Thursday, 6 January 2011

Making a Difference?


I was girding my loins to have one of my regular rants about plastic packaging when spotting the above message stopped me in my tracks. You can't see why that is? Have a look at the right hand bag in the picture below taken this time last year...
... it (the bag in the top picture) has the magic letters LDPE. Still none the wiser? Well, my Mixed Messages post about plastic packaging last year suggested the information on the lower bag would be much more helpful if it told us the type of plastic it was so I'd have the information needed to decide whether I could in fact recycle it.
So LDPE tells me I can recycle via the collection bin for plastic bags at my local supermarket :) The change has also got me wondering if my rant last year made a difference: I did email both Morrison's and Recycle Now about it, but sadly neither have bothered to reply except for the standard 'thank you for your enquiry' :(
However, I'm still going to think that I have, just so I can add it to my Making a Difference category in my New Life's Resolutions. I've also resolved to write to my MP about this matter. It strikes me we need a system where plastic is always labelled with what type it is and all the recycling outlets clearly show which kinds are accepted. OK, ideally we should be refusing/reducing our usage, but I see that as a long term goal. My idea's a baby step which sets us on the path to get there...
What difference(s) are you planning to make this year?

11 comments:

  1. Mixed messages indeed VP, I understand your need for a rant.

    What differences for this year? Perhaps solve the mystery that is composting.

    Re recycling... buy more fresh fruit and veg not in packaging :-)

    Wishing you a fun (rant free) weekend... unless of course you enjoy ranting and in which case... rant, rant, rant ;-)

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  2. Hello, many countries have this system already.

    Australia actually has a very good one with a triangle and in it numbers 1 -6 I think which indicate what type of plastic it is.

    You don't actually have to know what the numbers mean, but different councils will recycle different, sometimes all the plastics and they stick on the recycle bins the numbers which numbers they will take.

    By law it must be on all plastics.

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  3. I agree, all plastics should be labelled, not just the containers.

    We just started making our own soda last month so we don't have all those bottles of waste to worry about recycling. One of these days I'm going to replace all of our plastic leftover containers with stainless steel.

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  4. the one thing about plastics recycling that i appreciate from local supermarkets is the bin marked especially for the plastic shopping bags to be recycled in.
    i plan in making a difference in the wee garden by properly boosting the soil. i plan on making a difference with my grandchildren most notably by tutoring the eldest in her reading. i plan on making a difference within by aggressively charting goal progress (so the goals don't just evaporate into the ether!)

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  5. I remember your rant :) Can't help but thinking that matters might sometimes be more straightforward for retailers if all local authorities batted from the same wicket.

    Here last year we were admitted to a scheme run by Recycle Bank, whereby householders get rewards (points system) for recycling. These can then be exchanged for money off vouchers or donated as cash to nominated local school projects. I think that there are presently only two local authorities involved but it is a further incentive to really scrutinise your rubbish carefully and reduce landfill.

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  6. I'm constantly confused by plastic recycling and all the 'rules'. I dread to think how much time I spend studying packaging before I decide which bin it should be destined for.

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  7. Shirl - I'm with you on avoiding packaging of possible. I have my own produce bags and need to persuade NAH to use them too. Our local farm shop has paper bags available which I like a lot.

    Katy - we have the triangle system too, so in my example we're looking at number four. The problem is that it's not been widely adopted. Even the 'standard' system proposed by Recycle Now isn't pushing exact labelling. I find it hard to believe that no-one seems to be looking at the whole process chain from the point of view of the consumer. Information is sporadic, inconsistent and simply not there. No wonder the majority of people don't bother.

    Cinj - happy new year! I've started making my own cordial too and use glass for storing.

    Petoskystone - I like your goals for this year :)

    Anna - I'd heard about that scheme and was wondering how it's going. Are people actually responding to the 'carrot' in sufficient numbers to make a difference?

    Kevin - welcome! At least you do that studying :) I suspect the majority of people don't bother and just put their plastic straight in the bin destined for landfill :(

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  8. I plant to eat more at home so we don't waste gas. Also, to make fewer trips to town.

    Interesting about the bags.

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  9. Dee - I think plenty of people here will be joining you in making less trips, or keeping things more local. The cost of petrol (gas) has just reached a record high!

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  10. absolutely with you on the need for more information about plastic recycling. It maddens me when there is no information but the suggestion to go off and check with your local recycling centre - it's only 7 miles away after all! I think there is slow improvement but it should definitely be faster.

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  11. Lu - you can also find out online via the Recycle Now website. What really annoys me is what's on the plastic isn't usually what's shown on the recycling websites nor at the recycling centres (or home collections for those lucky enough to have one).

    I'm surprised people manage to recycle their plastic at all seeing no-one seems to have looked at the process from start to finish. I'm sure this is an area where we could easily improve the rates of plastic recycling without too much effort. It's a simple matter of making the right information available and consistently.

    As soon as people need to find out the information in order to be able to make a decision on whether they can recycle, the majority will simply throw it away in the bin that gets taken to landfill.

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