I spotted a bottle top recently, trampled into the floor of a local park. It said “Please Recycle Me”.

It seemed to epitomise the problem with plastic. It’s just EVERYWHERE.  And the bottle top “plea” had been ignored.  Goodness knows where the actual bottle was – probably nestled in the reeds in the adjoining canal.  If we’re lucky it made it to a bin. And if we’re even luckier it made it to a recycling bin.

But did you know that only a staggeringly low 4% of your household waste will actually be recycled in the UK?  I counted up the household plastic we used last July for “Everyday Plastic” – at the same time as trying Plastic Free July.  Even though I was actively working on zero plastic consumption it quickly became apparent a) how impossible that was and b) there is just too much of the stuff.  

You can check out this blog post from Everyday Plastic for all the reasons why they think recycling isn’t the answer but, in summary:

  1. There is TOO MUCH plastic
  2. the recycling infrastructure is simply not sufficient
  3. making plastic from fossil fuels is cheap so will be chosen over recycled plastic
  4. most of our household shopping plastic is non-recyclable soft plastic anyway (although see the previous post about how supermarkets are changing this)
  5. plastic can only be recycled 2 or 3 times.

Yes, we need to keep recycling what we can – but the reality is we need to change our approach to plastic consumption.  Which is why it was such a shame to see the bottle deposit scheme put back to 2024 at the earliest – but great when supermarkets commit to cutting their plastic footprint.

On a different note, did you know that 22nd April was “Earth Day”?

Earthday.org’s mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.  They’ve been growing since 1970. They say that:

“as an individual, you yield real power and influence as a consumer, a voter, and a member of a community that can unite for change.  Don’t underestimate your power. When your voice and your actions are united with thousands or millions of others around the world, we create a movement that is inclusive, impactful, and impossible to ignore.”

So remember everyone: use that power. Challenge our politicians about the climate emergency and what they are doing, challenge your family and friends, challenge your employer: and we need to  challenge ourselves.  We do still have time to make a difference to our future – but we need to act fast.