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Can We Do More With Plastic Waste?

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After a recent shopping trip to an well known supermarket I was curious about how much plastic was used in packaging of food and other items.As I put away the shopping I stacked up all the plastic packaging to one side by the end of it I had a sizable collection of plastics. I know we have to use  packaging for items but some of it was pointless or other materials  could be used that degrade would have been an better choice. 

 

Sure some of it will be recycled but not all some of the packaging stated that was not possible to recycle this container at this time so I am guessing it will be shipped to some far off land so it becomes their problem. When I have visited the coast and had a walk on the beach it is amazing how much plastic waste is washed up also it seems plastic is used in most things we own like computers , TVs and no doubt you could write down a huge list of items that have plastic in them.  

 

But can we cut down  further on the use of plastic in domestic appliances and packaging?

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Could it be melted down and reformed as new plastic bags?  If so, it could be sold as (for example) 20 plastic bags for £1.  With supermarkets and chip shops (among others) forced to sell plastic bags at 10p each, that would be be recycling waste and also saving shoppers money!

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15 minutes ago, Thirsty Relic said:

Could it be melted down and reformed as new plastic bags?  If so, it could be sold as (for example) 20 plastic bags for £1.  With supermarkets and chip shops (among others) forced to sell plastic bags at 10p each, that would be be recycling waste and also saving shoppers money!

Sounds a good idea the only downside is people seem to use a bag for certain amount of time before dumping which adds to flytipping you would have to encourage people to take the used bags back for recycling .

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2 minutes ago, GabrielC said:

Sounds a good idea the only downside is people seem to use a bag for certain amount of time before dumping which adds to flytipping you would have to encourage people to take the used bags back for recycling .

Now if charity shops collected used bags, that would be a source of funds for them.  As you say, individuals often can't be bothered re-using them, especially if they've held something like smelly food.  Perhaps containers on street corners to put them in - a charity could empty and pass them for recycling perhaps

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Another idea - we've all got brown bins for unwanted plastic and tins.  Surely the plastic bags could go in there, and the existing recycling systems collect and send them for reprocessing from there.

 

While you are thinking about your OP, perhaps you are the kind of person to be able to solve a similar issue I've got.  I can't put shredded paper in the blue paper bin with my newspapers etc, as when they empty the bin, it deposits shreddings all over the street!  I'm apparently not allowed to put them in plastic bags first, as that contaminates the paper.  All I can do currently is put shreddings (that surely can be recycled as paper) in black bags and put them in the black bin.  I found a shop selling shredders and also paper bags that can be used to recycle shreddings, but boy were they expensive!  Any ideas would be appreciated!

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5 minutes ago, Thirsty Relic said:

While you are thinking about your OP, perhaps you are the kind of person to be able to solve a similar issue I've got.  I can't put shredded paper in the blue paper bin with my newspapers etc, as when they empty the bin, it deposits shreddings all over the street!  I'm apparently not allowed to put them in plastic bags first, as that contaminates the paper.  All I can do currently is put shreddings (that surely can be recycled as paper) in black bags and put them in the black bin.  I found a shop selling shredders and also paper bags that can be used to recycle shreddings, but boy were they expensive!  Any ideas would be appreciated!

You could wrap the shredded paper in your newspapers. Not having newspapers, I put mine in cereal boxes. It seems to keep the shreddings from going everywhere.

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53 minutes ago, GabrielC said:

After a recent shopping trip to an well known supermarket I was curious about how much plastic was used in packaging of food and other items.As I put away the shopping I stacked up all the plastic packaging to one side by the end of it I had a sizable collection of plastics. I know we have to use  packaging for items but some of it was pointless or other materials  could be used that degrade would have been an better choice. 

 

Sure some of it will be recycled but not all some of the packaging stated that was not possible to recycle this container at this time so I am guessing it will be shipped to some far off land so it becomes their problem. When I have visited the coast and had a walk on the beach it is amazing how much plastic waste is washed up also it seems plastic is used in most things we own like computers , TVs and no doubt you could write down a huge list of items that have plastic in them.  

 

But can we cut down  further on the use of plastic in domestic appliances and packaging?

Of course we can but it isnt up to me or you , its up to the companies that use the packaging .

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Thirsty Relic said:

Now if charity shops collected used bags, that would be a source of funds for them.  As you say, individuals often can't be bothered re-using them, especially if they've held something like smelly food.  Perhaps containers on street corners to put them in - a charity could empty and pass them for recycling perhaps

Is there a commercial market for the type of plastic used for plastic bags? 

Edited by Bargepole23

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4 minutes ago, altus said:

You could wrap the shredded paper in your newspapers. Not having newspapers, I put mine in cereal boxes. It seems to keep the shreddings from going everywhere.

Tried it - they come undone and the bits fly all over.  Also I don't have cereals.  I've used boxes from when I've bought things, but then I'm told I shouldn't use sellotape to fasten them.  Can't win!

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It seems insane that all this packaging that lasts for 1,000 years is only used once, then dumped. If all packaging had to be certain standard sizes, it could be washed, sterilized then returned to the packing companies to be used over and over again.

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1 hour ago, Thirsty Relic said:

Another idea - we've all got brown bins for unwanted plastic and tins.  Surely the plastic bags could go in there, and the existing recycling systems collect and send them for reprocessing from there.

 

While you are thinking about your OP, perhaps you are the kind of person to be able to solve a similar issue I've got.  I can't put shredded paper in the blue paper bin with my newspapers etc, as when they empty the bin, it deposits shreddings all over the street!  I'm apparently not allowed to put them in plastic bags first, as that contaminates the paper.  All I can do currently is put shreddings (that surely can be recycled as paper) in black bags and put them in the black bin.  I found a shop selling shredders and also paper bags that can be used to recycle shreddings, but boy were they expensive!  Any ideas would be appreciated!

Use a paper bag ….

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1 hour ago, despritdan said:

It seems insane that all this packaging that lasts for 1,000 years is only used once, then dumped. If all packaging had to be certain standard sizes, it could be washed, sterilized then returned to the packing companies to be used over and over again.

Companies use the cheapest packaging because most people demand the cheapest price. Plastic is cheap and versatile.

We dont grow enough trees for everything to be packaged in paper and it would be more expensive.

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