Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes
Table of Contents:
- Introduction - The Recycling Conundrum
- The Reality Check - Unveiling Plastic Recycling Challenges
- The Menace of Micro-plastics - A Silent Threat
- The Global Recycling Landscape - A Shifting Scenario
- Rethinking the Effectiveness of Plastic Recycling
- The Need for a Paradigm Shift
- Our Solution - Zero Waste Programme
1. Introduction - The Recycling Conundrum
In today's world of escalating waste, the familiar environmental mantra of "reduce, reuse, recycle" has gained widespread acceptance. However, it is essential to critically examine the true efficacy of plastic recycling.
2. The Reality Check - Unveiling Plastic Recycling Challenges
With an astounding 2 billion tonnes of solid waste being dumped annually and projected to rise to a staggering 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050, the sustainability of our waste generation practices is increasingly under scrutiny. Despite the well-intentioned efforts, recycling often falls short of its promises.
Globally, a mere 9% of plastics are recycled. Instead of witnessing a seamless transformation of discarded plastic into new products, a significant portion still ends up in landfills or finds its way to less affluent nations ill-equipped to handle the influx.
3. The Menace of Micro-plastics - A Silent Threat
Enter the worrisome realm of microplastics—tiny fragments with far-reaching consequences. Recent studies have shed light on the unintended consequences of recycling processes, leading to the inadvertent release of substantial quantities of microplastics into the environment. These minuscule villains have infiltrated every corner of the globe, from human lungs to Antarctic snowflakes and the depths of our oceans. Concerns arise due to the potential health risks they pose, as many of the chemicals they carry are known to be carcinogenic.
4. The Global Recycling Landscape - A Shifting Scenario
In an attempt to pass on recycling responsibilities, wealthier nations have long relied on outsourcing to economically disadvantaged countries. However, this practice has inadvertently created a form of modern-day neo-colonialism. Countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand find themselves grappling with overwhelming waste burdens. In response, these nations have begun tightening restrictions and, in some cases, outright banning waste imports, following the footsteps of China, which closed its doors to most types of waste in 2017.
5. Rethinking the Effectiveness of Plastic Recycling
It is crucial to dispel any misconceptions about the true effectiveness of plastic recycling. While imperfect, recycling remains our best option to combat the proliferation of landfills and the carbon emissions associated with incineration. However, we must acknowledge that the key to tackling plastic pollution lies in addressing its root causes.
6. The Need for a Paradigm Shift
To truly conquer the plastic menace and curb the escalating waste crisis, we must embrace the fundamental principles of waste reduction and reusability. Recycling should be seen as a last resort rather than a panacea. Mere reliance on tossing items into the recycling bin without a conscious reduction in consumption is akin to applying a bandage to a deep wound—it offers temporary relief but fails to address the underlying issue.
7. Our Solution
Plastic reduced packaging & lower emissions
Our pouches contain 80% less plastic when compared to a standard plastic bottle of equal capacity and can use up to 9 times less emissions throughout their life cycle. While we were unable to completely remove plastic from our packaging we were able to reduce it massively by using aluminium (which can be recycled indefinitely) as the main shell of the pouch. This reduction of raw materials required for manufacturing and their acute size for transportation our pouches can have up to a 9 times smaller carbon footprint than a standard plastic bottle.
Zero waste programme
We are proud to offer a comprehensive zero waste programme where we ask customers to collect a minimum of 4 pouches to be returned to us. Once they arrive back with us they are washed and sanitised. Pouches that arrive back in good condition are reused, ones that don't are forwarded to a specialist recycling facility.
The purpose of this programme is to encourage our customers to take reasonable care of their pouches knowing that they can be returned to us and reused. We also accept pouches that are not in good condition as at the time of writing this article many councils in the UK do not accept pouches via kerbside collections but we can pay for them to be forwarded to a specialist recycling facility. For more info on our zero waste programme click here.