Improving reuse and recycling with clear segregation strategies

In its annual survey of UK households’ recycling attitudes and behaviour, WRAP’s Recycling Tracker  2020 indicates levels of recycling are higher and more consistent than last year, but there is still room for improvement. For instance, on average UK households still dispose of 1.5 items that could be recycled into their rubbish collection. 82% mistakenly put items that can’t be accepted locally in their recycling bins and 38% are uncertain what can and can’t be recycled.

As part of its Environment Bill, the government has outlined plans for local authorities in England to collect a consistent set of recyclable materials, including weekly food waste collections, to simplify the process. However, the bill is, rightly, on hold, as we focus on combatting coronavirus. The Public Bill Committee is now scheduled to report on the bill by Tuesday 1 December 2020.

Recycling and re-use of materials starts with segregation of different waste streams to avoid contamination. Unfortunately, items can often end up in the incorrect bin and can render it unrecyclable.

My organisation helps a range of facilities and local councils to manage and improve waste collections. From a practical viewpoint, our sacks, bags, and speciality products for the capture and containment of resources for recycling enable easy separation of materials and limit the chance of contamination, whilst having the lowest environmental impact.

Our extensive portfolio includes recycling sacks for dry recyclables; compostable sacks and liners for food and organic waste; kerbside recycling bags; reusable recycling bags; personal protective equipment; and made-to-order products.

LowCO2t BoxesOur LowCO2t™ range – exclusive to Cromwell Polythene – is engineered to provide maximum performance using minimal resources. This helps to reduce the volume of plastic used, as well as cutting carbon emissions during production and transportation. We are also the sole distributor for compostable bags made from Ecopond® biodegradable resin.

Buyers need to look out for independent, internationally recognised quality standards such as EN13432 for compostable and biodegradable packaging. This way, they’ll know that all the constituents and components, for example, their food caddy liner or green waste bin liners, will biodegrade and compost as expected.

Plastic waste has grabbed the headlines but, in our desire to do the right thing, the challenge is not to eschew plastics in favour of less resource efficient alternatives, but to choose responsibly sourced materials with the lowest carbon footprint. As the British Plastics Federation indicates, “plastic packaging can be recycled many times to create new products, and the rates of recycling and the number of different plastics that are recycled in the UK have been increasing.”

The bigger concern is climate change. We must avoid knee-jerk reactions that lead to resources being burnt through faster, using heavier and more polluting alternatives that use more energy and waste more food. We must, instead, become champions of resource efficiency and recycling best practice.

LARAC Membership Logo - Cromwell PolytheneWe are pleased to support local authorities across the UK with their recycling and waste management strategies and share waste segregation and recycling best practice. We are an active Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) partner, and an affiliated member of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, among many others.

As part of our activity in the local authority sector, we were proud to be a sponsor of this year’s LARAC virtual conference – the leading event in the local authority waste and recycling calendar, which took place online from 14-15 October.

If you need support making a difference and improving recycling rates in your local area, please get in touch with us