Often what we think we can recycle, we can’t

Following the recent Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall programme (Hugh’s war on Waste) highlighting the problem with disposable coffee cups that cannot be recycled, EcoFrenzy thought we would have a quick look at a few everyday items which we all assume can be re-cycled but in reality cannot.

The first thing we looked at was some of the basic packaging around a few products in our shopping basket, you can see some of these in the photograph above.

On each of these it says:

Not currently recycled

This is obviously a tiny proportion of the packaging that is currently dumped into landfill, or ends up in the sea. We need to tell our retailers that it is not acceptable, not in this day and age where plastic is infiltrating and slowly poisoning so many ecosystems on our planet.

Other horrors include disposable nappies. 8 million are thrown away every day in the UK, and we pay a high price for this convenience. Each year in the UK, this equates to a million tonnes of disposable nappies which end up in landfill sites at a cost to the nation of £40 million. In addition to the cost of disposing of the nappies, landfill sites produce methane and other gases that contribute to global warming.

When anyone over the age of 30 were children they all had sheets and blankets on their beds. Today this is a rarity and most people use a duvet. Incredibly these cannot be recycled, the only places that may take them are animal shelters. These are huge bulky items that once again just end up in landfill.

Polystyrene is another of those common products we all assume can be recycled, but again no. One of the problems it is 98% air and only 2% material so the gain after transportation and recycling is minimal and not cost effective.

There are more environmentally friendly solutions to all these products but the age old problem of money and profit take precedence over any other factors. Maybe if the companies producing all these items were forced to pay a heavy toll for the correct disposal of these materials then they may think again!

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