Recent campaigns by Hugh’s War on Waste, have shown us that single use drinks cups can’t be recycled easily, but plastics bottles can.
Therefore it’s a major concern that Recycle Now have discovered that the UK throws away 16 million plastic bottles a day, over 50% of the total daily usage.
This material ends up as litter and then landfill, where it can find its way back into the eco-system to damage wildlife or leach chemicals into the environment. Plastic is made from oil which is a finite resource and should be preserved for other uses or kept in the ground.
Conservation groups and marine charities have warned of the environmental dangers of plastic bottles, which can take up to 500 years to break down once in the sea.
More than 8,000 plastic bottles were collected by the Marine Conservation Society’s annual beach clean-up at seaside locations from Orkney to the Channel Islands on one weekend last September. The charity’s annual report published this year revealed a 34 per cent rise in beach litter overall between 2014 and 2015, the largest ever amount of litter per kilometre (3,298 pieces).
Alice Harlock, from Recycle Now said:
“The number of plastic bottles not being recycled is staggering and will increase further if we don’t take action. Householders are often unsure if items are recyclable especially from the bathroom, bedroom and living room. An easy way to tell is, if an item is plastic and bottle shaped its recyclable.”
As the success of the plastic bag tax in reducing waste has shown, UK consumers understand why it’s important to reuse or recycle. It’s potentially small changes in raising awareness or Government policy that could effect big changes and a cleaner environment for all.
Alice Harlock continued:
“We need to challenge ourselves when it comes to what we could be recycling. Every plastic bottle counts. We’re asking people to think more about what they can recycle every time they go to put something in the waste bin. If you’re having a shower and using up the last of the shampoo – don’t just think replace, think Recycle. When you run out of your favourite moisturiser in the morning – don’t just think replace, think Recycle. If you’re not sure whether you can recycle plastic bottles at home check out our Recycling Locator.”
How to recycle plastic bottles
Nearly all local authorities in the UK collect recycling from the home, and recycling plastic bottles has never been easier. To ensure you can confidently recycle at home, Recycle Now recommends:
- Making sure plastic bottles are empty
- Rinsing the bottles
- Squashing the bottles to save space in the recycling bin (then put the lids back on)
- If you’re on the go; pop your plastic bottle in a bag and recycle it when you get home rather than throwing it in a waste bin
Why recycle plastic bottles
Using recycled materials in the manufacturing process uses considerably less energy than required for producing new products from scratch – 75% less in fact, meaning the impact on the environment is lowered.