Recycling Roundup 15th January

Rochford Council in Essex is supporting the Recycle for Essex campaign, after it was revealed that taxpayers in the county are losing more than £1.5 million per year by not reusing or recycling clothes. The scheme will raise awareness of exactly how much clothing goes to waste by strategically dumping piles of clothing across the county.

The director for environmental services for the council said that he wants to reinforce that clothing and textiles are almost 100% recyclable, and that even if they are in poor condition, they can be recycled to produce new materials to serve many different purposes including insulation. The council is backing the scheme throughout January.

 essex

The founder of an organisation which recycles and reclaims furniture to give those in need household items at affordable prices has added his voice to the discussion about what needs to happen with plastics and paper products once they are discarded.

Dorset Reclaim has been restoring furniture for 20 years, and its founder, a well-known and vocal figure in the local area has said that the UK really needs to start thinking about what happens to all the plastic and other recyclables it produces.

The issue of what we should do with plastic is very much in the public eye since David Attenborough’s Blue Planet documentary aired on the BBC. It featured harrowing pictures of wildlife that had been harmed by pieces of discarded plastic.

China has recently announced that it is banning the import of some plastic and paper products, which spells trouble for recycling in the UK. The founder of Dorset Reclaim said he believes that the Chinese ban is down to the fact that plastic contaminates waste, so much of it can’t be recycled, or it can’t be recycled very easily.

The local council has stated that they are working to find other markets for their recyclables, and they are awaiting the results of an enquiry led by Michael Gove, into how effective a deposit return scheme in England would be.

blue planet plastic

Recycling bosses have warned that they don’t believe that the UK can handle the huge amount of plastic it generates, after China issued a ban on imports. The UK ships 500,000 tonnes of plastic to China every year, which is used and recycled in the country and used for manufacturing.

The government has issued a ban because it wants to clean up its own recycling industry, and it looks set to have a huge impact on UK recycling.

The UK Recycling Association admitted that the ban was a huge blow for the industry, as they rely a lot on China for recycling waste. Around 55% of all paper we recycle and 25% of plastics we use are shipped to China.

In terms of a viable solution, in the short term, more plastic could be incinerated, but this raises concerns about the environment, as burning plastics releases toxins into the atmosphere.

The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, admits that the UK government has taken too long to react to the ban, and that reducing the amount of plastic in circulation is their main target. 

china ban