The world's rubbish collectors

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bluebird
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Re: The world's rubbish collectors

Post by bluebird » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:29 pm

mysty wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 9:26 pm
Its been going on for a while now, some UK councils who claimed plastics were getting recycled were exposed when the sacks full of plastics were turning up in Asia, with the councils name on the sacks. It was ridged plastic that could not be used again.
As you say it's been happening a while. I can see what might be driving this: Central gov't imposes recycling targets on local authorities which are probably unachievable, the local authority responds by shipping the problem overseas.

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Re: The world's rubbish collectors

Post by FrenchForumSurvivor » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:49 pm

After watching something on the news tonight, I looked at a few products in the fridge and cupboard. Crisps: packet in the bin; milk (brique): recyclable; yoghurt: everything in the bin; mini-brique orange juice: straw and its wrapper, bin, the carton is recyclable. But all of them had the double round arrow which most of us think means recyclable but actually just means, "think about recycling". No wonder there are 40 million euros worth of recycling errors.
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exile
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Re: The world's rubbish collectors

Post by exile » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:56 pm

Aardvark wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:54 pm
It seriously pisses me off whenever I hear the finger of blame being pointed at the consumer. In my view it should be the producers of the offending packaging that should be made to stop using it, not us, the poor sods that have no choice what the products are wrapped with. Simple plain or coated paper products for dry stuff and recyclable glass for liquids. Job done. Tough shit if it has to be more expensive.

Make your point at the checkout. Unwrap every item and leave the unnecessary packaging with the cashier before you make the payment. They did it in Germany with the result that quite a lot (but by no means all) of the packaging that was superfluous was removed by the producers at the supermarkets' request.

Paper - sounds good - just that it uses quite a lot of energy to produce and 4t good quality water per ton of paper produced. Coated paper is not easily recyclable. Paper is not infinitely recyclable. Each time round the cycle the fibres become shorter and shorter and after 6 or so re-uses the fibres are too short and flush out with the waste water - potentially polluting the waterways.
Glass - environmental catastrophe - high energy input (also with recycling), possibly slower than plastic to degrade, dangerous when broken. If glass as a packaging material were invented today, it would be banned.

What is lacking are proper systems for recycling/reusing plastics. Most carbonated drinks in Germany are in heavy duty reusable deposit plastic bottles. They don't look as nice as our clear throw away ones but much kinder to the planet. Why can I recycle a plastic milk bottle, but not a plastic sack used for packing say 25kg fertiliser? It is the same plastic. There are so many more similar examples where our lack of imagination shows the weakness of our recycle systems.

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Re: The world's rubbish collectors

Post by exile » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:01 pm

FrenchForumSurvivor wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:49 pm
After watching something on the news tonight, I looked at a few products in the fridge and cupboard. Crisps: packet in the bin; milk (brique): recyclable; yoghurt: everything in the bin; mini-brique orange juice: straw and its wrapper, bin, the carton is recyclable. But all of them had the double round arrow which most of us think means recyclable but actually just means, "think about recycling". No wonder there are 40 million euros worth of recycling errors.
No - the double arrow means no more than the packaging producer has paid a tax to pay for the eventual collection/recycling/disposal/destruction.
It says nothing about recyclability, nor indeed that you should think about it.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grüner_Punkt

But you will probably need to put it through a translation program.

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Re: The world's rubbish collectors

Post by bluebird » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:09 pm

exile wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:56 pm
Aardvark wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:54 pm
It seriously pisses me off whenever I hear the finger of blame being pointed at the consumer. In my view it should be the producers of the offending packaging that should be made to stop using it, not us, the poor sods that have no choice what the products are wrapped with. Simple plain or coated paper products for dry stuff and recyclable glass for liquids. Job done. Tough shit if it has to be more expensive.

Make your point at the checkout. Unwrap every item and leave the unnecessary packaging with the cashier before you make the payment. They did it in Germany with the result that quite a lot (but by no means all) of the packaging that was superfluous was removed by the producers at the supermarkets' request.

Paper - sounds good - just that it uses quite a lot of energy to produce and 4t good quality water per ton of paper produced. Coated paper is not easily recyclable. Paper is not infinitely recyclable. Each time round the cycle the fibres become shorter and shorter and after 6 or so re-uses the fibres are too short and flush out with the waste water - potentially polluting the waterways.
Glass - environmental catastrophe - high energy input (also with recycling), possibly slower than plastic to degrade, dangerous when broken. If glass as a packaging material were invented today, it would be banned.

What is lacking are proper systems for recycling/reusing plastics. Most carbonated drinks in Germany are in heavy duty reusable deposit plastic bottles. They don't look as nice as our clear throw away ones but much kinder to the planet. Why can I recycle a plastic milk bottle, but not a plastic sack used for packing say 25kg fertiliser? It is the same plastic. There are so many more similar examples where our lack of imagination shows the weakness of our recycle systems.
Yep, as with most things the Germans are doing things effectively & efficiently.

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Re: The world's rubbish collectors

Post by exile » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:06 pm

Not sure I would necessarily agree with either of those descriptors Bluebird, though both can apply. What the Germans are, is thorough.

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Re: The world's rubbish collectors

Post by DominicBest » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:09 pm

exile wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:01 pm
FrenchForumSurvivor wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:49 pm
After watching something on the news tonight, I looked at a few products in the fridge and cupboard. Crisps: packet in the bin; milk (brique): recyclable; yoghurt: everything in the bin; mini-brique orange juice: straw and its wrapper, bin, the carton is recyclable. But all of them had the double round arrow which most of us think means recyclable but actually just means, "think about recycling". No wonder there are 40 million euros worth of recycling errors.
No - the double arrow means no more than the packaging producer has paid a tax to pay for the eventual collection/recycling/disposal/destruction.
It says nothing about recyclability, nor indeed that you should think about it.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grüner_Punkt

But you will probably need to put it through a translation program.
We once had a talk by a rep from our local recycling centre in Germany. She made the point about the need to recycle but when the subject of the arrows on the packaging came up she made it very clear that the only items that were to go into the recycling were those bought in Germany, upon which the arrows were present, anything identical but bought across the border in Holland were to be put with the general rubbish. It wasn’t that those things were unsuitable for recycling, it was that their company had not been paid to recycle them.
To reply to Bluebird, Germany does not always do things efficiently. When recycling first came into the area where I worked we were issued with several wheelie bins each and the recycling in places like McDonalds was more like an intelligence test than anything else as there were so many different places where things belonged. There were also detailed instructions about what to do and business who weren't able to sort their waste payed huge surcharges for using only one bin. Everything worked smoothly for a few years until one of the local papers reported the facts; very little of the waste was being recycled. The most of it was going straight to the MVA, the Müllverbrennungsanlage (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCll ... ung?wprov=) where it was burnt along with the other rubbish.
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Spotty
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Re: The world's rubbish collectors

Post by Spotty » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:15 am

Aardvark wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:54 pm
It seriously pisses me off whenever I hear the finger of blame being pointed at the consumer. In my view it should be the producers of the offending packaging that should be made to stop using it, not us, the poor sods that have no choice what the products are wrapped with. Simple plain or coated paper products for dry stuff and recyclable glass for liquids. Job done. Tough shit if it has to be more expensive.
A friend of ours works in the packaging industry, her firm has a full range of biodegradable packaging but the supermarkets won't pay the extra even though the per unit cost is minor.

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Aardvark
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Re: The world's rubbish collectors

Post by Aardvark » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:48 am

Spotty wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:15 am
Aardvark wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:54 pm
It seriously pisses me off whenever I hear the finger of blame being pointed at the consumer. In my view it should be the producers of the offending packaging that should be made to stop using it, not us, the poor sods that have no choice what the products are wrapped with. Simple plain or coated paper products for dry stuff and recyclable glass for liquids. Job done. Tough shit if it has to be more expensive.
A friend of ours works in the packaging industry, her firm has a full range of biodegradable packaging but the supermarkets won't pay the extra even though the per unit cost is minor.
So there you go. Someone needs to make the use of those materials mandatory and save us at the bottom some earache about it being our fault the planet is going tits up.
Brexit [breg-zit, brek-sit] noun, The process where politicians and other lower life forms use democracy to perform the socio-economic destruction of a nation.
see also Armageddon

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Re: The world's rubbish collectors

Post by exile » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:11 am

Just a word of warning on bio-degradable plastics.

Most aren't fully bio-degradable. The majority of these materials are based on a polymer based on starch, which produces a rigid material. To make it flexible you have to add very fine and short fibres of PET - which is essentially adding micro-plastic particles.

Most of these materials have been shown to be non-bio-degradable in conventional situations - your compost heap for example, or even the local rubbish tip - and require industrial digesters to breakdown the starch based part of the material. The PET fibres remain. So if one of these packs escapes into the environment it is not going to break down any time soon.

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