The recycling-revolution: what part will you play? (part 3)

  • Firstly, check out my last blog post about how to reduce your single-use plastics including plastic bags, bottles, straws, sandwich wrappers and supermarket packaging. These have a nasty habit of winding their way back into our oceans and wrecking chaos with our marine animals. A few simple steps could drastically reduce your plastic-usage, whilst saving you a few £££ too!

 

  • Over and above this, consider cutting out other excess plastics from your life. In particular avoid those plastics which can’t be recycled, especially soft plastics and black plastics. Yesterday, I saw two sweet potatoes in a black-plastic punnet dish that were wrapped in soft plastic- this is entirely unnecessary! Instead buy loose fruits and vegetables from the supermarket or, even better, from your local green-grocer (check out Fruit-A-Peel in Broomhill for plenty of variety and great prices).

 

  • Write to Sheffield City Council and encourage them to join the other 49% of the country in offering recycling for plastic packaging. They currently “cannot accept plastic bags or plastic containers. [They] can only accept plastic bottles in the [blue] bin/box. If you bin/box contains other plastics it will not be emptied. Other plastics can be taken to a local recycling site to be recycled”1. Before writing these blog posts I was clueless that this was the case, and can imagine there are plenty of other students out there who are too. Use this handy tool to find your local recycling site where you can guilt-free dispose of your plastics (https://www.veolia.co.uk/sheffield/recycling-sites/recycling-sites/recycling-site-finder-0).

 

  • Get involved at university! For example, ‘Green Impact’ is a student-led programme that increases the university’s sustainability practices. Make friends whilst making a difference.

 

  • Make sure you thoroughly sort your plastics in your bins at home. Soft plastics cause the sorting machines to clog up, and even if your packaging has a small amount of soft-plastic the rest might not be recycled. Also, make sure you thoroughly clean any plastics you do put in- they won’t accept those still covered in food. Black plastic and mixing plastic packaging with plastic bottles is also a no-go! My house recently made posters to put up above the recycling bins, simple steps like these can go a long way.

 

  • Sign up to petitions- they do make a difference! In 2016 Greenpeace successfully campaigned for microplastics to be banned from cosmetic products, without the 140,000 people who signed it2, this change wouldn’t have happened. Likewise, PG tips have made their tea-bags fully biodegradable after 200,000 people signed a gardeners-online campaign3 (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/28/pg-tips-switches-plastic-free-tea-bags-200000-sign-gardeners/).

 

  • Looking for an innovative present for your midlife-crisis/budding-gardener mum and dad? Then wormeries are an awesome gift. You can feed them almost any left-over food (including tea bags and coffee grounds), cardboard and paper (please though- no plastic!) and you can use their urine as an organic plant fertilizer! It’s a brilliant way of reducing your land-fill contribution.

 

  • Upcycle! Turn your old tins into plant pots, your glass bottles into vases, jars into vivariums, or even old corks for all you champagne-drinkers out there, into baby succulent holders!

 

The art of upcycling- transform your waste into innovative creations!

Plastic is predicted to outweigh fish by 20504 unless some drastic measures are taken. We can’t let our generation be responsible for this crime. Reducing your plastic and other waste goes beyond the marine species we recognise as effected. You will reduce fossil fuels, coral bleaching (a journal in Science found that when plastic touches coral, their chances of getting sick increase by 85%)5 and eye-sore landfill sites. The power is in your hands to make a difference!

 

  1. https://www.veolia.co.uk/sheffield/collections-home/collections-home/blue-bin-and-blue-box-recycling-service/blue-bin-and-blue-box-flexible-service
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/08/petition-urges-uk-government-to-ban-plastic-microbeads
  3. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/28/pg-tips-switches-plastic-free-tea-bags-200000-sign-gardeners/
  4. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/12108522/More-plastic-than-fish-in-the-oceans-by-2050-report-warns.html
  5. https://futurism.com/ocean-plastic-choking-worlds-most-precious-coral-reefs/