Why is recycling broken?

Why is recycling broken?

Recycling can be a daunting task and with the increasing threat of plastic pollution, we are told that recycling is becoming increasingly important. Advertisements, government, and product packaging are all telling us how to recycle and how to do it properly. But how much of your sorted plastics and other recycling is actually being recycled? 

What really happens to your recycling 

In the UK many people work diligently to try to sort their waste but may be surprised to learn how much of that is properly recycled. One of the places your plastic recycling is landing is in waste incinerators. These incinerators are used to burn waste, which as a result creates air pollution often in low-income areas. In addition to the government burning more waste than they let on, they also dump waste in other countries. In the UK about two thirds of waste is sent abroad to reduce the costs of recycling in the UK. This issue has been arising in many countries as they send their plastic waste to different countries, many in Asia, where there are low recycling rates. This becomes a problem for many reasons. One being dishonestly in what is truly happening to plastic recycling and also the problems it creates for the environment and people. Plastic waste often lands in rivers and oceans and can be deadly for marine life. It can also cause people serious health problems as a result of breathing in the toxic fumes from the waste being burned. 

Should I keep recycling? 

Yes! The root of the problem is not you being confused about your recycling, it is the sheer amount of throwary plastic being produced. About less than 10% of everyday plastic is properly recycled in the UK due to the increasing amount being produced. It becomes too much to keep up with. Rather than dealing with the recycling issue, the government needs to deal with the plastic production issue. So much of what we consume is single use plastic. The juice from Pret a Manger calling your name or saying yes to the plastic bag at the grocery are all simple plastics we consume day to day without thinking much about our plastic impact. Single use plastics are handed to us and it can be easy to not think about the amount you use day to day especially when you are trying to be conscious of your impact. 

Reducing your single use

There are many simple ways you can ditch the single use plastics and find a more sustainable solution. There is much work for the government to do in reducing single waste production but there are also many steps you can take to slow your single use plastic waste. From refillable candles to apps that help you know your plastic impact, we have all the ideas here. 

Reusable Roundup

The app Horizon, is the leading recycling app in the UK that allows you to simply scan a barcode when shopping to learn what to do with the packaging. You can track your progress towards zero-waste along with making sure you are properly recycling your package. In addition to help with recycling there are many swaps that are easy to make to reduce your plastic intake. One being Whirli, a toy subscription company where you can subscribe to a plan to pick out toys and keep them for as long as you’d like and then swap them with new ones when your little one is ready. Another great swap is Potts Candles. Potts candles is a refillable candle company where you buy a ceramic candle holder and are able to refill it once you are done bruning it with a variety of scents.

Lucky for you all of these companies will be featured at the Precious Waste Pop-Up Event from March 7th to the 12th on Portobello Road. Come shop their products and learn more about how you can help fix recycling by moving away from single use plastics. 


1 comment


  • Louie

    https://diaperrecycling.technology recycling machines solve the separation of bio waste such as human excretion that come together with soiled diapers and recovers the plastics, pulp, SAP and compost.


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