In our 4th week into looking at waste management, we are exploring recycling! Recycling has always been a key way to reduce litter and waste, recover valuable materials and conserve significant amounts of energy and water, Recycling aluminium cans saves 95% of the energy needed to make new cans from raw materials. Same with paper; recycling paper saves 60% of energy than creating new. Although, paper gets a little more damaged each time, it can still be recycled 5-7 times before the fibres become too degraded. But, even then they can be used to make lower-grade paper based materials like egg cartons. Cool aye? With this being said, sadly we can't recycle our way out of the problems our planet is facing, so remember the previous 3R's in the sequence.
In Mid Sussex, our recycling bins are grey with a blue lid. Our recycling is collected by Serco, on behalf of MSDC, once a fortnight.
In this post we are looking at a couple myths regarding recycling and the infamous Terracycle! Lets get into it....
Myth 1: I don't need to separate anything. I can throw whatever I want into the bin and it will get sorted out.
This, in some case is true. Compared to 30 years ago when you had to separate the materials (e.g. paper, glass etc.) consumers no longer have to sort by material due to advances in machinery, but it has come with the added consequence of contamination. About 1/4 of what people put in their recycling bins actually is not accepted by recycling programmes that pick them up. Not only does it costs the companies money to continuously have to sort and unblock machinery, neglecting recycling rules contaminates valuable materials that can be used again and again, but also poses hazards to the workers that actually sort it out for us. Please don't put food waste, rubber hoses, wire etc. into recycling bins.
This link will take you to a handy print out you can keep in your kitchen to remind you what can and can't go in your recycling bin in Mid Susssex! http://www.recycleforwestsussex.org/assets/Leaflets---PDFs/A5-Fidge-Flyer.pdf
Myth 2: Products made of more than one material can't be recycled
No, this isn't always the case. Consumer demand has encouraged product manufacturers to consistently work on making packaging easier to recycle! Woohoo, go us. Remember week one, Refuse? This is exactly what I meant. Your voice matters. Many recyclers are now able to deal with the 'less desirable' plastics like grocery bags and mixed, unknown resins such as toys and household items.
Any easy way to determine what it materials is used and can be recycled is this symbol:
The symbol will have a number from 1-7 in the centre which indicates the type of plastic resin used in the packaging. Codes 1&2 are usually widely recyclable, 3 is not typically collected, 4 is mainly plastic bags, of which supermarkets now take back for reuse and recycling (Tesco in Burgess Hill does this) and 5,6 &7 are typically the hardest to recycle. So when shopping, maybe have a look at the bottom for these symbols, and if possible, choose the ones are code 1&2 !
Another quick symbol to lookout for it : While you may have thought this means the product is recyclable or has been previously recycled, in fact it is just an indication that the company responsible for the product can financially contributed towards recovery and recycling of packaging in Europe.
So, for those who haven't heard of Terra Cycle, it is an organisation that makes things that are not recyclable, and recycles them! Individuals and corporations can set up collection points for their local area for things you cannot recycle, each with an allocated points systems which benefits the local community and charities. So far in the UK, Terra Cycle has over 5 million people collecting recycling for them as part of their programmes, which in turn has raised just over £1 million pounds for charities! We have 3 in Burgess Hill and one in Hayward's Heath!
Check out their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/TCburgesshill/
The lovely ladies, Lucy, Natasza, Annie and Joanne , started the Terracycle programme in May 2019 and have since grown to the 4 collection points! They operate a fair few of the Terra Cycle programmes shown below and continue to do amazing work to support the local community.