Comments: The problem with plastics

Very good article, BW. I only hope it helps changes the world.

Posted by Scoakat on 21 March, 2018 at 11:13 AM

Tangentially, can someone please explain the logic behind smashing all your glass bottles to pieces in the bottle bank rather than a returnable deposit which would allow the bottles to just be sterilised for re-use? If it was good enough for milk bottles, surely it's good enough for wine bottles and glass jars...

Posted by Sue on 21 March, 2018 at 7:04 PM

I bought a bag and a card for my granddaughter the other day. The air-filled little bag (made in Vietnam) and the cellophane wrapping the card both had "biodegradable material" stamped on them, so I've put them in the compost bin. Very often, I don't know whether wrapping is suitable for compost, recycling or just landfill, because it doesn't say what it's made of.

Posted by Z on 21 March, 2018 at 8:46 PM

Sue - my best guess... money. Or rather, the need for specialist machinery and employee time.

Wine bottles vary, and the labels are stuck on with adhesive designed not to come off easily in water (so they don't come off in the fridge or ice buckets).

We encourage people to return honey jars and give us their jam jars for re-use, but they take an awful lot of scrubbing to de-label them and get them clean, before you start on sterilisation. As jars are no longer standardised (and who can tell a 340g jar and a 454g jar apart anyway - which is the point!) no company could re-use what they get back, if they operated a returns scheme. It's cheaper to 'just' re-melt the glass and re-make it.

Similarly, plastic plant pots from garden centres - even small nurseries - not worth their while to clean and re-use as it costs too much in staff time.

Madness, clearly, but that's the world that has been made for us.

Posted by Blue Witch on 22 March, 2018 at 7:46 AM

Z - exactly. I find exactly the same.

The plastic that eg spaghetti comes in... why is that not recyclable? I remember the long blue-paper wrapped spaghetti back in the 60s - it was the only way of buying it then.

All plastic should/could be recyclable, full stop. It's not the plastic that is at fault, it's the lack of planning/facilities for its eventual disposal. QED.

Posted by Blue Witch on 22 March, 2018 at 7:50 AM

Belated welcome home, BW and thanks for your suggestions in South Africa.
The recycling problems are exacerbated by the rules on what can and can't be recycled varying from one council to another. It is a hopeless minefield of bureaucracy.

Posted by Tim W on 22 March, 2018 at 10:11 AM