Recycle Week Stepping It Up – Denis the Dustcart Blog
In his regular article, Denis the Dustcart talks about Recycling Week and its mission to help educate people about the importance of paying attention to their waste and recycling.
You can follow Denis on his Facebook page to track information about recycling issues.
Exeter’s Guildhall has been illuminated green for Recycling Week – a symbol of our continued commitment to Step It Up to help end the climate crisis.
Nine out of ten people recycle, according to Recycle Now research.
Which means ten out of a hundred people don’t.
One hundred out of a thousand people only use their trash.
I understand that there are certain circumstances which can make recycling more difficult – such as living in communal blocks or in residences with little or no storage capacity, or when there is a sensitive personal circumstance that influences the situation – but 10% is a significant proportion of the population.
In addition, according to the same study, 55% of households throw in the trash items that could have been recycled, such as shampoo bottles and bleach bottles.
Is it due to the confusion? Mixed messages and a lack of clear labeling? The fact that recycling collections are different from one area to another? Or just a lack of confidence in the UK recycling industry?
It’s easy to see why some people would read stories about plastic dumped in landfills overseas and ask, “Is it worth recycling it, if that’s what’s happening to it.” my plastic? “
Reports like this give people a reason not to bother – people who may be predisposed not to make an effort. But they’re also important in provoking the outrage needed to bring about change, even if they only tell half the story.
The point is that the failures highlighted by these reports are not primarily caused by the UK recycling industry’s inability to recycle hard-to-recycle plastics, but by the production of this material in the first place.
This is not to excuse anyone; Sending things for burial in other countries is by no means a reasonable solution, but we have to ask ourselves why there is so much plastic “waste” being made.
If this were valuable material, it wouldn’t make economic sense for anyone along the chain to see it thrown away. But it is not valuable. This is worth less than zero for local authorities, which manage tight budgets of public money.
It is the duty of a local authority to spend public money appropriately. Sorting out cheap and hard-to-recycle plastics and sending them for recycling would result in a net loss for most municipalities.
Should it even be the responsibility of a Council to pay for this horrible material to be dealt with?
No of course not.
Exeter is in a unique position, being able to use and develop internal processes that provide solutions to some of the most problematic plastics at no cost to the public, but that doesn’t mean we can recycle all plastics.
Our primary sorting processes allow us to produce pure polymer bales, which increases the value of the material and attracts bidders from across the market. The purer the quality of the plastic, the greater the possibility of turning it back into useful and quality products.
This allows us to seek circular solutions where we can, such as converting our clear bottles back to clear bottles in the UK or recycling our bags into bags, again in the UK, for use in trash cans. and the Exeter sweepers.
We are also able to sort the fishing nets brought to us from all over the region, and we have just installed a granulator which will allow us to process most of the most problematic materials on site.
But our ability and desire to seek solutions to plastic problems does not deter us from the fact that we still have to focus most of our energy on capturing the most recyclable and therefore the most valuable material.
And the point is, some packaging – think salad bags, pet food pouches, cling film, etc. – are just not an option, even for us. We have to send whatever we get to the waste energy plant in Exeter.
The volume of low-quality plastic consumed in the UK is simply not sustainable.
Therefore, we all need to step it up.
Local authorities should continue to improve their processes and help educate their residents on what can and will become recycled, and residents should ensure that they are using their recycling bins properly and recycle whatever they are using. ‘they can, on the basis of the information made available by their local authority.
My mission is to help make people aware of the importance of taking care of their waste: not only so that they better understand what can and cannot be recycled, but so that they can scrutinize their consumption habits. and get a clearer idea of how they can reduce their waste, their environmental and ecological footprints, and their impact on the climate.
It is Exeter’s mission to push the boundaries of what is possible in the local authority recycling process. We will always look for circular solutions wherever we can and we will continue to expand our services and develop internal processes that will not only allow us to recycle as much material as possible, but also ensure that as much as possible goes into the circular. economy.
See you soon when traveling.