The plastic problem – can we beat it?
Sector: News

This year’s World Environment Day campaign is #BeatPlasticPollution. On June 5th you can join millions of people across the globe by spreading the message and, importantly, taking action. Beating plastic pollution is wonderful idea, but is it realistic? The facts are pretty dire.

The World Environment Day website states that more than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced each year, half of which is single use. Of that other half, less than 10% is recycled. Today, plastic clogs our landfills, leaches into the ocean and is combusted into toxic smoke. Not only that, microplastics find their way into the food we eat, the water we drink and even the air we breathe, making it one of the gravest threats to the planet.

It’s easy to feel helpless. And hopeless. However history is on our side. Humans have proved again and again that we can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Small individual efforts can swell into global changes. So here are a few of the EASY ways to up your recycling game:

  1. Check you’re putting the right plastics in the right recycling bins.  This may seem trivial, but contaminated recycling means at least a fifth of it is not actually recyclable. Many are guilty of “Wishcycling” – putting too many items into recycling when they cannot actually be processed. Lots of people don’t realise that not cleaning plastic containers before putting them into recycling, and putting unrecyclable plastic into recycling bins, has huge effects in terms of contaminating plastic.
  2. If your company uses an office, think about putting in an unlimited filtered water tap and offer reusables to drink from – it will save large amounts of plastic water bottle waste, and encourage employees to drink more water and be healthier.
  3. Reduce plastic in office tea and coffee – make sure you’re offering recyclable tea bags (many can’t be put into food waste bins,) be proactive about using coffee from recycled packaging and order in larger quantities to avoid extra packaging.
  4. Buy reusable, long-life containers for packed lunches. Kilner jars are great for #jarsalads for example.
  5. Make sure the plastic you use is recyclable. At Speed we ensure as far as possible that any plastic products we buy are made from recycled plastic and are also recyclable.

And finally don’t forget to amplify your company’s efforts to reduce plastic to encourage others to do the same.

At Speed these changes are part of our wider commitment to reducing out impact on the planet. Only through lots of smaller, individual efforts will we create the big change that we need.

Happy recycling!