Thursday 19 July 2018

Why are we rubbish at recycling recyclables?

I mainly food-shop from Waitrose, Marks and Spencer (a.k.a. M&S), Abel and Cole (online only) and top-up from my local Co-op.

As much as possible of my purchases are organic/Fairtrade. Even companies that allege they are responsible and care for the environment use multiple layers of packaging or non-recyclable packaging. Why is my cucumber enveloped in an almost impenetrable layer of thick plastic? As a disabled person who is obliged to buy ready-meals to fit in with carer schedules and so forth, it is impossible to buy products that are environmentally-friendly.

Spain has a national refuse disposal system. There are three types of bin: glass; packaging & landfill. At communal points one can also find separate collections for paper & cardboard &/or clothing &/or shoes. All packaging goes in the yellow bins to be sorted/recycled.

Many plastics are recyclable; but here in Trafford where I reside -  likewise I assume the whole of Manchester as Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority covers all boroughs - such items as yoghourt-pots and food-trays (clearly marked as recyclable) cannot be recycled via the waste-management systems currently in place.

 [Image description: the three recycling-bins in the writer's kitchen]

I have been recycling as much as possible or selling on at boot-fairs or donating to charity shops since 1994. I have written to the head-offices of the places in which I shop on several occasions enquiring about their packaging & recycling policies. I am doing my bit. The onus needs to be switched from consumers as many of us want to recycle more, but are prevented by systems from doing so. I have been invariably fobbed off with a standard spin of "we are fulfilling our legal requirements". Supermarkets and so forth have switched much packaging to recyclables - but more could be done as the article below elucidates. However, waste authorities need to be obligated to take all recyclable products &/or fined for putting same into landfill. Local authorities, such as Trafford, similarly need to be forced to collect recyclable products that cannot be binned from households which do not possess a vehicle to take same to a local refuse collection point.

Alas, UK governments, of whichever persuasion, are too timid about legislating to force and enforce action. I also suspect that BREXIT will be used as an excuse to scrap the regulations we currently have. It will be interesting to see how much/many of companies' green policies have actually been green-wash!


Almost a third of supermarket plasticpackaging (sic) not widely recyclable, Which? finds

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