste and sends it to an anaerobic digester that produces power for 4,200 households.

IntheFrame Tue 09-Apr-13 18:04:14

I use carrier bags for the dog poo. Hate how thin the nappy sacks or poo bags are and feel better that I am not purchasing more plastic bags for the poo.

Then feel bad that I turned a bio degradable product into rubbish that now needs to be incinerated.

AKissIsNotAContract Tue 09-Apr-13 18:04:19

Hester you can call me a cunt but please don't accuse me of reading the mail:

Xiaoxiong Tue 09-Apr-13 18:07:52

Stealth there are amazing machines that do it on an industrial speed and scale. There is an initial manual separation but mainly it's done by weight, size, magnetism, ballistic separation, consistency and sometimes by optical scan.

Xiaoxiong Tue 09-Apr-13 18:12:35

Anyway, my point is really to moondog that it's not a waste of time, you should continue to take every opportunity offered to reduce, reuse and recycle. It is worth it - the fact that we even have regulations on packaging waste now is due to individuals like us around the world deciding that this is something we care about.

HesterShaw Tue 09-Apr-13 18:17:06

I didn't!

That was your extrapolation. I wouldn't call you a cunt either.

Wincher Tue 09-Apr-13 18:21:07

My toddler loves watching the bin lorry so we stand and watch most weeks. It has two sections at the back, one for the black bin and one for the green bin. Nearly every week I see them emptying at least one green bin into the black bin (general rubbish) section. That's with only watching them do about 5 houses. I have complained to the council but to no avail, and shouted after the bin men but they ignore me. It really makes me question what the point is of separating out my recycling so carefully. We have compulsory recycling as well so theoretically you can be fined for not doing it. Grr.

TheCrackFox Tue 09-Apr-13 18:25:06

We do recycle (no choice as we only get our bin empties every 2 weeks - and they can't even manage that half the time) but it has turned into a never ending bloody chore. I have a sneaking suspicion that they just landfill all our carefully separated recycling anyway.

floatyflo Tue 09-Apr-13 18:30:23

feminine grin

LouiseSmith Tue 09-Apr-13 18:33:02

I am proud that I recycle, I am proud to be part of the solution to an ever present and growing problem. I am also proud to be at least trying to leave a better world for my children to grow up in.

What does it matter if it takes you an extra 10 minutes in the garden, when it could save the planet.

HesterShaw Tue 09-Apr-13 18:47:44

I don't think it will save the planet Louise. Recycling will not save the planet. However, it will help prevent the growth of ever spreading landfill sites.

What could be an awful lot more effective at saving the planet is the vast reduction of plastic packaging. It's plastic which is the problem as this clip shockingly demonstrates.

Some people won't do it for animals. OK, they should think of their kids' future world being choked in plastic.

moondog Tue 09-Apr-13 18:52:25

Interesting Xiao.
You miss my point however.
I am stating that each whelly bin is an enormous plastic afair and as such is surely comprised of the equivalent of many more plastic bags than an average person would use in a lifetime.

Thus we have ludicrous situation in which huge plastic receptacles have been created in their millions to hold the plastic we would throuw away.

HesterShaw Tue 09-Apr-13 18:55:18

A lot of wheelie bins are made of recycled plastic I believe. They are big, solid affairs, designed to last and last.

The problem with plastic is the disposability of it. Think single use carrier bags, lighters, small components in shitty little toys out of a kinder egg etc.

There's nothing innately wrong with the materials themselves. They're very useful.

pingulingo Tue 09-Apr-13 19:03:51

YANBU I've been to landfill sites and seen lorry loads of "recycled" rubbish get dumped in the landfill. And because it needs to be mixed up again in order to decompose (which makes methane that is tapped off) they have a massive machine that essentially mixed up all the waste you have carefully sorted at home.

Xiaoxiong Tue 09-Apr-13 19:04:18

Hester has it right - there is a very good chance that your wheelie bin is either entirely or very significantly composed of plastic that may have been through one or more recycling processes. In addition, once the wheelie bin can no longer be used it is itself made of materials that are recyclable.

I don't understand how that undermines the concept of recycling. Are you saying that it's a con because the recycling process creates more waste than it recovers?

moondog Tue 09-Apr-13 19:08:41

Are you saying that it's a con because the recycling process creates more waste than it recovers?

So it appears to me?
Or perhaps that arbitrary targets are achieved by councils but little thoguht is given to what happens before and after said council collects rubbish.

I am an avid recycler as it happens and for years have done so. I also remove wrapping at the supermanrket nad give it to the cashiers. I spend a lot of time in the developing country where my dh works which is the world's toilet in many ways.

I don't throw away very much at all and always reuse and recycle.
I'm about as right on as it is possible to be.
But it doesn't make sense to me.
Plastic to collect plastic.
Have you any links or evidence for your statement Xiao?

HesterShaw Tue 09-Apr-13 19:11:48

Again, there is nothing wrong with a plastic wheelie bin. It's not the material which is the problem - it is the disposable, throwaway nature of so many products and so much packaging. A wheelie bin is not a disposable product.

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