Some of you have been writing to me or commenting on the site recently about Tetra Pak recycling. Some local authorities collect them from kerbside, while other areas don’t even have a Bring Bank to take them too. As with most recycling facilities in the UK, the differences from one area to another vary tremendously.
I’ve been gathering the latest figures on recycling, because I know that in the last 18 months or so of aiming for zero waste my tolerance levels and understanding of the bigger picture about recycling have shifted a great deal!
When I started on our mission I only ever saw things from my own perspective as a householder. I had quite a high ‘blame’ mentality. I felt that if the Government wanted me to recycle more they should make it easier. They should enforce manufacturers to use only easily recyclable materials for packaging and they should bring all Local Authorities in line with one another. And heck, they should do it by tomorrow morning at 9am.
Well ok, maybe I still have the occasional moment of thinking that if I’m honest; hey I’m only human, but since dealing with more organisations, companies and manufacturers through myzerowaste I’m just starting to grasp (and become more tolerant of) some of the difficulties they face too.
I’ve had my mind changed about things I’ve believed in for a long time on more than one occasion. It was thanks to Esther from Transmail, for example, that I learned paper bags might not be as good for the environment as polythene <gasp> and I know that John won’t mind me pointing out that he too has had his mind changed about Tetra Pak recycling since talking to them and really understanding the process. So the whole zero waste lifestyle is a huge and continual learning curve.
26% LAs collecting Tetra Pak cartons
I would dearly love to have kerbside collections here for Tetra Pak cartons; of course I would, but I feel really lucky that we have a recycling bank about 4 miles away when so many people have nothing at all. What I do know, however, is that already 26 % of local authorities in the UK to collect from kerbside. That’s 104 authorities out of 406, around 1 in every 4 local authorities ; which is a fantastic figure. Especially when you consider that at the end of 2008, only 14% of Local Authorities were collecting Tetra Pak cartons from kerbside. (This was as low as 9.9% at the end of 2007 and is almost three times lower than the figure we have today)
In London, a massive 50% of authorities are collecting from kerbside and month to month the figures around the UK are improving.
Make a difference
Sometimes Local authorities simply cannot collect certain items for a number of reasons; perhaps they are tied in to contracts, have unsuitable vehicles, don’t have the right collection bins or have other infrastructures in place which mean it’s not possible for now, but it doesn’t mean never.
Here’s the deal though:
You can make a difference.
If you only ever take one piece of information from this site; remember the power that you have. I’ve set up crisp packet recycling in my local Tesco, not because I’m anyone special, have a massive budget or am an influential figure but simply because I asked. I’m currently working with a couple of manufacturers to see if they can change their packaging; again, not because I’m anyone special, have a massive budget or am an influential figure, but simply because I asked.
You get the picture, right?
Sure I’ve written to many companies and received no interest at all; but we have to focus on the successes and build on them.
So, if you want Tetra Pak recycling in your area (or crisp packet recycling in Tesco, or a manufacturer to change its packaging …) ASK! Write to your local authority about kerbside collections because they will respond to pressure from residents. Your letter can make a difference, your point of view matters and you can change the future.
Who will you write to today?
Tetra Pak and WWF
While we’re on the subject of making differences, Tetra Pak and WWF have teamed up to get people to live more renewable lifestyles. There’s £25k up for grabs to make someone’s idea on how we can all live more renewably come true. Not only that, but every time someone enters an idea, or votes on their favourite, Tetra Pak are donating money to WWF.
I know many of you have some fantastic ideas, so enter today to be in with a chance of winning and of changing the world!
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