Monday, 19 August 2019

Plastic for Recycling or into the Rubbish Bin?

Our September meeting at small WI will be a lady from Suffolk County Council telling us everything we need to know about recycling. I think we will be asking her pointed questions about where our plastic we put into the recycling bins actually ends up. Then there is all the news about plastic in the sea and now getting into animal feed, and the increase in people in this country trying to cut down on single-use plastics so I thought it would be interesting to record what plastic went into my bins (both recycling bin and rubbish bin) in a week. Hopefully by doing this I can then see about looking for alternatives and reducing in future.

I started on Monday 12th

Fruit punnet is PET1 so recyclable but its plastic film cover isn't . One piece of cling film there that I needn't have used.Stir fry sauce pouch. I bought the plastic Red Wine Vinegar for making tomato relish from Morrisons  as that's where I was shopping a few weeks ago. I've now found a glass replacement. (see end of post). Wrapping from hot cross buns ( shared with Florence and Youngest daughter - Florence loves Nana bringing hot cross buns!

 Tuesday 13th
Not much today
Top wrapper from pack of ham. The bottom bit went in the bin when it was opened. I always put the ham in a container but keep the top plastic film for the date.
Wednesday 14th
I'm now buying the cat food in foil containers as foil is recyclable but still have lots of pouches to use up.  My frothy coffee sachets.(Ooops forgot the coffee sachets off Monday and Tuesday photos).
  The seal from a jar and a few other bits. (I was interested to see Aldi doing wonky strawberries - they were cheap but needed eating very quickly).
Plastic fruit punnet.PET1 into recycling.

Thursday 15th
The net from a fruit punnet, a bag from supermarket veg; The backing from double sided sticky tape and labels; wrapper from milk bottle; coffee sachet.
Milk bottle and fruit punnet into recycling



Friday 16th and Saturday 17th
Cat food wrappers, coffee sachet, rice packet (is there any other way to buy rice other than in a plastic pack?) quavers crisp packet (took these to eat at the car boot I was helping at, with a sandwich, as I had to go so early before breakfast!).
Into recycling was a plastic cappuccino  coffee 'jar' . Saw this in Lidl, a while back as a one-off although I worked out afterwards that it cost more than the Asda coffee sachets - typical!

Sunday 18th
Not much yesterday


I researched what  Suffolk County Council  will RECYCLE A-Z

And this is what happens to my bag of general non-recyclable rubbish (I don't have a wheely bin - as it's too far to drag it down the lane)

"Every single bag of general refuse from households and businesses in the county is going to a £180million incinerator plant in Great Blakenham, near Ipswich – preventing any rubbish going to landfill.
The burning process creates enough energy for electricity to be pumped to 30,000 homes and saves taxpayers £8million a year through cutting landfill taxes, according to Suffolk County Council."


Replacements found so far.
Aldi do Red Wine Vinegar in Glass. Well done Aldi AND they have peanut butter with no salt,sugar or oil added, - in glass - Well done again.  (better value too than the Meridian in Plastic tub which I was buying)

I eat lots of fresh fruit so ought to look for fruit punnet replacements? What fruit is sold loose in Supermarkets? bananas, apples sometimes, melon?  At the fruit shop near where we lived on the edge of Ipswich they still use paper bags for their loose fruit but driving there would use twice as much fuel - a silly idea.

If only all fruit I love was like this - fresh from the garden. The plums, which I'm picking a few at a time,  have wasp and plum moth maggot damage so need cutting open and bits cut out before eating and the few late summer raspberries were a surprise - But NO packaging!

I have no idea if this was a typical week, and also no idea how this compares to other single person(+cat) households, it would be interesting to find out.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

44 comments:

  1. I've never looked at it from day to day but I am always rather concerned at the big bag I put out for recycling once a fortnight. It's so hard to avoid plastic without a great deal of time and trouble (and, maybe, extra money). I do try, not always very successfully and it's better than it used to be.
    xx

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  2. It is interesting to read that your plastic is burned for electricity. Our household rubbish here on Oahu island, Hawaii is also burned for electricity.....which also includes plastic wrappings and bags sort of stuff. I think that this is really the best way to go as now China is refusing to take the worlds plastic rubbish to recycle it there and illegal plastic recyclers in other SE Asian countries are causing big pollution in their countries. Each country and area really needs to figure out how to cut down on plastic and other rubbish and recycle it in some way there. Aloha

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  3. Hi Sue, I didn't know that you could recycle cat food pouches. Do you wash them? Best wishes

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    1. No you cant recycle cat food pouches, they go into the general rubbish which where I live is incinerated

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    2. I think Emmaus in Ipswich will take them.

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    3. I noticed that they've got a box for baby food pouches when I took my car boot leftovers in- wonder if it takes cat food pouches too?
      Trouble is it's quite a way and I only go there about 3 or 4 times a year

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    4. If you scroll down the Terracycle website it will show you the collection sites in your area for all sorts of things. X

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  4. This is such a complicated issue. I applaud your determination. When I lived in Leicester I used to buy my rice in the Asian supermarkets in large quantities - either in a paper sack or a big plastic jar with a screw top lid. (stronger recyclable plastic) I remember when soft fruit came in compressed card punnets (same material as egg boxes) Why can't we go back to that?

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  5. It may also be worth looking at Terracycle to see if there are some collection points near you. We recycle crisp packets using this facility. X

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  6. Our recycling has halved since we have been using a water filter jug instead of buying bottled water.

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    Replies
    1. I've never used bottled water as our water in Suffolk is from deep aquifers and very good

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  7. Such a huge subject and once again I think we are onto the bandwagon before looking where it is going. Much of our plastic is shipped abroad where, out of sight and out of mind, it is creating horrendous problems, worse possibly than if we stockpiled it here until a real solution is found. Our Council is kicking recycling up a gear and from October we will now have to deal with five boxes of sorted recycled materials. Look forward to hearing about this upcoming talk.
    I wonder what would become of many of our favourite food items if plastic packaging production was just stopped all together? Coffee, tea, crisps, snacks in general just to begin with.

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  8. What an interesting subject is recycle is. I find there is still a lot of things do not have on recycle words on. I am going to have a look on A to Z to see what I can recycle on our council web site, again.

    Hazel c uk

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  9. I thought some foil packets were not recycled due to their plastic covering? Very confusing isn’t it.

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    Replies
    1. I'm even more confused now than I was at the start of this post!!

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  10. Ask the lady what she thinks about Suffolk taking their rubbish to landfill over the border to Milton in Cambs. (That was where they were searching for Corrie McKeague's body and he was believed to be in rubbish picked up in Bury).

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    1. I guess the incinerator at Gt Blakenham is only big enough for part of suffolks rubbish- we will be asking her about other district councils

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  11. It is such a hard thing because there are so many different plastics, we are like you looking for items without any plastic packaging, in almost every case it does cost more. We have 2 cats and have gone back to tins of cat food. Lots of comments about paper bags and containers, but to produce paper takes so much water, it's not the answer, but in truth I don't think we have the answer yet, so we all do what we can.

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  12. There's only one way to stop this rubbish pollution and its up to the manufacturers to start packing things like the old days. Milk and drinks in bottles, fruit and veg in paper bags, meat and fish etc sold loose and wrapped in paper. I'm old enough to remember when there was no plastic and we managed very well.
    like to be a fly on the wall at you talk.
    Briony
    x

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    Replies
    1. I can remember Before Plastic too. seems impossible

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  13. I recycle plastic bags - bread bags, potato bags, plastic mailing bags, carrier bags, the bags in supermarkets (not Morrisons - they have paper bags) for putting fruit and veg in. I take them all once a week to Morrisons or Tesco for recycling. I think they make plastic bags with them.

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  14. Just posted a picture of our plums and they compare well - at 750 feet in Yorkshire. Little wasp damage but a few have the maggots. Yes, cut out the damaged bits and wash out the maggot poo or else they taste bitter.

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  15. Totally confusing! I put my cat food pouches in the plastics bin. To be honest I don't bother specifically washing out plastics since I watched a tv documentary on recycling-plants showing that everything gets washed through there on arrival. I cut up all paper waste and use as cat litter. I use anything handy as 'binbags' - carrier bags, boxes; food scraps/egg boxes/coffee grounds go into compost.
    V jealous of your fruit harvest; all I have so far is a small tub of brambles growing wild nearby and a handful of wind-battered lettuce leaves from my weather-savaged veg patch.. shallots look promising though so hopeful for them.

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    1. Cat food pouches are definitely not recyclable in Suffolk but incinerated in the general household rubbish.
      I do rinse out things to stop smells and flies

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    2. See! I said that it was confusing!!?! I forgot to mention that I use glass bottles to feed my plants: filled with water & plant food, turned upside down and pushed into soil to dripfeed.

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  16. I am lucky enough to have found a refill shop about 10 miles away so I intend to buy in bulk and use cotton bags made from bits I had left over from making quilts. I hope to go about 4 times a year. I will see how it goes. My veg is delivered from a greengrocer about 7 miles away. He delivers in paper bags in a recycled cardboard box. I buy from him fortnightly. Still a lot of plastic , I will keep working on it.

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  17. I am really aware of how much I am putting into the recycling bin. I'm glad it can be recycled but still wish I could find alternatives for more things to not have plastic.

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  18. Our fruit and veg stall on our Friday market puts all its loose products into paper bags so I use that as much as I can. I often seem to get things in black plastic containers (I do buy ready meals for one from COOK) which saves a lot of cooking) and black plastic is not recycleable. It is all confusing.

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  19. The only plastic our council will allow in the recycling boxes are plastic bottles, so everything else plastic has to go in the rubbish bin. It is amazing how many supermarket plastic bottles we get through in a fortnight. I would like to have milk delivered in glass bottles, like when I was a child, but our milkman only sells milk in plastic containers and does not deliver to our village until mid-afternoon. Milk sweating outside your door in a plastic bottle in the summertime? I don't think so!

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    Replies
    1. Have you tried Milk and More. You order on the web and it is supposed to come before 7am

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    2. I'll have to check that out. Thanks! :)

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  20. You may be surprised to know that my local council (SW Scotland) does no recycling at all. Everything goes in the same bin.

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  21. I buy my milk, rice, porridge oats, washing up liquid, hand wash and a fair bit more at zero waste shops in Exeter and nearby. Veggies are bought loose at a greengrocer or supermarket.
    Exeter City Council is pretty good at recycling and recently informed us of the companies it sends what to. They incinerate our rubbish. The electricity generated is enough to supply 5000 houses. The ash and any ferrous metals are processed into secondary aggregate. Any metal that contains iron is removed by electromagnet and recycled.
    We don't produce much in recyclable rubbish, but I'm glad what do produce is disposed of in a useful way :)

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    1. This was meant to say 'we don't produce much unrecyclable rubbish'

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  22. Aldi have fine mesh reusable (made for that purpose) bags nowfor loose fruit and veg so I bought four of them and they were put into use straight away. Saved me cutting up the net curtain I had put to one side for this purpose.

    Good that your Council burn the waste plastic for fuel. We finally have a shop in town which sells many items you would use loose so you take your own containers or have the "dry" goods in their paper bags.

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  23. It is a really big problem trying to do the right thing, our local Aldi is now wrapping most fruit and veg in plastic portions.
    I have been using fabric shopping bags for nearly 10 years and now use net bags for produce from the local Farmers market.
    We now have a buy bulk store (bring your own containers) in town, it is a national franchise and the prices are very expensive, Very dissapointing ! I will not be supporting those who are ripping off people trying to do the right thing.
    Living simply and making what you can at home ( soap etc.) will cut a huge amount off your shopping bill.

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  24. It is so hard to get away from one use plastics, seems like everything is wrapped in it.

    I think you did very well.

    God bless.

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  25. When I was first married in the ‘70s no fruit or veg were plastic wrapped.....my potatoes were dropped into a string bag, all fruit was loose and put into brown bags as was veg. But back then there were many more greengrocers. I shop for fruit and veg at my local farm shop and all fruit and veg are sold loose and put into brown bags.....why can’t we go back to this way of shopping. I can remember shopping at Sainsbury’s and everything was loose and cut to your specifications.....bacon, cheese, ham, tea, etc....nothing came in plastic.....

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  26. This is an interesting conversation!

    I live in Minnesota in the US and it's quite odd to have plastic wrapped vegetables or fruit at our local chain grocery - they very proudly sell mostly local and in-season (with photos of the farmer above the produce - quite nice). You can bring your own string bag or use one of their compostable film bags. Meat and cheese on the other hand - so much plastic! We do have some wrapped produce but they tend to be items shipped from overseas - shitake mushrooms, kiwi fruit, etc. I don't know if this is normal for other areas of the US, but here it is normal.

    Our waste in incinerated into electricity and we have a wheelie bin for compostable items as well (these go to a communal site where anyone can come and collect compost for personal use). We do generate a lot of recycling in our home but almost all paper and cardboard - we have SO MUCH cardboard packaging here and SO MUCH PAPER! All soft plastics - wraps, packaging, shopping bags (though we use mostly reusable shopping bags or occasionally brown paper)can be returned to the grocery store for recycling.

    I always find it odd that our neighbors have overflowing rubbish bins and we have an overflowing compost bin and full recycle bin and one small bag of rubbish each week.

    Blessings,
    Lea

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  27. Plastic recycling is a minefield isn't it. We are lucky enough to have a new shop in our local town where you can bring our own containers and fill them, it is all the dried goods, such as rice, oats, lots of herbs and spices and much much more. We have another small shop that sells loose tea and coffee beans (they will grind them for you) that they weigh into paper bags. I buy all my fruit and veg loose, in a different town which I go to once a week as my children have a club there, this is about to stop so I am looking into a veg box delivery which again will be loose fruit and veg. All this means that I end up shopping in several places over a couple of days but it works for me as that is what I have locally. It is a fine balance isn't it?

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  28. Interesting to see your day to day plastics, what a good idea to do it this way. And I agree unless you have a chart what plastics are and aren't recyclable and in which areas it is totally confusing.

    Here in Wales we are in Conwy which leads the country for it's recycling initiatives ... mostly because our black bins are only emptied once a month now so folks had to learn to recycle or be swamped under a mountain of rubbish of their own making. Our black bin goes out once every three months as we just don't generate rubbish, our recycling stack however goes out weekly. And now I've also started bringing home the recycling from the Van as on the caravan ALL the rubbish just goes into huge bins to be taken away by the council and recycling in the area in general there seems so hit and miss.

    I need to do some research, if it all went for burning and was converted into power that would set my mind at rest a bit.

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  30. It is sooooooo complicated isn't it! I think that the efforts that you Sue and a lot of your readers make to live a mindful life are very important. Thinking carefully about whether you really need to buy something in the first place is the best start, mending what we have and buying second hand where possible. Buying quality items that will last many years.

    I too am trying hard to reduce the amount of plastic in my food shopping but having worked for the packaging industry in the past am aware that it's not as easy as plastic=bad, cardboard and glass = good. The huge rise in plastic food packaging is (partly) driven by a requirement for the industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Plastic is by far the lightest form of packaging to transport, thus reducing the energy required to move items. It also protects food from contamination and can hold things firm to protect from damage - plastics have I understand made a great improvement to the amount of produce damaged in transit and on the shelves, and will often have technologies to preserve items for a longer shelf-life. Produce waste is still a significant factor in co2 and methane emissions. There are environmental issues surrounding the production of glass, cardboard, paper, non-oil based plastics, and also the recycling of all these. But oil-based plastic production also has issues, and the oil will eventually run out.

    I can't get my head round the solution, but I do find websites like yours and the comments from readers very inspiring as a means to live more mindfully, so thank you!

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