How important is it to recycle, really?

Emmeline Westin
23 July, 2015

I try to be as diligent as possible when it comes to recycling. Cardboard boxes, envelopes, glass jars etc. go into the recycling bin. Batteries I keep in a drawer (and forget about them) and I also have a pile of gadgets that I need to take to the recycling station.

But sometimes I just think... will all of this be thrown into the same pile of rubbish anyway? Or am I actually contributing to the greater good? What do you think about recycling, is it worth it or not?

North London Flat · More Info

Comments (42)

  • PRO
    2PM Architects

    You are definitely contributing to the greater good! Keep it up!

  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    Hello Emmeline,

    This is a vast topic! Almost as big as Staten Island Landfil- Once so big it was the largest man made structure and could be seen from space! I think definitely recycling is a must for everyone... Not only the practical implications but morally - We have 1 planet... Well, let's not get excited about 2.0 just yet! What I mean is that people take the world for granted.. We have had such an impact on our planet and not all for the good :( I think particularly the Scandinavian countries and Germany to name a few have a far more intelligent outlook on recycling - they do it willingly - not because they are charged for a bag! ..... They have been recycling for years 20 or more.. Here we grumble so much- we should be actively wanting to do it.. (Of course some of us like you, like me want to do this... (lovely kitchen by the way!) but others need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age..

    It's not all us though..Also it's the facilities... We have the capacity to recycle a heck of a lot more % than we do, not to mention shipping vast quantities to other parts of the world to be dumped as well as up-cycled in part, because it's cheaper, developed countries ship to developing countries bypassing and ignoring international laws such as rules about chemicals and such in plastics and other toxic waste and they are sorted by people including children! So cutting down on any waste is key!.... The other thing is that recycling costs energy and thinking that we can just recycle another bag when we have 20 is not the idea either. For me the idea of recycling is to re-use, to educate the public about the vast consumption of waste materials and make smart choices like don't over consume (food waste is another big problem)... There are small changes to packaging materials etc as a result of silly and wasteful packaging like plastic bags for bananas! Consumers are starting to take note some of them and supermarkets and large retailers are adapting... but not fast enough...

    Our world is not a carpet and we should not be sweeping things under it! : ))

    Emmeline Westin thanked Amber Jeavons Ltd
  • PRO
    Tectonics Environmental Design

    That’s all
    very well but our corporate capitalist world seems to keep producing disposable
    items which are not easily repaired/re-cycled.

    Will all
    of this be thrown into the same pile of rubbish anyway? I don’t know. Who
    collects your rubbish? Ask them what they do with it?

  • Emmeline Westin

    Very interesting thoughts, keep them coming! This is definitely a relevant blog on the subject, Zero Waste Home - what a challenge it would be to produce zero waste!

  • alant1000
    It's quite naughty really but I don't make any effort about recycling because it's just not very important to me. I'm very happy to use facilities that are available but I won't go out of my way for it.
  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    alant1000 That is rather a shame! It is very naughty! We could all ignore these issues because they may take some time.. What would we be leaving to generations after us? We are already in the 6th mass extinction as a result of human activities with habitat and animals disappearing at faster more alarming rates that previous records.... This is something to consider if you have children or even if you don't... Do we not want to save our planet? We are so lucky to even be here, that is the real beauty of it.. Because our planetary alignment and atmospheric conditions were just right for life....People need to remember the splendour of the natural world and it's eco system which is fragile ... We all need to do our bit- even if it seems futile/unnecessary. :)

  • PRO
    Lloyd's Gardens of London Ltd

    If your recycling bin is unsightly, consider building a cupboard outside which could store your recycling bins

  • Jonathan

    My council advertises that 68% of rubbish is recycled....this is brilliant- when I was a child nothing was recycled so now we have 68% less going into a hole in the ground and it will be twice as long before they have to dig the next one.

  • PRO
    Empatika Bespoke Fitted Furniture
    I love recycling, I get so much pleasure putting something the recycling bin as opposed to when I have to put something that is not recyclable into the normal bin. I have been recycling ever since our council started recycling, so that must be over 20 years. It was a no brainer for me, I was bright up close to nature in a village in Belgium with one tap, no central heating, no fridge, no TV, no hot water etc and I could see were my wood came from that heated our house, I saw the direct relationship we have with nature. I also saw how people dumped their rubbish into the stream opposite my house carelessly, it was a constant stream of all sorts of rubbish, totally polluted. To think that 60 years before people swam, bathes and fishes in it... I am very passionate about the protection of our resources, specially ones that are irreplaceable like the rainforest.
  • alant1000
    @AJ Interiors yes you do make very valid and genuine points. My local council provides me with both a recycling bin and a general waste bin which I use, however they don't always make it easy elsewhere - for example only 'certain' types of plastics can be used in the recycling bin, and apparently everything needs to be washed first etc.
    The other week I had a new sofa packaged in very large cardboard packaging and the packaging wouldn't fit in the bin once chopped up and the local dustbin men refuse to collect it because the bin lid won't close and you can't leave it on the pavement, so I have to drive to the local tip to recycle it which all causes more pollution (which is what I did as there was no other option). Surely more people would recycle if it was made just a bit more convenient?
    I think there are a lot more things everyone can do to recycle or save the planet, but at some stage it reaches a point where people seem to lose their 'save the planet' morals and forget about it. As an example we could all have solar panels on our roof (too expense and unsightly with slow financial payback??), electric car (too expensive / don't look very appealing / not convenient enough?), wind farms (but not in my back yard please), nuclear power stations (same NIMBY attitude), car share for work (too inflexible and I'd have to leave for work earlier) etc.
    I'm 100% in favour of recycling but it doesn't come without its drawbacks, the process of sorting and collecting it, running the recycling facilities and so on all contribute to impacting the environment. Our local council has 2 separate lorries for bins one for recycling one for normal waste...both chugging out diesel.

    I hear that quite a lot of the landfill waste is actually sold and shipped overseas to places like China - another example of government 'ticking a box' and having high recycle credentials in the UK but then just passing the real problem on elsewhere..and then forgetting all about it.
  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    Hello Alant1000, Yes I agree there is still a lot of work to be done and you have good points raised... There are still bureaucracies in place and attitudes... Also different polices with councils and those who are collecting waste. Where I live the recycling is taken with the normal rubbish as the van is split into two parts.. Also bags are given for recycling and also garden waste if you need them... I agree not taking something because the lid doesn't fit is not sending a positive message to people who are trying! So yes that too is saying don't bother because we don't or can't be bothered...

    Vehicles could run on gas (LPG) which is a cleaner fuel.. Some people think that certain cars cannot be converted.. Just to give you an idea.. My parents have a Land Rover which is converted to gas. It's a talking point as most people assume they are big polluters... I call then chelsea tractors as I'm not far away but the point is.. There are things we can do to offset our footprint.. I don't have a car but I would do the same for an old landy or a newer one. What I object to seeing also are these huge tanks and other cars on the road with 1 person it it! We don't live in LA.. we can afford to walk, cycle or take public transport... I do.

    There could be a greater enthusiasm which lends itself to people like you and me wanting to contribute further and I understand the frustrations you have with your facilites.. The point about the impact that even recycling has is a valid one also. Why do we want to expend energy recycling something that we could perhaps have gone without.. I'd like to see people consuming less or being less wasteful and considering choosing shopping bags that are used time and time again amongst other options like reusing your bottles to purchase the contents it had- Whole Foods and other places offer this for some products like washing up liquids and detergents.. You can buy refills etc too in half size bottles or pouches..

    It takes up to 50 years for some plastics to break down and even when they are shipped off to other countries to be turned into something else it's still a foot print.. Recycling as you know is only a part of a much bigger concern... and yes... By passing regulations and ridding ourselves of the problem is part of the whole issue. Packaging needs a re-think and things take time sadly, as people tend to think of profits first or convenience, not to mention how much we consume and then waste, including food!.. Supermarkets are still offering people bags and the whole charge thing is ridiculous.. We should be wanting to bring our own bags.. There could be paper versions with handles... or biodegradable plastic which does exist but I screw up my bags and keep them in my handbag.. I also have some that fold into a little ball....

    Things like solar panels are not as costly anymore and some councils are offering a grant to encourage people to install... It's like anything - it's always more expensive to start with and when the sales are driven up the prices can come down. I for one don't mind solar panels as I have seen some on period properties and they are not so bad.. You can actually look to sell back excess energy you accrue I have read but don't know the figures. Of course not everyone can afford to do all these things... but if we all made... One small step - it would be.. A giant leap for mankind... (and beast!) : ))

  • tiredoldwoman

    I'm a conscientious recycler , but once ,when at our local centre I was shocked to see them empty the glass and plastics into the same uncompartmentalised lorry !

  • amw122

    Unlike jonathanb1972's upbringing, I was brought up before we became a throw-away society almost everything recycleable was recycled. We didn't have take-aways other than fish 'n' chips & ice cream, and the fish 'n'chips was wrapped in newspaper (also helped keep them warm). The only throw away packaging was paper bags, we had to take our own shopping bags to carry purchases. Rubbish was burned in the fire and the ashes used in the garden. Clothes, if they didn't get passed down to someone else, either ended up as dusters, wash cloths or rag rugs. Woollen sweaters could be ripped out and reknitted to something else. Babies had cloth nappies which were washed and could be used for all babies of a family - and the babies were drier quicker. Disposable nappies are not biodegradable at all and although they keep the baby dry, baby takes much longer to be potty trained because of it. Food was seldom wasted, left over food usually made another meal for the family in something like a hotpot. Pets were fed on food scraps. Families were closer, mum stayed at home to look after the home and family so no need for childminders and the children weren't brought up by strangers. If mum did go out to work, there were usually other members of the family there to look after the children if necessary. More storecupboard ingredients were used for cleaning purposes. A bar of Sunlight soap, a bottle of bleach instead of the shelves full of modern cleaning materials. It's surprising what a bottle of vinegar, a lemon and bicarb of soda can do!

    I recycle as much as I can, but the more people insist on throw-away goods, the more rubbish is going to landfill and that's not a pretty sight. If our council didn't earn something from recycling, the council taxes would increase and why should it be left to council workers to sort out other people's rubbish. I also use Freecycle, and if I don't have a use for something, perhaps someone else will. I also upcycle and happy to give something a new lease of life. Not many folks changed their furniture to follow fashion, The habitat of tribes and animals are being destroyed because people's demand for unsustainable wood. So it looks like the throw-away society is the modern society - and that's nothing to be proud of because that is helping to destroy our planet.

    Changes to Earth (Nasa)

  • PRO
    Ensign Accessories
    We live in an apartment and there is no way in this world that I am putting up with bottles, cardboard, papers etc being collected in corners. Sorry but we live in a small modern place with no room for collections of rubbish. Our rubbish bin is emptied every single day into a communal bin. The local council actually employ people to sort through everyone's rubbish when it reaches their depot. If they want to sort through it fine - but do not ask me to. This country is blighted by rows of different coloured wheelie bins lining people's gardens continually, as no-one has anywhere to hide these ghastly plastic contraptions
  • amw122

    The country is blighted even more with landfill sites!

  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    Hello Ensign accessories, I too live in an apartment as do a high percentage of the population in London alone : )) I manage to recycle far more than I throw away. I set aside a bag which I put a recycling bag inside (see image below) and when it's full I pull it out, take it outside and hide it behind the bins until collection day. In fact I actually have so little rubbish waste that I don't even need a bin, I have a bag that sits in a small box under the sink. I use something else for the recycling as mentioned. Not everyone has wheelie bins and of course. If people did not produce so much waste in the first place they would not be there! They are actually a lot nicer I think than bins with no lids etc. Also the amount of waste has a direct link to population, growth, consumption- Why we need to cut down and find ways to minimise and re use the excesses. We are the most successful animal on the planet but we have to find ways to reduce our negative impact. :))

  • Jan Johnson

    I love recycling, have done it for years. I don't need a wheelie bin, I have a small plastic one which i put glass, most plastic and tins into. I dont put it out for 6-8 weeks. In winter i burn all paper in the log fire. food scraps go into compost bins which i then use for my potted plants. We are mean and green in NZ.

  • amw122

    My food scraps used to go in my wormery, great compost from it but the worms died during the winter and I never replaced them.

  • alant1000
    The point AJ Interior makes about packaging is an excellent one - how is it that with just two of us in the house or sometimes only one when one works away, we still fill a wheelie bin every week?!?

    I've got an interior door to dispose of with glass panels, I'm not allowed to leave it outside with the 'general' rubbish and it won't fit in my car, so I have to pay £18 for the council to come and collect it :(
  • Kate Burt

    This is all so interesting. I do my best to recycle and we've been renovating recently as well as clearing the contents of a late relative's home and so have made many trips to various auction houses, charity shops etc. – with the tip as a last resort. We have used two local tips – one proclaimed that it diverted 100% of waste from landfill, while the other only diverts 50-something percent of waste – how can this be? We've also taken heaps of stuff to the charity Emmaus, which is fantastic. One of the tips also has a great upcycling programme that trains unemployed people while repurposing/repairing/rehoming unwanted household items. There should be much more of this, don't you think? As well, as has been said, ideally much less waste.

    As a side note, while recently pondering what would happen when all the landfill sites were full, I did some research and learned that some experts in the field of waste management predict that 'landfill mining' will be part of the future (when they've figured out how to make it a non-lethal job). It's an extreme approach to upcycling, but potentially has some positive implications for a landfill-reduced future...? The story of the already-mentioned giant Staten Island landfill – once so large it was visible from Space and now being turned into an eco park – is also interesting. Particularly its plan to include a landfill gas collection process that makes use of all the methane generated by the rubbish and pipe it into the US National Grid where it is said it'll be able to heat 30,000 homes. But would any plants grown on top of such toxic land survive – or be edible, either to us or to wildlife? I'm sure some more expert readers out there will know this and more...

  • Emmanuelle
    Most people I know- and myself- recycle consistently. I think now, it is the companies and suppliers who must make an effort and cut on the packaging, or use biodegradable materials! In England , the fruit and vegetables for instance, are so over packed! Why to put a cucumber in an annoying plastic sleeve? Why to buy avocados or peaches in a plastic box? In France, we haven't got supermarket plastic carrier bags anymore for the last 10 years! Why are they still available in UK? However, where I come from in FR, we have to wash the tins, glass jars and plastic pots before recycling them! That's a pain!
  • Emmeline Westin

    I think I'm going to make it my New Year's resolution to reduce waste (I'm planning way ahead!) - starting with cutting down on packaged fruit and veg.

  • amw122

    I think the big problem now are supermarkets and their suppliers. Before it was only greengrocers for fruit and veg and it would probably been fairly minimal handling once the goods arrived at the store. With the goods being on open display in supermarkets, the world and his wife are poking, prodding and handling the produce - not to say what children do with it either. Children are allowed to run riot in supermarkets and nobody stops them handling or opening packages, their guardians seem to think it's their right. If there wasn't so much needing to be protected from the public, there would be less need to have everything sealed in plastic!

  • benburnett
    I believe if we all recycled it really would have little impact on a global scale. Every country together throws out millions of tons of Co2 every year. I feel sorting through my rubbish won't have much effect to the bigger picture. It can only make me feel better about myself which leads me to think that's why everybody who does recycle does so for that reason. It's all about being comfortable about how we live our lives. The look you will inevitably get ordering veal sat across from a vegan will bring that into question. We all must do what we feel comfortable with.
  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    Hello Ben, I think you're missing the bigger picture... Recycling is not just about tossing our rubbish into a orange bag or green bin or whatever your council issues for waste that might be sent off to Indonesia, so we can feel good about it (not).. It is about reducing waste as much as anything (and the by product of having to extend energy turning waste into something else) which is all part of the carbon footprint that WE produce and that we need to reduce.... (including veal etc and methane gasses!)... It's an explosive topic!!! :) )

    I really don't feel that any of us recycle to feel good about ourselves.. I think it is for a greater good, well it certainly is for me anyway..It's ethics that come into play, whether you recycle or choose to eat meat whilst sitting across from a vegetarian, which isn't really relevant... It's not really a question of personal taste or choice... : ))

  • benburnett
    Well I guess it's just a reflection on my ethics. And partly choice when I decide to do little recycling when it's convenience.
  • PRO
    Tectonics Environmental Design

    Dear AJ

    I agree recycling is part of a bigger picture ............................... It is about appropriate technology, reducing waste and consuming less. Much of this website could go for start!

    But how is this NOT a question of personal taste or choice?

  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    Hello tectonics, It's not a question of personal taste or choice if the interest isn't really there.. That was what I was saying Ie- that it is a necessity, not a lifestyle choice.... Not that there are not significant changes underway for the good, but you catch my drift now and maybe if you'd read my earlier posts you would have seen what I mean.. We're in the 6th mass extinction,that's not personal taste or choice I want.. we're already seeing the effects of our footprint... So let's be a size 3 instead of a 12! :) )

  • PRO
    Tectonics Environmental Design

    Dear AJ

    Sorry mate – I maintain it is a question of personal taste or
    choice, hence sometimes the interest isn't really there. I appreciate you consider it is a necessity. Clearly others
    don’t, ie they make their lifestyle choice eg benburnett et al.

  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    Hello tectonic, given your company title... I'm surprised!.... Yes it is a choice people make whether to care or not or how much, how little... I am just 1 person and I can only try to inspire with my words... not dictate... The only factor that will dictate... Is climate change- and the resulting decline of our environment, global habitat and species et al. By the way... I am not singling anyone out..

    Whether you think it's a valid point or not.. Climate change is happening - it is as a direct result of our impact. What is being done about it in the name of scientific and environmental improvement for our welfare and that of a global nature, is a choice- and one of a global consideration. Whether you choose to consider that or not. People can always look the other way, do less, do more, say less, say more... but I prefer to look to science and to knowledge and take on board what is being presented.. With that in mind - people can decide what they want, or do what they please at the moment, but that doesn't mean it's right or to present that as reasoning for continuity! (if it's not helping)

    Nor is it a strong argument... Moreover, I don't think really that is the question! We clearly cannot do what we like as we are already seeing the repercussions of that. This is one argument that personal taste or choice has no business.. It is far too important and impactful in a detrimental capacity to simply state.. it's a matter of taste or choice! That, though tectonic is my humble opinion and one that is shared by many if sadly not all... So I recycle amongst other things and will continue to do so. Will I save the world by doing so... No... It will take all of us and many changes other than recycling to have a positive impact, that might lessen what's already in motion... : ) )

  • PRO
    Tectonics Environmental Design

    Dear AJ

    given your company title... I'm surprised! I am an architect, working for my
    clients. I am not a preacher. You agree it is a choice people make whether to
    care or not or how much, how little. I agree it will take all of us and many
    changes other than recycling to have a positive impact.

  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    tectonic, really??? Again??? To be clear... I didn't agree it should be a choice people make. I simply said people will do what they like for the good or not at the moment. Now will you please find something constructive to do besides single me out for your argument! :((

  • PRO
    Tectonics Environmental Design


    you feel singled out. Perhaps you are too delicate for a forum?

    think we are in the same zone of the spectrum, but currently George Osborne and
    Barrack Obam are striking different

    Obama has argued for action on climate change as a matter of health,
    environmental protection, international obligation and national security.

    He said climate change
    and rising sea levels jeopardize the readiness of U.S. forces and threaten to
    aggravate social tensions and political instability around the globe.

    risk of natural disasters resulting in humanitarian crises, with the potential
    to increase refugee flows and worsen conflicts over food and water.

    —aggravating conditions
    such as poverty, political instability and social tensions that can lead to
    terrorist activity and other violence.

    —new threats to the
    U.S. economy from rising oceans that threaten thousands of miles of highways,
    roads, railways and energy facilities.

    —new challenges for
    military bases and training areas from seas, drought and other conditions.

    "The only way the
    world is going to prevent the worst effects of climate change is to slow down
    the warming of the planet."

    Osborne has laid out his
    administration's steps to reduce carbon greenhouse gas emissions, including The Productivity
    to free up the
    planning system and build more houses, “The
    government does not intend to proceed with the zero carbon Allowable Solutions
    carbon offsetting scheme, or the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy
    efficiency standards, but will keep energy efficiency standards under review,
    recognising that existing measures to increase energy efficiency of new
    buildings should be allowed time to become established”.

    Many industry leaders have
    slammed this approach. The Green Register and its members fully support the
    UKGBC’s open letter to the chancellor urging him to reconsider the governments
    sudden U-turn over the long established zero carbon homes policy.

  • windwizard

    There should be no such thing as waste. Everything is part of a cycle, which should not be broken. And we ARE part of the planet - which gives us our life and can easily take our life away!

    Even if you have children, it is possible to minimise the need to recycle. Think about value, quality and ethics rather than quantity.

    Start by not buying things that are not required to keep you alive and healthy; especially things that are not 'life-supporting' or that alienate you from the natural world. Think carefully and plan; - don't be feather - blown along by the mindless wind of the western world...

    Such a policy saves you money, or will help reduce your need to work (or exploit the planet by being part of this dangerous, unsustainable game called 'economic growth, no matter the cost').

    Of course, being a vegan or vegetarian will really help, as will preparing and eating real food - rather than buying expensive 'rubbish' food from supermarkets or take-aways. You will have better nutrition, and it will save you time and money!

    Of course the by-products of the food you have eaten are an essential part of the ecological cycle and should not be incinerated or flushed away; they should be aerobically composted and returned to recreate soil fertility. If you can, try growing your own food organically. Then enjoy the extra taste, vitamin and mineral content!

    Paper or cardboard can be composted, as can vegetable trimmings. We cannot and should not attempt to evade the responsibility we all have to close the cycle.

    I have a neighbour (the same age as me) who cannot fit her fortnightly rubbish into her weelie-bin, yet I need not put out my bin for a whole year (and then it mainly contains types of plastic packaging that cannot be taken to the recycling centre). If you set out to live lightly on the planet by using recycled items or by trying to buy only good quality essential items (and mend them when they go wrong), there is less need to discard and waste the energy and resources invested in our purchases.

    As far as clothing (assuming you cannot make your own) is concerned, buying good quality, then not getting it needlessly dirty (by wearing an apron or overall) and of course not washing your clothes to death - are sensible policies which save water, energy and waste.

    Drink water, rather than be ripped off by buying rubbish in a can or bottle. Plain water is much better for your internal organs and keeping you healthy than complicated concoctions. Maybe filter the water and/or boil off the chlorine using your kettle first. If you want to avoid the hormones/antibiotics etc in tap water, then find an uncontaminated source. Most of the tap water we pay for is wasted - (it just ends up down the drain having not even done anything useful) - because we do not have spray nozzles or sensor taps. In our 1970's autonomous dwelling I fitted foot controls (used on trains) to the taps and you only pressed when you needed a flow. We also used mist-spray nozzles. And you do not need to wet your toothbrush as you have saliva in your mouth, - just rinse it after use! A well-designed waterless toilet (sadly its not easy to find out how to build one, as all the books give completely rubbish information) will cut your toilet water use to zero, other than for washing your hands. Collect water from your roof and use it in the garden and for other tasks, (we filtered it and used it for drinking in our 1970's house - tests by the water authority showed it was as clean as well water).

    By moving gradually in such a direction, we can change the world towards what is valuable for a sustainable life on this very special, tiny jewel of a planet. Even small steps are positive and valuable.

  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    Hello windwizard,

    Yes you've many good points and this way of life can be integrated to everyone's lifestyle. "We" the developed world have bulldozed our way and destroyed much of the natural habitat in the quest for advancement. Population growth a large part of the problem! Meat/food, water, land etc meeting demand and failing!

    We could have retained a more natural way of living where we are part of our environment not dominating it. As successful as man is, we are singly responsible for its failings, current extinctions, and must take responsibility. Spending billions sending people to Mars for me is too ridiculous to comprehend, when we could invest in the world we live in!

    James Lovelock has said we're too late and our efforts are futile. It's a sobering thought but everything we could have done and should be doing, we could have done and should have done 40-50 years ago! I feel he's right but I'd like to think we will continue to try to repair the damage we have caused.

    Life on Earth is so full of wonder and yet people don't stop to consider how lucky we are to even be here. (Goldilocks theory) We might be able to imagine a utopia but knowledge, consideration and then action is what is needed to make it happen. I will continue to be considerate and do my part, even if it is too late.. :))

  • amw122

    I have friends who won't recycle, they say that is the council's job. I've tried to say to them, it's their own rubbish why leave it for someone else to sort. If people have to be employed to do it for them, they that's more money the councils have to spend and it could increase the council tax. I think there is a certain amount of selfishness in not trying to put some effort into saving the planet. Perhaps the councils should organised trips to landfill sites and get people to realise just what their rubbish does look like. Thankfully some plastics can be recycled and I have a pair of beach shoes made from recycled Coca Cola bottles (I have to take their word on that :-) )

  • 1milebeachcourt
    I recycle everything I possibly can but I think manufacturers and retailers should play a much bigger roll to make sure that non recyclable packaging is phased out.

    I always buy loose fruit and veg and do not put them in a plastic bag. They are perfectly fine in the trolley without one.

    I recently contacted my favourite manufacturer of preserves which I buy at farmers markets. They use beautiful jars which I would love to reuse but the glue they use makes it impossible to get the label off even with a blade. They were not interested and just fobbed me off. Sadly I will now no longer purchase their preserves.

    There is only so much consumers can do!!
  • amw122

    As a suggestion 1milebeachcourt, a bottle of Stickystuff Remover works for removing labels so I wouldn't go so far as stopping glue from keeping me away from preserves or jars I like. Like you I buy loose fruit/veg when I can but I am so tired of the uniform fruit and veg. in the supermarkets, I now get a box of organic produce delivered. I choose a 'pot luck' box, so I also get fruit and veg. I've never thought of buying. I have never seen the point of selling organic produce in polystyrene trays covered with cling film. Many years ago one of the local supermarkets brought in organic produce for the first time. Duly wrapped in cling film on a polystyrene tray and put on shelves under the lighting. I wrote to the company at the time but they did nothing. I noticed after that there was a number of trays with produce starting to rot. They are probably still wondering why. Apart from that, I use polystyrene broken up to use for drainage in plant pots and the plastic trays get re-used in the greenhouse so it is all a matter what you can recycle as well.

  • PRO
    MBH Carpentry and Joinery Ltd.
    I always recycle as much as possible and I believe that it does do good and will be good for the future.

    As I have a son I try to pass on the fact that recycling is good and I involve him in the taking it to the relevant bins.

    I also feel if we educate the next generation now then things can only get better for it.

    As a tradesman I always try and keep waste to a minimum on my projects if possible which I think is also important.
  • amw122

    The era I was brought up in, recycling wasn't new, it was a way of life. We later became a throw away society. Disposable nappies instead of washing them, polybags for shopping instead of carrying your own. Take-aways instead of cooking etc

  • PRO

    It's vitally important and you're absolutely doing the right thing. Recycling is the end of the chain though - reduce and reuse come first! In the end though we all have different lifestyles and have to do what we can when we can. It doesn't help that councils have different recycling policies - people five miles away from us have a completely different kerbside system from us - and lots of supermarket packaging is mixed materials or entirely non-recyclable.

  • Tim Summers

    I used to be a complete re-cycling warrior in our house - separating everything out, washing things through, keeping every bit of vegetable peeling to wrap in newspaper for the green bin etc.

    ....... until I went to America and saw the absolute mountains and mountains of waste they just throw out, and saw the skyline pumping out smoke, gasses, and all sorts of obnoxious stuff into the atmosphere.

    It was at that point I thought to myself - What's the point in getting stressed that a peanut butter jar isn't completely washed out, or I accidentally put an envelope into the bin - It isn't going to make any difference what-so-ever.

    I still recycle - but I'm not overly fussed anymore. If I put a yogurt pot in the bin without thinking, that's where it's staying. No longer do I dive in to retrieve it.

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