Single-use plastic and UK recycling have become a hot topic since 2018 began; the government have been making plans while a recent Sky Atlantic TV series has shed a light why we’re in such a mess.
Many of us do our bit for recycling, most UK households diligently put out their bins separating rubbish into black, green and brown. If you’re really good at recycling you even wash out your old packaging including meat packets, yoghurt and ice cream pots.
After all the effort we put into separating our rubbish and ensuring we’re doing our bit for the environment; it’s pretty alarming to find out that it’s not all recycled. The recent sky Atlantic TV series Ocean Rescue exposes how flawed our recycling system is here in the UK and why we’re finding out a lot of it is exported to China.
The program highlighted how the symbols on the bottom of your plastics are actually a type of point system; this is used by recycling companies to earn money back from the government. Unfortunately, many of the plastics in your bin are single-use plastic; this makes a 1-tonne bundle of plastic around 40% recyclable. If a recycling company sends this to another country like China for recycling it’s considered 100% recycled, earning a recycler more points.
If only 40% of a bundle is recyclable why is China buying our plastic? This comes down to supply and demand; China has large amounts of manufacturing around the country. The price of plastic is dictated by the high demand; it’s predicted as China’s doors close Thailand’s may open.
The documentary went on to highlight how big villages have been created, employing people to sort single-use plastics from the valuable re-usable ones. When you consider how many of us don’t wash out our yoghurt pots, and fresh produce packaging; it can make for a very unhygienic, unhealthy place to work and live.
The UK is going to have to clean up its act (excuse the pun), although many restaurants and pubs have taken it in their stride and banned single-use plastics like straws; the real difference will be in the supermarkets. The 10p bag charge has seen a dramatic change in the number of bags leaving our supermarkets but it’s not the only contributor to the problem. Pre-packaged fruit and veg are also a problem; when you consider most fruits come in their own protective coating like oranges, why add an additional bag?
At Cash In Your Gadgets, we understand how important recycling is; mobile and electronic recycling is contributing to the same problem, with many going in general waste. Unlike general recycling which was highlighted in this TV program we ensure ours is done properly; so if you have any phones, tablets or computers you can guarantee it won’t end up in a landfill somewhere.
If you’d like to watch the program it’s available on SkyAtlantic