Mrs Green has a rant

Filed in Blog by on November 26, 2014 13 Comments
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bottled-waterAs you know, I like to think of myself as the friendly face of recycling.

How ever tiny your achievement, I’m here to big you up and make you feel as if you could take on the world.


No matter how small the step forward, I’m ready to make companies feel like they’ve taken a leap for mankind.

Regardless of how significant it might seem, I’ll remind you that everyone making small changes can add up to significant change.

But today it’s different…

Today it’s all about how some companies, quite frankly, are not good enough..

Today it’s all about those who need to go back to the drawing board and make some real changes; changes that help, changes that are positive.

Recently we were caught out without water. We usually take our own bottles with us, but as is quite a regular occurrence at zero waste towers we’d left the house in a hurry.

Mr Green and I could manage until we got home, but Little Miss Green needed something to drink so I grabbed a bottle of mineral water in Sainsbury’s while filling up at the petrol station.

It wasn’t until we’d got home that I started reading the label, as you do; and I spotted this horror:


Let’s just take a look again:

We have a bottle that is plastic and can be recycled

A cap that is plastic and you have to check your local recycling

And a label that is plastic which is not currently recycled


Why the face indeed.

Is it any wonder you read stories in the newspaper of people who ‘can’t be bothered’ to recycle?

Is it any wonder people are confused and overwhelmed with recycling labels?

Is it any wonder our recycling rates are still pretty low compared to some countries?

Don’t you think it’s time for changes with labelling laws? Isn’t it time for helpful, empowering information that gives us all the opportunity to vote with our money and support companies who show that they care?

Go on, have a rant; tell me your labelling gripe in the comments below.

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 (13)

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  1. indeed so much confusion and mixed messages slow down the recycling process–t’is the season to be wasteful for most as they rush about to cook and save, to wrap and economize, we can only avoid plastic containers by buying foods in glass jars here in the countryside in the midwest US. and by canning our own – bottled drinks are a zero possibility. plastic is all around us, underfoot and!

    • Mrs Green says:

      Ah yes, this relentless time of year when the pressures of time lead us to make choices of ‘convenience’. Planning ahead is key, but there’s always the chance something will come along to scupper our plans!

  2. Not so much a labelling rant but my peeve is eco companies using a tonne of plastic for their packaging that is totally uneccessary. One menstrual cup I bought from USA was to be in ‘eco-pack’ which was just a tonne of plastic bags. ARGH. Just why? Surely this is counter-productive?!

    • Mrs Green says:

      Oh. Ouch. Yes I hear you on that one. Recently I bought two items – once wrapped in cardboard using paper to stuff the gaps, the other using polystyrene and plastic. If one can do the ‘eco’ route, why not another… Cost perhaps?

  3. Kathleen says:

    My gripe is that I need a magnifying glass to read the number in the triangle. If they made the number double the size, it still wouldn’t take up much room and I could read it. Makes me think they just want me not to bother and toss it in the trash. Not gonna happen!!

    • Mrs Green says:

      Yes! We had the exact same comment when interviewed for a newspaper article. The guy who interviewed us didn’t bother recycling for that very reason. Let’s size it up like the ‘smoking kills’ messages on cigarette packaging.

  4. giftedlyn53 says:

    Is it the labelling that’s really at fault? Surely it’s legislation or fines to compel manufacturers to only use recyclable materials as well as common national recycling standards and processes. Drove our plastic back to the Midlands from Scotland this summer because our council recycles them and the holiday area did not. That’s the real nonsense for me.

    • Mrs Green says:

      Good point Lyn. My belief is that we ALL need to work together – manufacturers, Govt, Local Authorities and the consumer. And yes – I’ve driven home from holiday with a load of recycling too!

  5. Christine says:

    There’s no such thing as proper recycling here – plastic bottle rinsed out and dried can be recycled, the label is general waste and so is the top as we are on manual recycling and it’s too time consuming to pick up the tops. You see the bottle has to be open so that it can be flattened efficiently and that can’t be done with the top on. Talk about being a bit over the top. And then we can only recycle various forms of plastic – the hard ones are general waste (large ice cream containers, box containers from mushrooms, margarine tubs are no go and so on ad infinitum).

  6. That is terrible labelling! I’m not surprised you are having a rant!

  7. Philippa says:

    Definitely agree with laws for the recycling triangle and number to be far bigger (and better identification of packaging and how to recycle – especially from pharmaceutical companies).

    Perhaps we should should be sending virtual bouquets or kisses to those companies who are working to make it easy for us.

    Have you investigated good and innovative packaging awards? (I think Sarah Kersey of The Rubbish Diet may have done.)

  8. Layla says:

    Well, even BIG companies like Coca Cola (and Monsanto!) have signed FOR the new circular economy EU legislation package! (Check out my blog for more!)
    I don’t know if the new EU Commission will listen to them (and us – EEB and Zero Waste Europe are for the Circular economy package of legislation as well, though ZW EU wants improvement and ban of incinerators too!) – the Commission are ‘reviewing’ it until December 16th!
    Surely, this time would be good to tell what consumers /ordinary people wish too!
    I think it would be good if you wrote a little bit about it on your blog too, you reach a wider audience! What do you think?

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