I would have thought that if they were really recycling it for making stuff
they would carry on. More likely is that whatever they were doin with it was
not very ecologically friendly, so perhaps, in the long run its a good thing
and might prompt somebody to figure out some energy efficient scheme to
reuse it or repurpose it which is not energy guzzling or prone to pollution.
This newsgroup posting comes to you directly from...
How do they recycle plastic efficiently as there are lots of different
kinds of plastic? (I mean "efficient" as in turning it back into
something useful, rather than just some kind of low grade packing
material. I would have thought that only thermoplastics like
polyethylene could be turned back into useful stuff.)
There's a big fuss ATM about plastics getting into the oceans and
harming sea life, from plankton to whales. People in the UK are
talking about reducing use of plastics in packaging etc. and some
places are even rejoicing in declaring themselves 'plastic free', or
whatever. How silly is all that? Apart from the fact that plastics,
especially plastic packaging, is an extremely useful and hygienic way
of presenting food etc, I read that 90% of the plastic waste in our
oceans comes from rivers in the Far East. http://bit.ly/2lC2qGR
AIUI, in the UK, plastic waste is either recycled, incinerated or sent
to landfill. How much of it actually ends up in the sea? I've no idea
but not much, I wouldn't think. So it seems to me that these campaigns
to reduce plastic packaging in the UK are typically misguided,
emotional, not thought through and probably 'green' ideas.
What I don't know is what happens to the plastic waste that gets
recycled. Clearly, from recent headlines about China not taking any
more of the stuff, a lot was actually exported and not recycled in the
UK. Which raises the question 'what happens to the exported stuff?' Is
a lot of it just dumped in the sea in the Far East, in which case
there is cause for concern, but it just means we should up our game
when it comes to recycling here in the UK, not blindly run campaigns
to reduce the use of plastics all together.
Not at a silly if you’re at all aware just how much of out plastic waste
ends up all over our countryside and on our beaches.
That is the crux of the problem. It’s incredibly useful and good at doing
Whilst that may be true for much of what is floating out in the open ocean
I fill a large carrier bag every day with plastic litter from our local
beach. I can assure you that it’s not stuff from the Far East.
Given that plastics don’t just “go away” once they reach the ocean I think
anything we can do to reduce plastic waste has got to be a good idea. Over
90% of the plastic I pick up off our beach is convenience food/drink
packaging. I.e. stuff we don’t actually *need*.
I would agree absolutely with improving UK recycling. I think the move by
the Chinese is a good thing and will help to concentrate minds. I do think
that we should try whenever possible to reduce our use of plastics though.
How much, then, in terms of tons, or percentage of what we throw away?
Unsightly, yes, but I doubt it's actually a very significant
proportion of the total.
In the far SW, and indeed on the UK west coast in general, a lot of
the waste (not just plastic) that ends up on the beaches, comes from
across the Atlantic, carried on the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic
Drift. I have found nuts on our local beach that washed over from
South America, and fish boxes with East Coast USA addresses on them.
But how much is of UK origin, and is it a significant proportion of
what we throw away in total? Numbers please.
You also live in area which is still relatively unpopulated compared
to some parts of the UK, where the population is denser almost any
watercourse now has a collection of plastic bobbing away which unless
it is physically caught and removed will eventually be washed in to
the sea during periods of heavy rainfall that move all the bottles,
parking cones etc onwards.
I took a walk on Bude beach on Boxing day and although some of the
plastic was anonymous there were R Whites lemonade and Bulmers cider
and other branded containers piled up on the tide line unlikely to
have have come from abroad.
They could have come from anywhere that has water courses that
eventually feed into the Severn and then the Bristol Channel and that
is a lot of sizable places such as Bristol, Cardiff ,Worcester,
Stratford upon Avon and hundreds more. Its no wonder that places like
Watch et Clovelley , Marsland Mouth, Crackington Haven and the rest no
longer have the tide mark delineated by sea weed and the odd cork
float or natural fibre rope but now have a thick detritus of plastic
containers and lost plastic fishing gear and ships ropes.made from
I could be cheeky and say you have selective vision as to what gets
chucked in the sea as your former industry chucked enough rubbish in
the sea that it turned the streams white for decades..
Your pension may well be heathier because of the costs saved.
Occasionally standards still slip
At least once stopped the effects largely stop as well, plastic
pollution last a lot longer.
On Tue, 02 Jan 2018 11:22:57 +0000, email@example.com wrote:
Centuries, more like! But it was inert mineral waste and didn't travel
very far and didn't pose a long-term threat to the wildlife, not that
that's any excuse of course. The beach at Pentewan consisted almost
entirely of china clay waste, fed by the appropriately-named White
River*. When waste was no longer disposed of in that way, the beach
started to disappear, much to the owner's dismay, and he threatened
the company with legal action IIRC!
When dealing with millions of gallons per day of abrasive slurry,
pipes do occasionally wear through and burst. The big conical tips did
occasionally 'slip', but after Aberfan they were seriously redesigned
and properly engineered, so fortunately, both problems are rare these
I'm no more in favour of polluting the oceans than anyone. What I
object to is emotive campaigns that aren't fact-based and won't make
much difference to the problem anyway. As I asked earlier, just what
proportion of the UK's plastic waste actually gets into the sea?
* there was a Red River that drained the mining area around Camborne
into St. Ives Bay at Gwithian, coloured mostly by red iron oxide, also
now clean. Both are a consequence of Cornwall being a historic mining
area, going back centuries.
I have no numbers but what I know for sure is that a lot is
"local" rubbish as every time we get heavy rain, a fresh load of
bottles, cans and other packaging materials end up on our
In the same way that stones and pebbles get "swept" by traffic to
the sides of the roads, so does litter blowing around our
countryside and blown off of landfills end up in our streams and
rivers. From there it ends up on our beaches.
My wife and I bring a large reusable shopping bag each and litter pickers
and use them whilst we’re walking the dog.
In the big scheme of things it maybe isn’t making a huge difference but it
makes us feel happier about using the beach. We seem to have stimulated a
few “copy cats” by our actions.
I was under the impression that the biggest problem was mixed packing
where a food may be placed in a plastic tray which can be recycled but
then a film which cannot be recycled is bonded to the tray thus
"contaminating" it. Cardboard boxes with unnecessary plastic
see-through windows is another example.
Reducing packaging on many products seems to me a sensible idea. I'm not
advocating banning the sensible use of suitable packaging but I've seen
food from on brand that is in 3 layers of packing whereas the equivalent
from another supplier is in 1 layer of packaging.
There was a lot of concern about plastic micro-beads entering the food
chain but I now read that a bigger concern is the use of washing
machines. Washing synthetic materials in a washing machine results in
microscopic particles of the material being shed and being flushed down
the drain in the rinse cycle. These act in the same way as the now
banned micro-beads that were added to certain products (such as
toothpaste) and enter the food chain at the lowest level.
I used to tear off the plastic window from takeaway sandwiches so that
the paper/card could be recycled but now they seem to have switched
to a paper/card/polythene film laminate just like the Starbucks cups.
So can only be recycled in one place the in the UK.
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