Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire residents already recycle plastic that’s equivalent to 256 million bottles a year, but some trays, pots or tubs still go into the black bin.
Latest research shows one in two people puts at least one item that can be recycled in their black bin, adding un-necessary costs to the waste and recycling process.
Now, with the biggest and best national Recycle Week taking place from Monday (24 to 30 September), a campaign is starting across Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire to cut confusion around plastic recycling, and task people to recycle as much of it as they can.
The campaign is being run by the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service, which is a partnership between Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Councils, and the industry body for plastic recycling, the charity RECOUP. It will include events at local supermarkets and schools, and tailored messages on the side of waste collection vehicles.
From Blue Planet II, to major supermarkets pledging to reduce unnecessary plastic, this year people have been motivated to care about the environment in a way they never have before.
The 15th annual national Recycle Week, run by Recycle Now, is also capitalising on this energy here in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire. It tasks residents all over the country to build on this momentum by now focussing on getting our plastic recycling right.
Getting recycling right
With billboard advertising across the nation, a national tour, and a huge scale digital campaign, this year’s national Recycle Week is the biggest and boldest yet. It celebrates the fact that more and more of us are recycling.
In fact, as a nation we are recycling more than ever before, but it’s important we get it right. New research from Recycle Now shows while people in the UK say doing their bit for the environment is one of their main reasons for recycling, over three quarters of UK households (76%) add one or more items to their recycling collection that is not accepted locally. This can be problematic for the recycling process. Meanwhile more than half (54%) put at least one item in the general rubbish that could be recycled.
Much of the confusion is around plastic recycling, so the local campaign in Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire, and the national Recycle Week campaign, aims to address that.
Cllr Neil Gough, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “Most people in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire recycle plastic, which is great, but there are simple things we can all do to make our recycling even better. We need to be recycling more of our plastic from the bathroom, like empty bleach bottles, cleaning product sprays, deodorants and shampoo bottles. And we need to keep some things out of the recycling bin, too, like crisp packets, squeezy toothpaste tubes and pet food pouches. These actions will help make our recycling better, which keeps costs down, saving real money that can instead be spent on providing other Council services that residents rely on.”
Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Environmental Services at Cambridge City Council added: “All plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays from food packaging, plus carrier bags and clean plastic wrap like bread bags, or multipack toilet roll wrap can be recycled in blue bins in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire. Please remember these items should be empty with no food or liquids. They should also be clean. A quick rinse is fine for bottles, while a wash with washing up water does the trick for greasy items like margarine tubs. Any recycling shouldn’t be inside bags, and bottles should be squashed, with caps put back on, including spray triggers for cleaning product bottles.”
Stuart Foster, RECOUP CEO, comments: “RECOUP’s mission is to explain to people how easy it is to recycle plastic containers, so they never become a blight on the natural environment. It is important people know what happens to their plastic and that it is made into new bottles, trays and cartons or indeed other items such as fabric. This campaign provides a great opportunity to reduce confusion householders may have when recycling plastics and to ensure that the resource is recycled and does not end up as litter”.
For the local campaign in South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City, staff from the councils will be attending events at supermarkets and schools in the area over the next few weeks, challenging residents to put their recycling knowledge to the test and prove they know which bin is correct for different types of plastic packaging, while RECOUP plastics experts will be on hand to demonstrate how plastic packaging is recycled and to highlight that recycled plastic is already present in products on our high streets.
For more local information about plastic recycling, and to download posters, visit www.cambridge.gov.uk/plastic-recycling or follow Greater Cambridge Recycles on Twitter or Facebook.
To find out more about Recycle Week, visit www.recyclenow.org.uk