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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).

HesterShaw Wed 10-Apr-13 10:02:56

Plastic bottles are (or were) generally always made of PET. That's the kind which goes white at the crease when you fold it. That's why they specify plastic bottles, to stop people putting things like yoghurt pots and sandwich containers in the same mix, which are another plastic.

MsBella Wed 10-Apr-13 03:36:09

I once listened to someone drone on had a conversation about the different types of plastic, he was telling me about the different codes for different types of plastics and how most can't and aren't actually recycled even though we aren't told this, it could be different now but it made me wonder...

doubleshotespresso Wed 10-Apr-13 02:44:47


Startail Tue 09-Apr-13 23:21:44

I just wish our council would collect plastic bottles. Neighbouring area does.

This means the town I shop in has no plastic bins. We have twice weekly refuge collections.

I have squash, coke and milk consuming family determined to drown me in plastic bottles.

Jan49 Tue 09-Apr-13 23:09:24

I'm a bit bemused by the suggestion that people who don't drive or are in wheelchairs aren't able to use the recycling facilities at supermarkets. Of course some people won't be able to. It depends where they live and where the facilities are. I carry recycling and charity stuff to recycling banks including ones at supermarkets. It's about 20 minutes walk for me. But almost all councils do lots of doorstep recycling so getting the stuff to recycling shouldn't be a big issue for most of us.

pingulingo Tue 09-Apr-13 22:44:23

Xiaoxiong - it wasnt just "that time" I saw it go into landfill. I've seen it endlessly on these sites across the country. Its such a common issue that they are investing in special and expensive machines (£250K) to churn the recycleables back into landfill. Its not just the odd wayward load that ends up there. So I have little faith in the accuracy of there being a real drop from landfill waste dropping from 89% to 50% despite what the official figures may say. But my opinion is based on industry "gossip" I guess you could say.

Although I've been on a lot of landfill sites, both open and closed sites. I'm not actually in the waste sector myself, but from talking to various people who are. The view I get from them is that a lot of recycleables end up in landfill - regardless of what official figures state. I believe the general principle is the waste has to be made available for recycling and is its not commercially viable to do, or isnt bought then it can go to landfill without incurring the same level of penalty. And that as places like China arent as interested in our waste as a few years ago, so there is even less of a market for it and again that leads to more going into landfill. But I may be corrected on that - there must be an economic argument for why the recyclables are being dumped though.

Thats not to say that I dont think recycling is a good idea and shouldnt be done. I just dont see how the official figures can match with what is actually going into landfill.

moondog Tue 09-Apr-13 22:32:27

Thanks ciao. Very interesting. As a matter of fact I DO take all my recycling myself to the council place as I loathe the idea of a plethora of ugly wheelh bins cluttering up my drive.

HesterShaw Tue 09-Apr-13 22:25:24

Great explanation, Xiao.

Xiaoxiong Tue 09-Apr-13 22:11:23

You're welcome Stealth. I wear my nerd hat with pride grin

Xiaoxiong Tue 09-Apr-13 22:09:48

Oh and those of you with anecdotes about recyclables going into landfill, or that time you saw stuff getting mixed with the moment about half of UK household waste gets sent to landfill. In the year 2000 that figure was 89%.

So yeah, there's a lot more that can be done and that's a lot of recyclable material that's going to landfill or not otherwise getting reused or recovered.

But does that mean recycling and reuse isn't worth doing because those figures are not 0% yet?

StealthPolarBear Tue 09-Apr-13 22:06:08

Xiao, thanks for the explanation upthread btw, that was as sciency and techy as i'd hoped grin

Xiaoxiong Tue 09-Apr-13 22:03:05

moondog plastics manufacturers or vendors usually state the percentage of post-consumer recycled material their products consist of. So they will say 35% post-consumer material which means 35% of the plastic has been recycled or recovered. Manufacturers we have advised in relation to supply chain optimisation have moved to using recycled plastic in the last few years as there is often a price advantage, in addition to the fact that they can boast their environmental credentials as part of their sales literature.

In addition, a few seconds of googling has found some examples where wheelie bin manufacturers state their percentage of recycled plastic:
Council wheelie bins claim to be the largest supplier to councils and provide bins made up of up to 50% post-consumer waste.
MGB plastics, the UK's largest wheelie bin manufacturer, collects the decommissioned wheelie bins it has produced and dismantles, recycles and reuses all waste material.
I could go on but you can google too if you are on here.

Finally I have looked at my own blue bin here at home and it has a recycling symbol on the bottom showing it is made out of high density polyethelene. This is a plastic that is readily recyclable in the UK and other countries.

Anyway I honestly don't understand what your point is now about the fact that wheelie bins are made of plastic - they are not disposable products like plastic bags and packaging.

Are you saying you want recycling bins to be made from metal (also recyclable, heavy and expensive)? Glass (recyclable, heavy, expensive and breakable)? Cardboard? Fabric? Because if your point is that we should have no recycling bins at all, then fine - you can take your stuff to your local tip or recycling point. But anything that increases recycling participation by making it easier to recycle is a good thing and while I'm not going to sit here and do a life-cycle analysis for you (I bore myself enough with that in my day job thanks) increased recycling will offset the production of extra wheelie bins that last for years and can then be recycled if they break or are otherwise no longer usable.

Those of you saying reuse and recovery is better are also absolutely right and you will be pleased to hear that compliance with the waste hierarchy is now a legal requirement thanks to the implementation of the Waste Framework Directive in the UK - producers of waste have to prove that they have prevented waste from being produced as far as possible, and then exhausted reuse and recovery options before they can proceed to pay for products to be recycled instead. There's more information on the Environment Agency website if anyone is really interested...

<looks around>


<realises Thursday is my last day at work and looks forward to not having to deal with waste regulations ever again>

thermalsinapril Tue 09-Apr-13 21:19:35

YABU. I'd prefer not to have to spend the time on recycling, but I believe it's important that we do so as much as we can. Agree that councils should do their bit and make it as easy as possible, as well as there being complete transparency as to where it goes next.

HesterShaw Tue 09-Apr-13 21:11:23

Plastic bottles make good fleece.

freddiefrog Tue 09-Apr-13 21:09:19

I wouldn't mind standing in my kitchen sorting my rubbish into a number of bins, trying to work out if the milk carton is the right plastic and removing labels from tins, under threat of a fine if I put paper in the plastic bin by mistake, if, I didn't then stand and watch the bin men empty the bins into the back of the same bloody bin lorry

We have fleece jackets labelled as being made from water bottles and pens made from ink cartridges so I assume they are not lying and really are. I'm ok with a wheelie bin that is probably going to last a lifetime.

TheRealFellatio Tue 09-Apr-13 21:04:23

I went to the council tip last summer when I was clearing out some crap from a flat I'd bought. The first sight that greeted me as I drove in was a huge mountain of glass bottles that had been emptied from bottle bank collections. All that green glass/brown glass/clear glass separating that we do, and yet the whole lot was all the colours mixed up, and included tins and cans as well. In one pile the size of a house. hmm

fuzzypicklehead Tue 09-Apr-13 21:03:35

This is what we do with junk mail:

<crawls back under hippy dippy rock with her carrier bag macrame>

HesterShaw Tue 09-Apr-13 20:54:44

Do you drive? Are you in a wheelchair? Guess we could all help our non-driving, wheelchair bound neighbours a bit least I could smile

CloudsAndTrees Tue 09-Apr-13 20:53:24

They collect cans, aerosols and paper, and some plastic. But not glass.

There are bottle banks at the local supermarkets, but that's no good to people who don't drive, or people that use wheelchairs and can't reach the things.

HesterShaw Tue 09-Apr-13 20:46:16

Clouds what do your council collect? And what facilities are there at local supermarkets? Often LAs won't duplicate a service supermarkets already provide.

HesterShaw Tue 09-Apr-13 20:45:14

On top of landfill? Methane? Lovely stuff, that.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 09-Apr-13 20:44:29

Also, we have a full up landfill site near us. It's been turned into a very nice park now, so I can't see the problem.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 09-Apr-13 20:43:38

I wouldn't mind recycling if my council would collect everything that can be recycled, but they don't.

I'm not prepared to stop buying stuff I want or need because of the packaging on it, that's just taking the whole thing too far.

HesterShaw Tue 09-Apr-13 20:42:03

But.... and I don't want to sound off....fishermen's trays are in boats in the sea! Wheelie bins are not.

Plastic in the sea is an unimaginable problem though, I agree. As it breaks down, each particle attracts the surrounding pollutants such as PCBs, and these then get into the food chain right at the bottom. As you move up the food chain, they become more and more concentrated, so for example a dead whale on the beach in the Baltic, has to be treated as toxic waste. And the big fish are fed on by top predators such as seals, causing infertility and reduced immunity to disease. And what other animal eats large fish? Yes, humans.

I take all polythene junk mail comes in to the carrier bag recycling at the supermarket. I like the idea of saying "return to sender on it" as well. Preferably with a large "STOP SENDING ME YOUR BLOODY JUNK" written on it as well.

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