The four Rs of Plastic: Let’s not go soft on it!
Reduce. Refuse. Reuse. Recycle. In that order, pleas!
The recent Government announcement that soft plastics can now also be put into the recycling bin is great – unless it means we now are less careful to avoid soft plastic in the first place!
Plastic continues to be a huge waste of resources, even if recycled. Yet only about half of the soft plastic that might hit our recycling bins is likely to be recycled, according to the waste management industry.
So what should we do?
The less plastic we bring into our household, the better. We all can do more of the following:
- Avoid plastic!
- Bring keep cups, refillable containers, reusable bags for loose items when shopping
- Leave packaging in the shops – Skerries Tidy Towns have been actively working with shops to make this easier
- Use waste-free shops like the Greener Grocer in Balbriggan or various stalls at the Skerries Farmer’s Market
- Recycle what you bring home properly:
- Put clean, hard and soft plastic loosely into your recycling bin so it can be recycled more easily. (Dirty plastic is only good for incineration, it seems.)
- Compostable is a more complex problem than we originally thought. We have contacted Panda to find out whether it can be put into the brown bin. Unless it is “homecompostable” it is not suitable for our normal home compost, as it needs higher temperatures to be broken down. However, a bit of web research showed that in some instances (e.g. in one UK case we came across), it proved too complex for the waste company to sort through all coffee cups etc. that found their way into the food waste bin, so that they were all taken out of the composting process. For now, it seems, it’s best to stay away from compostable / degradable cups. Use your Keep Cup instead.
Sources / further reading:
- RTÉ, accessed version: 6 September 20221: Soft plastic can now be put in recycling bins
- Irish Times, 6 September 2021: Household recycling upgrade accepts soft plastics
- The Journal.ie, 7 September 2021: Soft plastic: How much of it will actually be recycled and what difference will it make?
- My Waste FAQs https://www.mywaste.ie/why-faq/
- Compostable, Degradable, Biodegradable…: http://www.lesswaste.org.uk/recycle/compostable-degradable-biodegradable-and-oxodegradable-plastics/