Recycling made easy
Perhaps if we all recycled like this football made from rubbish created by African kids, we wouldn’t have such yawning landfills. We’ve gathered together a number of recycling campaigns so you can make the mantra “re-use, reduce, and recycle” work for you – without too much extra effort.
The Plastiki Pledge
You know that take-away coffee you grab on the way to work every morning, or that plastic water bottle you always buy with lunch? Well, the Plastiki Pledge asks you to re-think those habits.
The Plastiki is a 60 foot “off-grid” catamaran created entirely from recycled plastic, floating on 12,500 recycled plastic bottles. The brain child of adventure ecologist and environmentalist David de Rothschild, he and and his intrepid crew are presently sailing across the world – and through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on this totally recycled construction.
His idea is to get everyone thinking about plastic in an entirely different way. As he puts it: “Everything around us is plastic, so it’s not something that is going to go away…we’ve got to reform. We’ve got to make it the solution.” But alongside that innovative thinking, he reckons we’ve got to stop using the kind of plastics that can’t be recycled and stop using so much of it!
The Plastiki crew have created one of the best recycling pledges we’ve seen. They’re asking you to buy one plastic-free water bottle – and keep using it. There are other pledges too – one involving plastic bags and the other styrene foam cups. Check out the Plastiki Pledge here.
With more efficient design and a smarter understanding of how we use materials, principally plastic, waste can be transformed into a valuable resource, in turn helping to lessen our plastic fingerprints on the world’s oceans…
The Pacific Ocean alone is polluted with about 100 million tons of floating trash, 80-percent of which came from land-based sources. But your individual effort directly affects that number by stopping its rise.
Depending on your pledge you’ve eliminated per year an average of about 170 plastic water bottles, 330 plastic bags, and 20 pounds of polystyrene foam containers, cups and packaging (considering foam is 95-percent air that’s a lot!).
By pledging you’ve already started rethinking waste. Now keep your eyes open for other ways to reduce our human fingerprints on the planet. You’re not only saving the lives of marine animals, you’re also contributing to cleaner land, air, water, and overall better health for everyone.
Photo: Thanks to whiteafrican on Flickr.
Find out more
Check out the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ‘Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Deep Waters and High Seas’ report which helped inspired David de Rothschild to create Plastiki.
Is your council recycling or greenwashing?
Do you suspect your recycling ends up in China or Indonesia? If you’re not convinced your local authority is as good at recycling as they claim to be, then the Campaign for Real Recycling is for you.
The idea behind it is that councils across the UK hugely vary in how they recycle – and where they recycle – the UK? China? Indonesia?
The present system is so difficult to monitor, that most householders don’t have a clue as to where their recycling ends up.
For example, when all the recycling waste is put into one large bag and squashed, this means that many of the items inside are unsuitable for reprocessing, and is often an indication that it ends up on a boat to China.
This campaign recommends that recycling should be separated by the householder. That way, much of the recycled waste can be used by UK based processors. In practice this means we would have one or more separate containers for different types of recycling and that those are kept separate by the council on collection.
Supported by Friends of the Earth, the site is campaigning government for the following:
1. Formal monitoring of the recycling collection and sorting process so that the issue of rejected material is addressed.
2. A bill requiring councils to publish an end use register so people know where their materials end up.
3. The provision of clear guidance on the carbon footprint of recycling and collection systems for local authorities.
4. The encouragement of closed loop recycling of glass.
The Campaign for Real Recycling writes…
Real recycling is about maximising the economic, environmental and social benefits of recycling for everyone, from the local council tax payer to the global re-processing industry.
Our concern is that collection systems that gather a range of different materials in one bag or bin and then compact them could permanently undermine the environmental and financial benefits of recycling.
Our campaign aims to influence local authority policy and practice, and build consensus within the UK of the economic and environmental importance of highly separated collections.
Phil Hurst of the Campaign for Real Recycling said: “The face of UK recycling is changing so fast that as new technologies and priorities emerge that we are facing major problems in monitoring what is actually going on.
“Measuring what is collected as the sole indication of what is actually reprocessed is misleading.
“It’s a bit like going to a petrol station and paying for the fuel that passes the pump counter, but hidden out of site are numerous holes so you lose a significant amount of fuel before it gets into your tank.
“Most of us would find that situation unsatisfactory so why is it so acceptable in fully comingled recycling?”
Find out more
Check out the recycling hierachy according to the Campaign for Real Recycling and discover whether your recycling is likely to be processed here, China or Indonesia.
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