On my journey to living a more low waste lifestyle, recycling is something that I’ve done a lot of reading up on. Here in the UK we have a mixed recycling bin that is collected fortnightly. The items that you can recycle within them vary depending on your counties rules but that information is readily available online. Here’s a handy website I found that lets you pop in your postcode and find out what you can recycle from home! Here in Gloucestershire, we’re quite lucky that our home recycling bins can take pretty much any recyclable material.
Every two weeks, our recycling bin is full to the top. You’d think this would be a good thing, but recycling, sadly, isn’t the answer to all of our waste prayers, especially when it comes to plastic. Although a lot of plastics from our homes can be recycled, this doesn’t mean that we should still consume and recycle so much plastic. Plastic only has a small number of times that it can be recycled before it is sent off to landfill or ends up in our oceans. Even when it is recycled, your single use plastic water bottle isn’t coming back as another water bottle, as plastic looses it’s quality through each recycling process so it’s more likely to come back as plastic packaging(that’s unrecyclable) or fishing wire(again, unrecyclable).
Not only this, but of course the resources involved in recycling are by no means “zero waste.” Of course, buying something packaged in cardboard instead of plastic is 1,000(number not accurate) times better for the planet but isn’t the most sustainable option as a consumer.
Today I thought it might be interesting to see what we as a family of three recycle in a week, so here’s our list!
3 x Beer bottles
1 x Glass jam jar(I do keep a lot of glass jars, but we weren’t needing any small jars at the moment!)
1 x Liquid seasoning bottle
1 x Coffee jar
1 x Mini gin bottle
4 x Cider cans
1 x Baked beans can
1 x Chopped tomatoes can
2 x 2L Sprite bottles
1 x Oasis bottle
2 x Innocent smoothie bottles
1 x Washing up liquid
3 x Hummus pots
2 x Grape punnets
2 x Blueberry punnets
5 x Kids yogurt pots
2 x Tofu tubs
1 x Mini pack of raisins
2 x Box of veggie sausages
1 x Veggie burger packaging sleeve
A few junk mail leaflets
1 x Paracetamol packet
2 x Loo rolls
1 x Hummus Outer Packaging
1 x Wheetabix box
1 x (clean) Bakery paper bag
1 x Red lentil pasta box
1 x Boots meal deal veggie wrap
1 x Dairylee Box
1 x Reusable coffee cup packaging
5 x Tetrapak milk alternative cartons
How are we going to combat the plastic recycling going forward?
I feel like this week I made a few poor choices in my purchasing(namely the oasis, innocent smoothies and the veggie wrap when I was caught short of time and we’re all human, right?) and we could definitely do better to reduce our recycling waste. That’s why I think it’s important to share posts like this and to do your own rubbish/recycling “audits” if you like. We’re trying to live a more low waste lifestyle but are faced with needing certain products as a family. For example, milk alternatives, the three of us drink them and currently, for us they are only available in tetrapak bottles. I did start making my own oat milk so I will have to get back into the habit of doing so. I only really use milk for tea, coffee and porridge anyway so I could 100% go with less.
Hummus we could avoid by making our own and it’s certainly something I want to try in the future(soon! So throw your best hummus recipe my way!). I drink lemonade with wine and I know that I can get lemonade in a glass bottle, but it’s quite out of our budget at the moment so I think I’m going to give up the lemonade altogether!
Tofu is something we are yet to find plastic/waste free. Hopefully with the rise of low/zero waste shops, we’ll be able to get our hands on some soon, or again, delve into making our own!
I just wanted to highlight that even when you’re trying your best and still using plastic products, as long as you are trying your best then that’s all that matters. There are tonnes of useful and interesting facts about recycling here in the UK on this website. Not an #ad, just found it interesting! Are you willing to share what you recycle in a whole week?
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, but millions of us doing it imperfectly.”