Category Archives: Waste and Recycling

Local Recycling Directory – Colchester Essex

After you have reduced, reused and repaired any items you buy the next option is to recycle what you have left. The first thing to do is to check out what recycling facilities are available through your Local Authority.

The next step is to see if any items not recycled through your local authority can be recycled somewhere else.
Check out Recycle Now for a comprehensive A to Z directory of how to dispose of items and the Love Essex recycling search facility. .

In Colchester and North East Essex the following local collection points can help you recycle even more. In some cases it will also help the local groups raise money.
– Please make sure your items are clean and dry
– Please don’t make a special journey to deliver by car

See something missing let us know at info@en-form.org.uk.

*Baby Food Pouch Recycling

Baby food pouches under the Ellacycle scheme operated by Terracycle:

Acceptable Items (please ENSURE all items are clean – no residue product):

  • Baby Food pouches – any brand
  • Baby Food pouch caps
  • Ellas Kitchen (only- no other brands) snack wrappers

Battery Recycling

Batteries don’t take up much space in landfill but are made up from hazardous materials and are a pollutant. Please recycle them through the numerous shop and supermarket recycling boxes. Basically if a shop sells batteries it normally has a recycling box.

*Biscuit Wrappers

  • All Brands of non savoury biscuit wrapper
  • All Brands of cracker wrapper
  • All Brands of cake wrapper
  • Rice cake packs

Collected by: 
enform – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS
Prettygate Junior School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the main entrance.
Tendring Primary School
An Ethical Life – Carpenters Farm Great Bentley CO7 8NJ 

Biscuit wrapper recycling info page: terracycle.co.uk

Bra Recycling

Collected by:
Essex Wildlife Trust at the Visitor Centres info on bra recycling here: essexwt.org.uk

*Bread Bag Recycling

*Bread Bags (Plastic) – can be recycled at some supermarkets carrier bag recycling banks and also:
Acceptable Items
  • Any brand of bread loaf bag
The following items are not acceptable:
  • Baguette packaging
  • Bread roll packaging
  • Bagel, pretzel and crumpet packaging
  • Wraps, pitta breads, naans and garlic bread packaging
  • Croissants, brioche and pastry packaging
  • Teacakes, fruit loaves and scones packaging
  • Doughnuts, cookies and muffin packaging
  • Cake, cake bars and slices packaging
  • Pancake and waffle packaging

*Chocolate Bar and Sweet Packaging

  • Plastic chocolate and sweet pouches and bags
  • Chocolate and sweets multipack outer plastic packaging
  • Individual chocolate bar wrappers
  • Plastic chocolate block wrappers
The following items are not acceptable:
  • Breakfast, granola and energy bar wrappers
  • Aluminium foil, cardboard and paper wrappers. For example: individual foil and paper packets (like ROWNTREE’S® Fruit Pastilles or KITKAT® Biscuits) and cardboard tubes and boxes (like SMARTIES® or AFTER EIGHT®) are not accepted in this programme. These can be recycled via local council facilities.
  • Metal tins and rigid plastic trays or tubs. For example: QUALITY STREET® plastic tubs or DAIRY BOX® chocolate box packaging are not accepted in this programme. These can be recycled
    via local council facilities.
  • QUALITY STREET®wrappers as these are biodegradable via home composting.

Collected by:  
enform – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS

Prettygate Junior School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the main entrance.
Tendring Primary School
An Ethical Life – Carpenters Farm Great Bentley CO7 8NJ

*Cleaning Packaging Recycling

Any brand of:

  • Fragrance twin pack plastic sleeves
  • Flexible stain remover powder packaging
  • Flexible cleaing product refill packaging
  • Flexible home cleaning wipe packaging
  • Flexible dishwashing tablet packaging
  • Outer Plastic sleeves
  • Dishwasher cleaner outer packaging
  • Foil inside dishwasher packaging
  • Flexible plastic dishwashing salt bags
The following items are not acceptable
(Most items an be recycled through kerbside collection schemes)
  • Laundry detergent packaging
  • Toilet freshener packaging
  • Aerosols
  • Plastic bottles and tubs
  • Dishwasher liquid bottles, rinse aid packaging
  • Fragrance candles, reeds, plug ins and auto sprays
  • Soda Crystals packaging
  • Washing machine and oven cleaner packaging
  • Cardboard packaging
Collected by:
en-form – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS
Prettygate Junior School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the main entrance.

Tendring Primary School
An Ethical Life – Carpenters Farm Great Bentley CO7 8NJ

Contact Lens Recycling 

*Contact Lenses and packaging:
Collected by:
Boots Opticians

Cork Recycling

For Recorked see: recorkeduk.org 

Collected by:
enform – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS

Cosmetic Empties Recycling

Cosmetic empties are any container or item of cosmetics packaging, any brand
Collected by:
Origins counters in Debenhams.
Body Shop recycles any Body shop empty plastic bottles, tubs, tubes and pots.

Crisp and Snack Packet Recycling*

*Snack Packets (risps, nuts, popcorn and pretzels

  • Any brand of Crisp packet
  • Any brand of Crisp multipack wrapper
  • Any brand of nut packet
  • Any brand of pretzel packet
  • Any brand of popcorn packet
  • Pringle Tubes including plastic lid and seal Only (no other brands – do not crush the tube)
The following snack packs are also acceptable:
  • Quavers
  • Doritos
  • Hula Hoops
  • McCoy big crisps
  • Cheese Puffs
  • Onion rings
  • Monster munch type snacks
  • Pork Scratchings
The following items are not acceptable
  • Meat snack packets
  • Dried fruit packets

Currency and Stamps 

Collected by:
Essex Wildlife Trust can process old or foreign coins and notes. They can be donated at visitor centres.  More info here: essexwt.org.uk 

*Disposable Gloves

  • Disposable Latex Gloves
  • Disposable Vinyl Gloves
  • Disposable Nitrile Gloves
  • Disposable Cast Polyethylene Gloves
The following items are not acceptable
  • Non-disposable gloves
  • Disposable gloves that have not been used in a domestic environment
  • Disposable gloves that have been used with harsh chemicals or unhygienic substances
  • Any cardboard glove packaging (this can be recycled through your local council)
Collected by:

Inhaler Recycling

Inhalers (Medical) only. Many chemists are part of this scheme. Check for a local collection point here.

Light Bulb Recycling

Energy Efficient light bulbs only.

Collected by:
Robert Dyas, Colchester High Street

Mobile Phone Recycling

 Unwanted mobile phones can be sold through Sell My Mobile who appear to search all the other mobile phone and comparison sites to give you the best deal. Mobile phones have quite a lot of expensive raw materials that are pollutants so please don’t dump them even if they are not worth anything.

*Pet Food Pouch Recycling 

*Pet Food Pouches: Please ensure packaging is very clean and dry without any product residue
  • All wet food pouches
  • All pet treat flexible plastic packaging and pouches
  • All dry pet food flexible plastic packaging
Collected by:
en-form – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS
Prettygate Junior School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the main entrance.

Printer Cartridges (Inkjets) Recycling

Inkjet cartridges only from HP, Canon and Epson

Collected by:
en-form – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS  
Prettygate Junior School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the main entrance

Spectacle Recycling (see also  “Contact Lens” Recycling)

Many opticians collect unwanted spectacles which are then recycled.

Collected by :
Boots Opticians
Bethell and Clark (for Vision Aid)
Specsavers  (for Vision Aid)  
Owen Aves

*Toothbrushes and Oral Cleaning Recycling

  • Any brand of toothbrush
  • Any brand of electric and battery toothbrush heads
  • Any brand of toothpaste tube and caps
  • Any brand of toothbrush outer packaging (if this cannot be recycled through your normal kerbside collection)

More info on recycling toothbrushes etc here: terracycle.co.uk

Water Filter Recycling

*The Following Brand and items only:
  • Aqua Optima Universal Water Filters
  • Aqua Optima Evolve 30 and 60 Day Water Filters
  • Aqua OptimaOriginal 30 and 60 Day Water Filters

Brita Filters only:

Collected by:
Many organisations check here, select others then Water Filters
Robert Dyas, Colchester High Street
Sainsburys Priory Walk, Colchester

Wool Recycling

For local Community Projects

*Writing Instrument Recycling

The following items are collected:
  • Any brand of pen, felt tip, mechanical pencil and eraser pen
  • Any brand of highlighter
  • Any brand of correction fluid pot and correction tape
  • Any brand of marker
The following items are not accepted
  • wooden pencils and chalk
  • glue sticks
  • erasers, rulers or other cutting objects that could disturb the recycling process
Collected by:
Brinkley Grove Primary School
Elmstead Primary School
Prettygate Junior School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the main entrance.
Stanway Fiveways Primary School
*the above items are part of the terracycle Scheme:  terracycle.co.uk

 

 

Are You Guilty Of The Most Common Crimes to the Environment in Your Home?

Guest Post by Callum Dawson*

We all have our little bad habits, but how often do we consider whether they could be causing damage to the environment?  Following the findings from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change and global warming it’s clear that we need to do a lot more, collectively, to help remedy the damage that has been inflicted on Planet Earth.

And where better to start than in our own home! 

Boiling the kettle for too long or too full

One of the most common environmental crimes is boiling the kettle for too long or too full. 

Kettles actually use a lot of energy – enough to light a whole household – so the best thing to do is measure how much you’re going to need in your cup and then pour that cold water straight into the kettle for boiling. This way, you’ll stop second-guessing how much you’ll need.

 You could also look into some energy-efficient kettles!

Eating farmed meat

We’re not telling you to convert to a life of strict veganism, but just be mindful about your diet’s consequences on the planet. A diet that is based heavily on farmed meat – as opposed to the organic equivalents of the same meats – is one that props up a damaging industry.

In terms of environmental crimes, agribusiness has a lot to answer for – like hacking down countless acres of rainforest to make way for cattle farming (which then contributes to global soil depletion, not to mention the release of methane gases).

By going meat-free a few days a week, or just as much as you can, you and your home will make a monumental contribution to the cause.

Leaving the tap running

Remember to turn the tap off while you brush your teeth, and while you’re scrubbing washing-up liquid into any pots and pans. The average European wastes around 250 litres of water a day. In America, it’s as much as 575 litres a day per household. (Now, if you have a dishwasher, that’s a great start – they use far less water than you’d use if you washed everything by hand in the sink.)

Buying and using single-use plastic bag

You might not see the connection between those plastic bags you use at the supermarket and the great, big, dangerously growing heap of plastic that is part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but it’s highly likely that the plastic bags you use will eventually end up in the sea.

Bear that in mind when you’re out food-shopping, and invest in a couple of reusable bags.

 Wasting paper 

Many of us aren’t aware of the chain of events that paper-waste initiates. 14% of all global wood-harvest is used to make paper, so when you consider the scale of an operation which works to give you that piece of paper you just threw away, it really is eye-opening.

Remember recycling uses energy too! Be mindful of the amount of paper that goes into the recycling bin and go paperless where you can.

Smoking

Smoking is not only harmful to your personal health, but the process by which cigarettes are produced is also harmful to the environment. The environmental cost of tobacco production.

In fact, smoking is an all-round no-no for the eco-conscious individual. The actual act of smoking releases pollutants like ammonia, nicotine, carbon dioxide, and other harmful compounds into the atmosphere. You shouldn’t need much persuading on this one.

Eating lots of fast food 

The fast-food industry is a major drag on environmental health, with a massive chunk of street garbage and waste being attributed to fast-food vendors. The transportation of fast food also contributes to the negative impact, and believe it or not, the process of making just one Big Mac results in anywhere between 1-3.5kg of CO2 emissions.

Change starts at home

Whether you live with a full family or by yourself, it’s vital that you do what you can to help the environment. The individual efforts all count for a collective impression, so every little really does help.

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.

Author Bio

Callum Dawson is a writer for Project Air Source, one of the UK’s air source heating technology providers.

Choosing Reusable Cups and Bottles – Top 5 Initiatives to Fight Plastic Pollution Part 5

Image by Mimzy CC0

Guest Post by Erika Mastrorosa*

The final post in our series – if you haven’t read the others, please follow the links below for the full story about reducing the pollution associated with plastic production.

There are FIVE things we do to reduce our plastic footprint.

  1. Eliminating virgin plastic bottles
  2. Eliminating plastic packaging for food
  3. Using alternative mixtures in manufacturing
  4. Introducing a deposit return scheme
  5. Choosing reusable cups and bottles

Reusable Cups and Bottles

Recycling a takeaway coffee cup is not easy. In order to be leakproof and to retain heat, the cups are made of a mixture of plastic and paper, making the recycling process quite problematic.

99.75% of UK coffee cups don’t get recycled at the moment, but a growing number of retailers are now producing recyclable cups, while others are inviting customers to bring their own reusable mug

In the UK, Costa, Starbucks and Caffe Nero are encouraging consumers to choose environmentally sustainable options with rewards in the form of 20 to 50p discount or stamps on loyalty cards.

Costa has pledged to recycle 500 million takeaway coffee cups a year by 2020, working together with national waste collectors offering incentives for every tonne of takeaway cups collected.

One of the major issues of this recycling initiative is that takeaway cups can only be recycled in store, with only a small number of plants now processing used cups.

However, many of these chains are tackling the plastic pollution problem by participating in different initiatives. So-called ‘refill schemes‘ are now on the rise and have become a national campaign that aims at reducing the number of disposable plastic bottles. Cafes, shops and businesses have started to install water fountains to refill bottles for free. Pret a Manger and Costa – among many others – are participating in the initiative and many more companies are likely to follow.

The scheme even offers an app to locate the nearest fountain and to add refill stations on the map. The initiative will save you money and will help the environment. Why not be an active supporter of the change?

Fixing the world’s problems when it comes to pollution clearly requires more than a bottle return scheme or a campaign to promote reusable cups. However, not everything is lost. If governments, international and local companies and citizens themselves are truly dedicated to reducing plastic pollution, achieving  feasible environmental benefits is not an unrealistic task. We need to think carefully about the opportunities available to combat pollution. Modifying the direction of an entire economic system and the attitudes of its actors will be a slow process, but the mere fact that we are acknowledging our impact on the planet is a step forward to bringing together our efforts to reduce plastic footprint. There is still a long way to go, but at least these initiatives are paving the way to transform our production systems.

More Information:

Plastic Pollution Guide- The impact of plastic pollution on our Oceans ad what we can do about it

3 Ways To Mitigate The Impact Of Plastic Waste – A Leading Cause of Ocean Contamination and Global Warming

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.

Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme- Top 5 Initiatives to Fight Plastic Pollution Part 4

Photo Credit: WikiMedia|Bidgee

Guest Post by Erika Mastrorosa*

This is our fourth post in a series! This week we investigate how a deposit return scheme could help reduce the pollution associated with plastic production. Check out the previous weeks blogs below.

There are FIVE things we do to reduce our plastic footprint.

  1. Eliminating virgin plastic bottles
  2. Eliminating plastic packaging for food
  3. Using alternative mixtures in manufacturing
  4. Introducing a deposit return scheme
  5. Choosing reusable cups and bottles

Deposit Return Schemes

Alongside the reduction of plastic packaging, it is imperative to increase the recycling rate. The good news is that in some European countries – the UK among them – the recycling rate has even surpassed the EU recycling targets. However, much remains to be done.

One initiative to further improve the recycling rate is a well-established deposit return scheme. The commitment to reducing the environmental impact doesn’t stop at the existing household recycling programmes. Over the years, environmental organisation have exposed both governments’ and private companies’ shortcomings in encouraging and funding deposit return schemes.

It is true that recycling plastic costs more than producing new packaging, but the implementation of environmentally responsible schemes can benefit companies in a general switch to renewable resources, which could ultimately result in an economic advantage, not to mention popularity in this moment of increasing environmental awareness.

 Just recently the UK government has announced a deposit return scheme in the attempt to reduce litter. In exchange for a small amount of cash, consumers can return their bottles and cans in the appropriate returning facilities. The adhering retailers will then be responsible for recycling the returned items.

 Almost 40 countries have now adopted this strategy, witnessing an increase in the recycling rate of more than 90%. Although there is no definitive evidence of the reduction of littering connected to the deposit return schemes, these schemes are certainly a viable strategy to change the population’s attitudes and to force big chains and companies to provide in-store recycling facilities.

Together with the pledge to employ fully recyclable packaging, Co-op and Iceland have been the pioneers of the initiative. Back in 2017, the two supermarket chains led the way to increase the percentage of plastic bottle collection for recycling, setting an important example and creating a standard for other companies to follow.

Stay tuned to find out about using choosing reusable cups and bottles!

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.

Using Alternative Mixtures in Manufacturing- Top 5 Initiatives to Fight Plastic Pollution Part 3

Image by congerdesign CC0

Guest Post by Erika Mastrorosa*

Welcome to the third post in a series about tackling the global emergency of plastic pollution.  Over the coming weeks we’ll discuss each of the categories below. This week we take a look at how using alternative mixtures in manufacturing could help reduce the pollution associated with plastic production.

There are FIVE things we do to reduce our plastic footprint.

  1. Eliminating virgin plastic bottles
  2. Eliminating plastic packaging for food
  3. Using alternative mixtures in manufacturing
  4. Introducing a deposit return scheme
  5. Choosing reusable cups and bottles

Alternative Mixtures

Although much attention and capital has been invested in recycling schemes and awareness campaigns, other initiatives are contributing to the reduction emissions associated with a plastic footprint. One of these is ‘PlantBottle.’

Traditional PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles are made entirely from fossil fuels, thus  a contributing factor to greenhouse gas emissions. While traditional PET bottles production results in damaging carbon footprint, a PlantBottle is a step in a more sustainable direction, it is the first-ever fully recyclable plastic bottle made partially from plants, rather than entirely of fossil fuels.

Using plant made bottles is certainly a more sustainable practice companies can adopt to reduce the harmful impact of plastic packaging. PlantBottle for example is 100% recyclable like traditional PET plastic, but it’s produced using sugar cane residue instead of petroleum, which reduces the carbon dioxide emissions. Not using fossil fuels, PlantBottles produce 60% less greenhouse gases and use 50% less fossil fuels in their production. You can read more about the technology here.

 Stay tuned to find out about using deposit returns schemes!

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.

Eliminating Plastic Packaging for Food – Top 5 Initiatives to Fight Plastic Pollution Part 2

Photo Credit: WikiMedia | MichaelisScientists CC: 0.4

Guest Post by Erika Mastrorosa*

This is the second post in a series about tackling plastic waste. Plastic pollution is a global emergency and it has been estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fishFollowing on from Erika’s first post about ways to eliminate virgin plastic bottles, we take a look at ways to eliminate plastic packaging for food.

There are FIVE things we do to reduce our plastic footprint.

  1. Eliminating virgin plastic bottles
  2. Eliminating plastic packaging for food
  3. Using alternative mixtures in manufacturing
  4. Introducing a deposit return scheme
  5. Choosing reusable cups and bottles

Over the coming weeks we’ll tell you about each one. This week we’ll are focussing Eliminating plastic packaging for food.

Eliminating Plastic Packaging for Food

If we think about the food we consume every day, we might not recognise its environmental impact. When we think about the environmental footprint linked to the food we consume, our mind probably goes to the polluting chemicals involved in food production, the carbon footprint of transportation or food waste. 

These are certainly critical issues to be addressed, but what about the plastic used to package the food we consume? If we think about it, virtually everything we buy comes into a plastic package: the plastic film or the trays that wrap packaged fruit and vegetables, frozen food packaging and even plastic bags for fresh produce.

We are so used to it that we probably don’t even notice it, but retailers are among the main contributors to plastic pollution and are causing unprecedented damage to our oceans.

Amid growing concern over the environmental footprint of human activities linked to food production and distribution, many supermarkets have pledged to reduce the employment of plastic packaging and give customers the possibility of going plastic-free.

Iceland has been the first major retailer to commit to eliminating plastic packaging from its brand products, leading the way for UK supermarkets to shift towards more sustainable choices. The chain has promised to go plastic-free within five years, ultimately substituting all plastic packaging with paper trays and paper bags.

 Following the initiative, Theresa May has pledge to reduce plastic waste through the Government’s 25-year environmental plan. Some supermarkets such as Ekoplaza in Amsterdam have already created plastic-free aisles, and the Guardian reported on small UK retailers including who have invested in zero waste projects.

The burden of reducing plastic footprint does not fall only on big retailers, but everyone must do their part. As used as we are to plastic, we tend to overuse plastic bags even when unnecessary. An example of this is the use of plastic bags for fruit, vegetables and other fresh goods. To tackle the issue, some countries have switched to eco-friendly, biodegradable bags. Although the compostable alternative has been a step forward in our fight against plastic pollution, consumers have failed to take responsibility and have been making use of the biodegradable bags beyond their intended employment in supermarkets. The issue has become so serious that some retailers have started to charge a small sum for every bag hoping to see a decrease in the overuse of compostable bags.

 Stay tuned to find out about using alternative mixtures in manufacturing!

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.

Eliminating Virgin Plastic Bottles – Top 5 Initiatives to Fight Plastic Pollution Part 1

Plastic Pollution Image by adege CC0

Guest Post by Erika Mastrorosa*

With its toxic impact on humans, animals and environment, plastic pollution is a global emergency we can no longer overlook. In our everyday lives, many of us rely on disposable plastic packaging. Although plastic has been made to last forever, 33% is only used once. Plastic cannot biodegrade, it just breaks into smaller pieces and pollutes the environment, affecting every living being.

 There are traces of plastic chemicals in our blood and tissues and even babies are born pre-polluted. It has been estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Plastic pollutes our food and threatens wildlife and environment, this without considering the enormous cost of plastic use in the consumer goods sector, which amounts to circa $75 billion per year.

There are FIVE things we do to reduce our plastic footprint.

  1. Eliminating virgin plastic bottles
  2. Eliminating plastic packaging for food
  3. Using alternative mixtures in manufacturing
  4. Introducing a deposit return scheme
  5. Choosing reusable cups and bottles

Over the coming weeks we’ll tell you about each one. This week we’ll start with Eliminating virgin plastic bottles.

Eliminating virgin plastic bottles

Single-use plastic packaging is a major issue when it comes to plastic footprint. Many organisations are trying to roll back the effects of plastic pollution by either collecting plastic waste or dispose of it in the proper way. Albeit now necessary, this retroactive intervention should go hand in hand with the effort to avoid the production of any polluting packaging.

 At the beginning of the year, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation together with WRAP have sponsored an initiative to tackle the issue of plastic waste in the UK. They refer to the programme as a ‘holistic initiative’ that will change life-cycle of plastic. In line with the circular economy system the Foundation promotes, their tenet is to make sure that the resources are used over and over again.

Through better design, we can eliminate single use plastics, make plastic packaging 100% recyclable and guarantee that each new product contains at least 30% of recycled plastic.

Recently, Coca-cola has pledged to recycle every bottle by 2030. This sustainable packaging goal– as they have named it – comes after a petition signed by over half a million people. With its  “World Without Waste” vision, Coca-cola has also pledged to invest more resources in educating the public on how and what to recycle. 

Although some might say that it is too little too late, businesses and organisations are trying to provide long-term plans to reduce their plastic footprint and benefit the environment.

Another example of this is Ecover, whose ‘Clean Plastic’ programme is the core of the company. Through a make-use-reuse-recycle policy, Ecover’s mission is to provide a leading example for manufacturers to use more sustainable materials and reuse them as much as possible.

Stay tuned to find out about Eliminating plastic packaging for food!

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.

How Does The UK Compare To The Rest Of The World For Recycling?

Recycling In Egypt Image by imordaf CC0

Recycling In Egypt Image by imordaf CC0

Guest post by Dean Willshee*

After last year’s disappointing recycling statistics were released, showing that the UK’s recycling rate had actually fallen between the 2014/15 period and the 2015/16 period, it is important to put it into perspective. The period of 2000 to 2017 has been one of significant growth for UK recycling rates. The UK is the 16th in the world in terms of recycling, with a recycling rate of 43.5%.

Comparison with other European countries

The UK has seen one of the largest increases in recycling rates over the period of 2004 to 2014 out of all of the European countries. In 2004, we were recycling 23% of all of our waste and in 2014 this had almost doubled to 44%. The country that saw the biggest increase was Lithunia, which saw its recycling rate increase from 2% in 2004 to 30% in 2014.

The best performing country in Europe and the world as a whole is Germany which, in 2015 recycled 66.1% of its entire waste, a very impressive feat and one that the UK should be aiming for.

Comparison with the rest of the world

The UK comes 16th in terms of world recycling rates, but incredibly, Wales by itself is 3rd, sitting behind only Singapore and Germany. Outside of Europe, the country with the highest recycling rate is Singapore, which recycles 60.6% of its waste. Several major world powers are much further down the list, with the US in 25th place – a recycling rate of 34.6%. Russia, China and India do not appear in the top 25.

The publication of Waste Strategy 2000

This was the UK’s first big push for recycling. The targets set out in WS2000 were bold, but they offered the UK some concrete goals to aspire to. For example, there were aims to be recycling 40% of municipal waste by 2005 (the actual figure for 2005 was 26.7%), 45% by 2010 (the actual figure was 40.2%), 67% by 2015 (actual figure: 43.5%).

The WS2000 was a direct result of EU recycling directives. The 1999 Landfill Directive demanded a reduction in the amount of waste being dumped in landfills from 11.2 million tonnes in 2010 to 7.46 million.

If you split up the UK, the progress that Wales has made is absolutely stunning. By itself, Wales is recycling 62% of its waste and is considering setting a new 80% target. Scotland is slightly higher than the UK, with 44.2%, whereas England’s is 42.4% and Northern Ireland’s is 41.8%. The incredible progress made by Wales is a direct result of the devolved government’s Towards Zero Waste policy in 2010.

The national league table

We might not be on top of the world, but this list shows which local authorities are doing their part to push the UK up the rankings. It shows the top 10 local authorities in the UK for waste recycling in 2015/16. Check where your local authority ranks.

Rank       Local Authority                   Recycling, Reuse and Composting Rates

1               South Oxfordshire District Council           66.6%

2               East Riding of Yorkshire Council                66.1%

3               Rochford District Council                            66%

4               Vale of White Horse District Council         64.8%

5               Surrey Heath Borough Council                  62.1%

6               West Oxfordshire District Council             60.8%

7               Stratford-on-Avon District Council             60.4%

8               Trafford MBC                                                 60.4%

9               Three Rivers District Council                        59.4%

10            Stockport MBC                                               59.4%

Conclusions

As you can see, the UK certainly has room for improvement when it comes to recycling, but the improvement over the last ten to fifteen years is promising. Hopefully, the fall last year is merely an anomaly in a period of growth. Luckily, the rest of the UK has a nearby role model in Wales to look to if we require inspiration.

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.

 

Author Bio

Dean Willshee runs Willshee’s Skip Hire, an eco-conscious company based in Burton. The company has a dedicated onsite recycling facility with a zero landfill policy which ensures that as much as possible can be put to new use.

 

Why Is It More Important Than Ever To Reduce Global Emissions?

Guest post by Christina Woodard*

A conscious effort is needed by everyone to reduce our impact on the environment. Climate change will be one of the most serious issues facing us over the next few decades, with CO2 one of the key contributors. The negative impacts include:

  • coastal erosion
  • flooding
  • loss and change of habitats
  • drought
  • increased ranges of infectious diseases
  • destruction of coral reefs
  • increased extreme weather events

to name a few.

Reducing deforestation, finding efficient and alternative energy sources that are sustainable and placing limits on current emissions are all key to reducing global emissions. There are already several countries leading the way having 100% of electrical generation from renewables with others rapidly following in their footsteps. Improvements in the UK are already underway, with the contribution of coal to electricity generation down to just 9% in 2016. On April 21st 2017, Britain had its first period of 24 hours with no coal fired generation.

Aware of the threats which face us all, 200 parties signed up to the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015. Unfortunately one country has already pulled out and many are not likely to achieve their pledges. It is also thought that currently only 3 European countries are truly meeting their pledges. Unfortunately, the agreement is non-binding and has no penalties in place for not trying hard enough. The USA ,with 10% of the world’s population but contributing approximately 50% of CO2 emissions, made a decision this month (June 2017) to pull out of the Paris agreement – as they ramped up oil production to 9.1 million barrels a day. Unless these countries can look at the wider picture, it makes it difficult to suggest using or investing in renewable energy sources when there is a cheap energy source available in the form of oil.

2016 was the first time the annual atmospheric carbon levels exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm). This historic event was the globally agreed ‘tipping point’, where, like a glass of red wine spilt on a new white rug, the atmospheric changes would be irreversible. A shocking monthly high of 410 ppm in March 2017 indicates that we are not heading in the right direction.

Global levels for carbon dioxide (CO2) have always naturally fluctuated but the increased level of CO2 caused by humans since the industrial revolution is the main cause of anthropogenic climate change. The 400 ppm levels mentioned above are 25% higher than the levels measured 50 years ago.

Since then, our ever-growing population, with its ever-growing demand for food and energy for homes, vehicles, businesses and cities have resulted in exploitation of our fossil fuels. When coal, oil and natural gas are burned these release high levels of atmospheric carbon. Deforestation by humans for mining, agriculture, ranching, infrastructure and settlements has exacerbated the issue as the earth’s ability to remove carbon dioxide naturally via plant respiration is depleted.

reduce global emissions graph blog jun17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are already experiencing the effects of climate change. Global atmospheric temperatures and extreme weather events are increasing, climatic and local weather patterns are changing, oceans are warming causing thermal expansion and coastal flooding, frozen water stores are receding or thawing. In permafrost, this is a big problem as trapped methane (a greenhouse gas and big contributor to climate change) is released.

In 2010, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed that future global warming should be limited to below 2.0 °C relative to the pre-industrial level. This figure was revised to 1.5 °C in the 2015 Paris Agreement but the current trajectory of emissions is not in line with limiting global warming to below 1.5 or even 2 °C. We have already breached the 1°C mark in 2015, and many feel that it would be difficult to maintain a temperature rise below 2.7°C even if the climate pledges were adhered to.

Whilst we can’t reduce the level of atmospheric CO2, in our lifetime at least, we can mitigate the climatic effects by lessening the emissions we each produce. The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) stated in 2014 that “Mitigation is a public good; climate change is a case of the tragedy of the commons. Effective climate change mitigation will not be achieved if each agent (individual, institution or country) acts independently in its own selfish interest”. Clearly, the for need mitigating emissions needs to start with all humans, at an individual level, working collectively with other humans to do the same.

But what are our individual emissions? World bank 2013 data cites the US at 16.4 tons per person per year, and the UK and Tanzania at 7.1 and 0.2 tons per person respectively. Researching your carbon footprint based on your own energy use is the first step towards educating how we as individuals can mitigate against climate change. Examples include:

  • Choose energy that comes from renewable sources for your home and/or business
  • Reduce your water usage
  • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – Reduce food waste for example, buy less or use scraps as compost rather than sending to landfill sites; reuse packaging whenever you can, recycle plastics in particular as they derive from oil, a carbon source.
  • Increase the energy efficiency in your home and place of work; for example, improving insulation, remote heating, energy efficient bulbs and draft excluders.
  • Change from use of gas for cooking and heating to use of electricity ???? (this is only the case if electricity is produced using renewable sources. If using coal powered energy generation it is not as environmentally friendly as using mains gas in the UK.
  • Increasing afforestation by planting more trees and plants.

This isn’t the usual ‘save the planet’ rhetoric. Our planet has been around for 4.5 billion years and has endured hotter and colder periods than in the present day. What is at stake is life on earth as we know it. To preserve both human life and biodiversity, every human must commit to reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions (and not just 180 small countries/states). The Doomsday Clock is an analogy for the likelihood of human-caused global catastrophe, and was largely represented as nuclear war, however, in 2007 climate change was added (nuclear war or climate change beginning seen as the two biggest threats to humanity). It was reset in January 2017 to 2½ minutes to midnight, due to the rise of nationalism, the Trump Administrations view of climate change in the US, and the current nuclear modernisations. The only other time that it has been closer (2 minutes to midnight) was in 1952 when both the US and the Soviet Union tested thermonuclear weapons.

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.

Author Bio

Christina Woodard is a highly knowledgeable environmental writer who enjoys writing informative posts on climate change, global worming, rising temperatures, and constantly increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Apart from sharing the latest information on environmental problems she enjoys reading and traveling.

For more information on all of these issues, the author recommends readers visit Envirodat.

3 Ways To Mitigate The Impact Of Plastic Waste – A Leading Cause of Ocean Contamination and Global Warming

Guest post by Erich Lawson*

Image provided by Author Erich Lawson

Image provided by Author Erich Lawson

Waste management is a major challenge. One of the biggest contributors to ‘waste’ is plastic. A majority of our day to day products are either made from plastic or are packaged with plastic. However, a major consequence of this is, plastic waste has become one of the prime pollutants of our oceans and one of the major causes of global warming as well.

The plastic waste on land is carried to the seas with the help of winds and rains. Given its low density it easily travels from beaches to gyres, which is a type of system of revolving ocean currents. The number of plastic pieces in the oceans is in trillions! The waste plastic can be seen floating on the top of the sea water as well as lying on the sea bed. And, not just the ocean waters, the marine wildlife is equally suffering terribly, thanks to this waste created by mankind.

“every life form ingests plastic particles and even waste plastic products.”

The plastic debris in oceans is ingested by oceanic animals across the food chain. From smallest life forms like zooplanktons to the biggest ones like whales, every life form ingests plastic particles and even waste plastic products. Sea birds’ mistake floating plastic remains for food and feed these particles to their chicks, and hence the chicks frequently starve. Abandoned fishing gears often end up entangled in whales that as a result have to suffer a slow and painful death. You can find limitless stories on the internet today, about how this man-made contaminant is destroying the only planet fit for living in the universe.

Plastic is also one of the primary causes for global warming. It takes a lot of energy to produce packaging plastics as their core ingredient is made from non-renewable resources. The use of plastic releases tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere every year.

Appropriate awareness and action, even at small levels can bring about a sea change over a period of time.

We can mitigate the impacts of plastic waste by undertaking the following measures:

  • Banning and Cleaning – Coast cleaning programs which are already underway need to be transformed to become more inclusive and rewarding to yield maximum outcomes. Strict and effective measures should be taken to ban plastic and replace it with green products.
  • Reduce – We can reduce the demand for plastic in any form, by opting for eco-friendly options. This will eventually help curtail its production. This can gradually make a huge difference to the amount of plastic that is introduced in the ecosystem.
  • Recycle and Reuse – Most plastic products are suitable for recycling and reusing. This can minimize the adverse environmental impacts of that plastic product. Also, even though our intent for recycling plastic has strengthened over the years, the processes undertaken has many deficiencies. Hence, the overall quantity of recycling has been poor. It can be overhauled by improving awareness, systems for identification and ease of access to recycling units in public spaces.

Thus, let’s not abuse the power we have been given by nature; that of being the most intelligent creatures in the food chain. We can all make a huge impact with even the smallest of alterations when it comes to using plastic in our lives. Let’s keep our oceans clean and planet healthy by reducing, reusing and recycling plastic.

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.

 

Related links:
Beachwatch

Beachcare

Let’s work together to turn the tide on pollution

Plastic from tyres ‘major source’ of ocean pollution

Plastic ‘nurdles’ found littering UK beaches

Plastic oceans: what do we know?

 

Author Bio

How Can We Mitigate the Impact of Plastic Waste AUTHOR BIO PIC

Erich Lawson is passionate about saving the environment through effective recycling. He has written a wide range of articles on how modern recycling equipment can be used by industries to reduce monthly waste bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment savings techniques by visiting Northern California Compactors, Inc blog.