It was all so simple. Don't drop your plastics in the bin - put them in the recycling. Job done. World saved. Now we can all sit down and enjoy a brew, content in the knowledge that the oceans are free of single-use plastics and our rivers are uncontaminated by plastic bags. Except it hasn't really turned out that way, has it?
Many local authorities are struggling to cope with expensive and complex recycling procedures. Some councils, such as Swindon, have temporarily stopped plastic collection completely and are proposing to burn the waste to generate energy. Ummm, not so simple then.
Honest Crust, recycling and a plastic-free future
One way of tackling the problem is for businesses to begin eradicating their use of non-recyclable materials. That's why Honest Crust is the first food to go business to ensure our sandwich and wrap box packaging is 100% recyclable and zero plastic. We’re also committed to working towards all of our packaging being widely recyclable.
Our premium sandwich bags feature a widely recycled plastic insert tray, and the paper bag is also recyclable, as the attached plastic inner simply peels away. Our pasta and salad pots are made from recycled plastic, can be widely recycled and feature a peel-off sticker that’s also recyclable. Doesn’t all this recycling just bring a smile to your face!
Where we still use plastic, we’re looking at ways to improve the packaging and ensure that everything is widely recyclable. There’s the possibility of cellulose to replace plastic film and cardboard inserts instead of plastic trays, and we’re testing, trialling, and tweaking to find the best results. We’ll keep on working on it if you promise to help out, too.
What you can do?
On an individual basis, there are several things we can do to help. Let's break it down.
1. Find out what’s recyclable in your area and what restrictions your local authority places on recycling. The easiest way to do this is to go online to the government recycling collections page, input your postcode and, as if by magic, you’ll be taken through to your local site.
2. Go zero plastic!
We know, easier said than done. But the UK produces an average of 76kg of plastic waste per person, each year. Reducing that by just a little could make a massive difference. It's as simple as buying a fancy, reusable drinks bottle rather than bottled water. Go on. You know you've always wanted your own special bottle anyway.
3. Think about what you're buying.
Though students may not have a lot of them, your pound is pretty powerful. Together, you're a big market and could wield a great deal of influence if you started pulling in the same, plastic-free direction.
4. Learn where to look for recycling information. Somewhere on plastic packaging, there is a symbol that should tell you what can be done with the waste. The main ones include “widely recycled,” “widely recycled – lid on,” and “sleeve not yet recycled.”
Gone are the days when these were as indecipherable as ancient hieroglyphs, we have proper graphic designers now, and they're all fairly straightforward. However, a full explanation of all available symbols can be found here. Learn them. They may just help you save the world.