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Recycling Stress

(71 Posts)
vivvq Sun 26-May-19 13:36:44

I have always recycled, upcycled, made do and mended. I remember sticking fablon on the baby food tins and using them as containers in the larder. I made my wedding dress and then made the christening robe from it which has now been used by the grandchildren. I now find myself really stressed by the day to day recycling. I seem to spend a lot of time sorting stuff, reading what bits can be recycled and worrying that so much still can't be recycled. I know that my grandchildren's future depends on us all doing the best we can to reduce waste and this makes me feel even more stressed.

Anja Sun 26-May-19 14:10:28

Just do what you can.

DoraMarr Sun 26-May-19 14:13:17

It’s good that you care, and you are obviously doing your best. Don’t worry about the odd mistake- better to recycle some than none at all. flowers

phoenix Sun 26-May-19 14:14:44

As Anja says, do what you can.

"Stressing" over it is OTT.

phoenix Sun 26-May-19 14:19:52

You say that you are "worrying that so much still can't be recycled"

That's something that you can't change.

Focus instead on what you can do.

Sara65 Sun 26-May-19 15:08:03

I agree with previous posts, do what you can, and don’t worry about what you can’t!

Nannarose Sun 26-May-19 15:13:28

Indeed - sometimes if you get stressed, you end up doing less than if you just did what seemed reasonable and possible.
A forgotten slogan of the Civil Rights Movement was 'we can only do today, what we can do today'. I have found this helpful, and as my health is not what it was, I can make my peace with 'what I can do today'.
And I'd suggest that one thing you can do is contact your local council and tell them that their information on recycling is unclear!

Happiyogi Sun 26-May-19 16:00:03

I understand what you're saying vivvq. It is frustrating to want to do the right thing, but not have the necessary information.

I think the supermarkets are very guilty here. Putting away the fruit and veg I bought this week, I was left with a big pile of 8 clear wrappings which had to be binned - apart from one, off a pack of organic pears which says it can be recycled in-store with plastic bags. The others state that they're not currently recyclable, and two say "Check Locally Kerbside". Really? With a passing school kid or dogwalker?!!

I believe it's inexcusable of supermarkets to still be using mountains of different materials all destined for landfill. It's wrong on so many levels that they are contributing to the choking of our planet with waste in their relentless pursuit of profit. It's beyond high time that a planet-friendly solution is found and put into practice by all the supermarkets.

It's also time we had clearer national standards and instructions. The advice to "just do our best" is kind, but misguided since we're told that a piece of the wrong material in a recycling batch can cause the whole load to be declared contaminated, and dumped as a result. The "offender" will never know they've inadvertently caused a problem and will unwittingly continue.

I think most consumers want to do the right thing nowadays. Since not everyone has access to a good quality market or old fashioned greengrocer on their dying high street, the supermarkets must take action.

Nannarose Sun 26-May-19 16:18:21

Like a lot of grans, who help out with grandkids, I find myself dealing with 3 different local authorities for bin collection, and as Happiyogi says, it's a pain!
I think that one problem is that councils sell their collected recyclables- so one council may strike a deal for a certain commodity. In one of the councils I deal with, there is no glass collection as they think it not worthwhile! Bottle banks for those with cars (or bike trailers!), otherwise, into the bin with them! Different ones collect different plastics.
I do agree that national standards would help - especially clearly labelled plastic types. Even if in some councils, they go into the bin, at least we can be clear.

In the meantime, we can also be clear about where the responsibility lies - with us to do what we can, with councils, shops & manufacturers to label and instruct properly.

phoenix Sun 26-May-19 17:00:53

Actually, I didn't say what I wanted to in response to the OP blush

BlueBelle Sun 26-May-19 17:10:35

I m making plastic bricks no idea what I ll do with them yet but you just push all your plastic coverings into a litre or 2 litre plastic drink bottle and push down with any thin implement so it’s really packed down strong I believe some schools have made seats and things I might use them to fence the bins in There’s a www for it I ll try and find the link it seems better than just binning it

Nonnie Sun 26-May-19 17:18:15

BlueBelle where could I get hold of the plastic bottles to fill?

BlueBelle Sun 26-May-19 17:33:21

Don’t you drink any fruit juices, squashes, bottled water etc?
I buy fruit flavoured water (0 calories😊) as my main drink other than tea and coffee so I have lots of 1 litre bottles to fill

Nonnie Sun 26-May-19 17:37:31

No Blubelle well maybe one or two bottles of fizzy water a year. I do drink a lot of tap water though! We do have more glass bottles though grin wine

SueDonim Sun 26-May-19 17:47:01

I'm currently in the US and I now feel profoundly depressed about my efforts in the UK which seem small and insignificant against the tide of waste and single-use plastic here.

Plastic straws abound, I've yet, after five days, to have a cup of coffee in a proper cup, plastic cutlery and plates in some restaurants, plastic bags handed out willy-nilly, food sold in swathes of plastic.

I shall, of course, keep up my efforts but America really needs to get on board before there will be any significance difference to the planet. sad

BlueBelle Sun 26-May-19 17:47:17

Ok well that wouldn’t work for you then Nonnie I have a litre bottle a day roughly I cannot bear the chlorine taste of tap water and at 30p a bottle it’s a reasonably cheap alternative for me,( a couple of quid a week) I only drink wine high days and holidays so not many glass bottles in my house

BlueBelle Sun 26-May-19 17:52:13

Here’s one I made earlier 😂

Culag Sun 26-May-19 18:55:56

Chlorine breaks down naturally after a while so if you store your drinking water in an open jug in the fridge for about 24 hours it should get rid of most of it. So it won’t cost you anything, and you won’t be buying plastic bottles.

Fennel Sun 26-May-19 19:04:51

I sympathise with your view, NanaRose. Having moved around a lot last year. But I don't think we can have national rules, because there's a limited number of businesses that can dispose of certain types of rubbish. Unless those are nationalised.
My big complaint is about 'disposable' nappies, which are mostly non re-cyclable. Why can't they use terry nappies like we had to? And they have washing machines, which I didn't have when I first had babies.

boat Sun 26-May-19 20:16:01


I totally agree with you. We don't have enough information.

When I lived in East London we were not told that you can't recycle brown or black food trays. I had been carefully doing this for many years.

I now live in the West Midlands and my local council only take plastic bottles for recycling. So that info was a bit late for me.

Last week I learnt that you can't recycle till receipts. Apparently the heat process by which they are produced creates poisons which taint the paper that is recycled (what about the till people in supermarkets)?

For years I have recycled every scrap of paper or card. All pointless.

M0nica Sun 26-May-19 20:54:43

In 2003 the manager of the British Cycling Team, Sir David Brailsford came up with a training philosophy of marginal gains.

The philosophy is all about improving everything you do by 1%. Gradually the 1% builds up and we know where that policy as taken the team over the last 15 years.

We should approach recycling or cutting emissions using this philosophy. Every little thing we do, no matter how small is one more step to a completely recyclable no emissions world, or as near as it is possible to get to this.

The more everybody does that and realises that every little helps, the sooner we will clean up the world.

In the meanwhile, every time you cannot recycle packaging, complain - to the supermarket you bought the product in and your local authority if they only have restricted kerbside collections.

My local authority has one of the best recycling rates in the country. We have a black bin for landfill. Green bin for anything we think is recyclable - and stickers to stick on the bin telling us what can be recycled, and the list is long and inclusive and a food waste bin. I also have a compost heap and all small bits of paper, including till receipts, go on that.

Whatever you do, do not worry about it. Just do the best you can and then forget about it.

Happiyogi Sun 26-May-19 21:50:02

But we can't, long term, go bunging things which "we think" are recyclable M0nica into a system which may reject them. That way we could be causing whole consignments of potential recycling material to be rejected and sent to landfill, while at home we have a faux warm glow from "knowing" that we've done our best.

And if a wrapper states that it is currently non-recyclable, then we have no choice but to bin it. Since the technology already exists to make recyclable packaging , I think manufacturers should be obliged to use it.

M0nica Sun 26-May-19 22:22:25

Happiyogi You have lost me. I said Green bin for anything we think is recyclable - _and stickers to stick on the bin telling us what can be recycled, and the list is long and inclusive_

I think you have taken one small phrase out of context. But as all our recycling from plastic bottles to tins to mobile phones all goes in the one bin and is sorted after collection. If in doubt I put it in because I know anything that isn't recylable will be filtered out in the sorting process. Because we have been given such a long and inclusive list of recyclable items, it is very clear what is and is not recyclable so the number of doubtful items is very small.

Mor to the point we all have to do everything we can, no matter how small to make big changes when they are all added up.

Happiyogi Sun 26-May-19 22:38:42

My point was that in many recycling plants an incorrect item is NOT recovered and removed, but the whole batch is sent to landfill.

So people might be feeling good believing they've done their small bit, not realising that they've actually caused a problem.

SueDonim Sun 26-May-19 22:39:32

Following my earlier post about the US, I had coffee served in a real mug today.

My attempt to buy fruit & veg at a market didn't go so well. I wanted to use my own bag but the stall holder insisted on putting items into plastic bags before putting them into my own bag. hmm