As well as being an eyesore on our environment, litter discarded on our streets, or that enters our rivers and seas, can harm wildlife. In addition, items can contain toxic materials that are hazardous to our health. If illegally dumped, these can leach into water sources, contaminate the soil and pollute the air, contributing to the bigger problem of climate change.
We all need to play our part in helping to improve the environment. Regular readers of our blog will know that, each year, Cromwell is proud to support a number of projects which help make a difference to the cleanliness of our streets and protect our planet.
This month, we’ll be supporting The Great British September Clean, organised by Keep Britain Tidy. This event usually takes place in the spring and we’ve supported it for several years now. On Friday 11 September we’ll be undertaking a clean-up around our headquarters and distribution facility at, Sherburn2 business park in Sherburn-in-Elmet. We’re looking forward to taking part and doing our bit to help keep the local area clean! Two teams will be cleaning up the area, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, and all findings will be recorded and analysed afterwards. We’ll also be litter picking around our Alfreton site, CPR Manufacturing. Check our website after the event for updates on the level of waste our #LitterHeroes have helped to collect!
As a member of The British Plastics Federation (BPF), we’re also proud to be a signatory to Operation Clean Sweep, an international initiative from the plastics industry, led by the BPF. The initiative’s aim is to ensure that the plastic pellets, flakes and powders that pass through manufacturing facilities in the UK are handled with the care they deserve and do not end up in our rivers or seas. By signing up to Operation Clean Sweep®, we have made a commitment to adhere to best practice and implement systems to prevent plastic pellet loss.
Protecting the environment is extremely important, and in the public’s efforts to do so, plastic has become the focus of attention. As we continue to reiterate, plastic itself is not the problem, but waste – of all types of material – is. We know that we all need to do more to act more sustainably, but litter pollution is not just about plastics or inadequate infrastructure for recovery and recycling, moreover it’s about behaviour. People create litter, it’s not caused by something being inherently wrong with the material – as the British Plastic Federation highlight “the enemy is not plastic, the enemy is plastic waste.”
Responsibly produced plastic can have a high recycled content (up to 100%) and can be reprocessed many times, not only saving virgin material but associated energy as well. It can offer many sustainable solutions to help mitigate the effects of a changing climate, for example significantly reducing food waste as well as having many practical, protective benefits during this pandemic.
It’s a mistake to think we can solve the problems of litter or climate change by simply changing from plastic to alternatives that can risk burning through resources faster. A recent report looking at the carbon impact of packaging material has found that, in most cases, the main alternatives to plastic packaging – cardboard, glass, steel and aluminium – ‘emit more greenhouse gases’. The report, titled ‘Examining material evidence – the carbon fingerprint’, commissioned by Veolia and published by Imperial College London, indicated that plastic can provide the lowest carbon emissions of available materials, providing it is recycled properly.
On that note, this month is also Recycle Week organised by the Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP). This year’s theme focuses on thanking the nation for continuing to recycle despite the challenges that COVID-19 has presented, under the banner ‘Together – We Recycle’. As experts in waste and recycling, our website has everything to help you recycle more, from products for recycling containment, to tips and guides on best practice.
Improving and simplifying our recycling and waste management infrastructure, supported by clear and concise behaviour change campaigns, will help stop items being discarded on our streets and in our seas, protecting people and planet for the future.