Friday, 8 April 2011

Do me a favour, leave your plastic wrapping at the supermarket!


Don't fret, this old softie hasn't suddenly turned into an an all-guns-ablazing activist overnight but I have come across some good news that will help householders across the country quietly join the move towards a more active zero waste lifestyle.

Reported in this week's LetsRecycle bulletin is the news that the UK's key supermarkets (Asda; The Co-operative Group; WM Morrison; J Sainsbury’s; Tesco; and Waitrose) are officially accepting thin plastic film packaging through their existing in-store bag recycling facilities.

This won't be a new idea to some as several supermarkets have been doing this already, but it is welcome news that this recycling facility is now officially being rolled out at more than 4500 stores across the UK, providing customers with a place to leave packaging such as cereal bags, toilet roll packaging and multi-can wrappers.

What really struck me about the value of collecting back these materials was that according to LetsRecycle, this type of plastic makes up 43% of all plastic household packaging, weighing in at 645,000 tonnes each year.   Plastic bottles make up only 32%, or 480,000 tonnes, by comparison.  Wowsers!  It just goes to show how much there is knocking around this planet of hours and that's a lot of plastic that would otherwise go to waste if it is simply dumped in the rubbish bin.

Of course, much of this packaging can be reduced at source or reused at home (e.g. bread bags being repurposed as sandwich wrappers, and loo roll bags doubling up as bin bags), but much of it can now go back to the supermarket to be reprocessed.  To find out more information about this scheme and the on-pack recycling label that underpins it, visit Caelia Quinault's article at LetsRecycle.com Supermarkets take back plastic film in-store.   Oh....and tell your friends.  Well there's no point in keeping news like this to ourselves is there.

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10 comments:

Tracey Smith said...

In The Book of Rubbish Ideas, I called for supermarkets to take responsibility for the eroneous plastic and cardboard they make we consumers take home - I asked them to provide us with receptables to enable us to leave the bits we didn't want to take home.....and I've been banging the drum for it for a long time.....so, tis utter joy to read this!

Wonderful reporting Ms C...

TS x x x

PS: Just what I needed..xx

Almost Mrs Average said...

Glad to be bearer of such wonderful news...nothing like some recycling cheeriness. And keep banging the drum Smithy. It is clearly working ;0) xxx

Maisie said...

Any idea what I can do with the ring thingys that come round 4 packs of beer cans

mrs green @ myzerowaste said...

Great scoop Mrs A - thanks for sharing the story! I'm confused though; I knew we could put toilet roll and kitchen roll wrapping in, but cereal inners are made from different materials

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Maisie, I can't vouch for the ones that end up in your bins, but I know that some are made from LDPE, which is the same material as many plastic bottles that your council might already collect. I'd say it's worth a call to the council's recycling officer to see if they can be included in the kerbside collection. If not, try your supermarket if it's participating in the bag\film recycling scheme as LDPE is one of the materials found in some types of carrier bags. I'd be interested in what you find out.

Hi Mrs G - fascinating isn't it, and it's a question I asked at our local HWRC when I discovered they were collected mixed film a few years ago. However with most bags being made of HDPE or LDPE, I was told it is common practice for them to be collected together and that should capture most of the "bag" type of packaging. Packaging made from PP could prove to be the fly in the ointment, but if the On-pack recycling labels are used to express the information clearly, then there should be little or no mixed plastic contamination. There are very few people who would find this as interesting as me, but here you go...have a look over this document. Tis an interesting read on recycling polymers lol http://www.recoup.org/shop/product_documents/85.pdf :0) x

sooz said...

Yey! Thats great news! Thanks for sharing! :)

Nick Palmer said...

Excellent news. I'll get onto our local supermarkets to see if this can work over here. Jersey does not give out free bags with shopping - we have bags for life and we use cotton ones but I think the COOP still collects bags for recycling...

Karin said...

Thanks for letting us know about this. It sounds like a good move.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Thanks guys. It would be great to find out what's happening with your local supermarkets. Sometimes it takes a while for these things to roll out. I remember head office of one of our stores announced something at a national level once. I went into the store three weeks later and the staff didn't know about it. So it will be very interesting to see what happens on this one ;0)

magento themes said...

More awareness is required in this regard.We should stop the use of polythene or we should use the recyclable ones.Polythene is the main reason for the polution.These are not bio-degradable.We need to think for some alternative way for this.

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