What’s in the landfill bin for February?

Filed in Blog by on March 11, 2011 14 Comments
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The Green's landfill waste for February

The Green's landfill waste for February

You might remember January was a successful zero waste month with nothing at all for landfill. We had 5 packaging products to send back to manufacturer for them to dispose of and to comment on. I’ve since had 2 responses; one canned and one fairly reasonable, which I’ll share on the site another day.

This month the landfill bag is looking a bit heavier and there are several items for return too.

Antonio will be delighted to hear that wherever possible I have sent letters directly to the CEO. You can find email addresses and names of CEOs for all sorts of companies on the CEO email addresses database.

Return to sender for February

First is a Waitrose organic red lentils bag. Packaging says one of my real bug bears “Plastic, not currently recycled”. Gaaaaaah



Next is a couple of plastic packs some crappy toy came in on the front of a child’s magazine – there are no recycling instructions at all.


Next is from a company which should know better. This is packaging from EcoForce recycled clothes pegs. To be fair the packaging is marked number 5 – PP, but I don’t know how to recycle that material, so I’m returning the packaging and asking them.



I wanted half a cucumber, not a whole one the other week and I ended up buying a wrapped one from Sainsburys. Packaging reads “Plastic film not currently recycled”. While I was in there I picked up a couple of organic avocados; I usually buy these loose from my farm shop but I was in Sainsburys and decided it was better use of fuel to get them there. Once again it’s my favourite recycling instructions “Film – plastic, Check local recycling”. Well check I have and no they won’t take it, so it’s back to Mr Sainsburys to deal with.




Two pieces of packaging from a Christmas and Birthday Sylvanian family set. This is hard, bright green plastic (oh the irony) with no instructions or information on recycling.


Pieces of rubbish from Little Miss Green’s ipod including a mock screen protector, the tiniest cleaning cloth you ever saw (which feels like a manmade material), a thick piece of plastic from the packaging and some apple stickers (no thanks).


Pack of Happy Shopper sultanas which proudly state “7 – Other”. My bad I guess, but come on, polythene would be ok, right?



In the landfill bag:

Little Miss Green went to a friend’s house and came home with some sandwiches. I was talking to her friend’s Mum as she made the sandwiches and placed them in a bag. The bag looked and sounded like paper so I thought no more of it. However once I got it home and took a closer look it was some plasticky laminated stuff that resembles a nappy sack without the smell. I have no idea what the material is but I recognise the packaging and it’s these baco rainbow bags; the thing even came home with stickers attached to it. Whatever next?

unmarked plastic moulding from a Christmas present LMG bought me. It was a set of tumblestone crystals and there is no return address.

Couple of pieces of packaging from items bought from eBay

An old plastic nail brush which was a gift in a Christmas cracker a year or so ago. It’s been replaced with a wooden one you’ll be pleased to hear (and no I’m not going to keep this one for cleaning around faucets).

Broken lego pieces

hard plastic case that a flash card was bought in years ago

A broken hard plastic box that I bought some drawing pins in years ago

Hard plastic moulding from a toy that is long since gone.

A disposable pen ink barrel – goodness knows where the rest of the pen is!

The landfill for February weighs 77 gms – not bad for a month!

What ‘recycling instructions’ really annoy you? Is it lack of them completely or useless ones like ‘Film, not currently recycled’?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (14)

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  1. That one is the most annoying along with the “recycled where facilities exist”.

    Duh! make the facilities exist at every supermarket selling these products.

  2. Julie Day says:

    It’s the same as you, Not currently recycled – then make it recycleable then I say to it. Have had a few of those recently and gone to landfill with lots of tissues.

  3. Teresa Lewis says:

    Better to buy an unpackaged whole cucumber and compost the half you don’t need than to buy a half cucumber in a plastic wrapper.

  4. CarSue says:

    The Mr. likes his bath soap in a plastic bottle (gasp!), and I allow it. He switched brands recently, and when this new bottle was empty, he came and asked me what type of plastic the bottle was because there was no resin code! This isn’t some cheap Chinese made dollar store stuff, it’s a major national brand, part of a company that produces more consumer packaged goods than any other in the U.S.! I called the phone number listed on the bottle to check, but there was no opportunity to speak with anyone, just 3 menu options, none of which even remotely applied (so there’s the second annoyance!). I then checked hte company’s website, only to find that, while all the ingredients of the soap itself were listed, there was no packaging information, other than that they didn’t recommend you reuse the soap bottle to store other substances. So I even checked the “environmental sustainability” page of the website (I find it hilarious that nearly every company has one of these now, even the makers of some of the most obnoxius, dangerous, and eco-damaging products). The site said that the company is “striving to package all of its products in recyclable or renewable materials.” So it was totally unclear if the bottle was already recyclable (we can only recycle # 1 and #2), or if only future bottles would be recyclable. Anyway, I emailed them and am awaiting a response. And yes, I recommended that they include the reson code on the package!

  5. Alyson says:

    Packaging for dried goods such as lentils, dried fruit, pulses,rice and pasta. I like to cook occassionally from scratch and it is a bit off putting when you know you can’t buy the goods in recyclable packaging. And what is it with Tescos? They just cannot be bothered to put any information on their packaging whatsoever. Lids from marmite and peanut butter (actually I buy the basic peanut butter from Sainsbury, it comes with a metal lid, but the others are plastic and Sainsbury is a long, hilly walk away). Wrapping from biscuits and crisps. I know they’re treats but it would be nice to be able to treat ourselves, occassionally. And that plastic thing that’s wrapped around a cucumber. My father in law grew cucumbers last year and they lasted a lot longer than the plastic ones. They were lovely…

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: @Julie Day: Ah yes, two of my favourites!

    @Teresa Lewis: Gosh, what an interesting thought – to compost half rather than buy in plastic. I really need to think about that one!

    @CarSue: Wow, amazing. I can’t bear what I call ‘half baked’ companies. It just seems to wrong to promote green and eco only to have crappy packaging. Sign. Let us know what they say…

  7. LJayne says:

    Anything that says “not currently recycled”. How do they know grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! It would be so much better all round if they just identified it. Recycling facilities vary so widely across the country. And there are certain things I’m happy to pay personally to send off and have recycled.

    It would save my having to send it back to them and inform them that such people DO actually exist.

  8. Sleepwalker says:

    The ones you’ve already pointed out. I really think the law should be that the plastic resin code AND the abbreviation should be marked. That would sort out type 7 and the ‘not currently recycled’ as folk willing to put in a bit of effort could figure it out. Here they take types 1 and 2 but the council are rolling out a system where almost all plastics are taken. I really don’t like the metallic plastics on crisps etc as they aren’t even recyclable in the schemes which take most types. I email the manufacturers to ask what the mystery plastics are but it takes such a long time when all they ought to do is put a legible mark on them. The one I am really concerned about is the ones marked bio-degradeable when they are actually oxo-degradeable, e.g. Tesco ‘eco’ bags. They just break into smaller and smaller bits but never actually go away. That is just dishonest and dangerous and they don’t degrade if they are buried in landfill. It also makes them useless for re-use if they are stored for any length of time.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Alyson: I agree about both the basicsfor cooking from scratch and the ‘treats’ Alyson; you’re right – why should it weigh heavy on our conscience and the landfill to treat ourselves?

    @LJayne: 😀 I hear you sister; let US make up our own minds, eh?

    @Sleepwalker: Hi Sleepwaler, biodegradable products concern me a lot too as people buy them in good faith thinking they can just get rid of them with no ill after effects…

  10. Teresa says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if we took all our packaging back to the supermarkets and sent the odd bit of packaging back to the manufacturer. Also if you get unwanted Christmas presents because either they are badly chosen or because you don’t need much then let your friends and family know that you don’t want to exchange Christmas presents anymore. If they insist on doing so refuse the gifts or accept them without strings attached and don’t reciprocate. Store them somewhere and then when having a clear out offer them back. Same goes for excessive, oversized or duplicate mailings and junk mail. Return things you have borrowed on time.

    I wish I had time to do this as I’m doing a clear out at the moment but it starts with just a few people. Keep up the good work.

  11. Teresa says:

    @Sleepwalker: I never take a Tesco plastic carrier bag and when I visit the store make sure I have enough bags with me. I stopped when they were giving points on loyalty cards for not taking bags and in the meantime they had got flimsier and flimsier so I wouldn’t take one even though I don’t use my loyalty card any more. They remind me of those horrible flimsy bags given out in bakeries and service station newsagents that rip as soon as you put something in them.

  12. Mrs Green says:

    @Teresa: I think more and more people are taking action, Teresa; more people are caring about what they do with their waste and are calling on manufacturers and stores to make changes. It’s all good 🙂 Once you have finished decluttering then you will free time to be more active with the things you want to return. We should only take on the commitments we have time for otherwise we get overwhelmed and nothing gets done… The important thing is to celebrate what you CAN do and not dwell too much on the things you cannot address.

  13. Teresa says:

    I feel bogged down at the moment with decluttering and cleaning so don’t have much time. It does take time and effort on my part to let manufacturers know how I feel about the packaging they use. It was also very stressful for me to let organisations know that I didn’t want multiple mailings and I would phone up repeatedly only to find an answering service and leave a message that was ignored. Eventually I had to call in person.

    I had a huge mail out from the Disability Rights Commission all because I agreed to have a report sent to me and I got reports on thick glossy paper aimed at doctors and people with learning difficulties as well as the standard report and all duplicated in Welsh versions as well. Oh and a CD as well in case I was blind, partially blind or unable to read along with a casette tape in case I didn’t have a CD player. I distributed some of it and threw half of it away and eventually phoned up to make a complaint only to find the culprit who sent it all out was on holiday so made a complaint to her boss. I heard nothing back, no apology other than a verbal one. It would have taken some effort to go along to the offices and return the parcel as they were on the edge of the city where there is a infrequent bus service but if I had done so it would have been more effective.

  14. Mrs Green says:

    @Teresa: It does take a lot of time sometimes; remember to choose your battles wisely, not take on too much and to celebrate what achievements you DO make. At other times you need to take the easy option because there is no point becoming stressed over it all…

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