According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 22,770,000 tonnes of waste from households was collected in 2016 in England. Although the amount has not varied greatly, this is the highest total over the past seven years. It just goes to show the scale of the challenge faced by local authorities in collecting, sorting and disposing of our waste (whether that be through reuse, recycling, incineration or landfill).
The good news is that the amount of this waste which was sent for dry recycling, was also at its highest for the period – and that sent for organic recycling was at its second highest – suggesting progress is being made towards effective resource management in household waste.
We’ve all got a part to play
Even without budget constraints, local authorities need help to manage this much waste and ensure maximum resource recovery. Residents play a crucial role in trying to reduce the amount they produce and correctly sort material that needs to be disposed of. Regular education campaigns on the topic are important.
Suppliers, like us, are also vital to the equation. We need to provide products that ensure easy separation and limit the chance of contamination so that the maximum levels of recycling can be achieved, and all other waste be appropriately disposed of.
Our wide range of products includes everything from wheeled bin liners and compactor sacks, to compostable food waste sacks. We also supply several varieties of recycling bags, including industrial strength Kerbie® kerbside bags which are tailor-made for the collection of dry recyclables, such as plastic, paper, cans and cardboard. Other options are our multi-trip polypropylene recycling bags, ideal for collecting and storing dry recyclables, especially in flats. These lighter versions are easier to store and can be used to decant materials into the larger central collection points.
Other useful options for improved waste management include battery bags, clinical waste sacks and dog waste bags.
Even if supplied with the right recycling option though, not all residents will be clear on what goes where and so potentially reusable material can become contaminated, limiting the amount that can be recycled. Getting bespoke instructions printed directly onto bags can help ease this problem and ensure education messages are received at the point they are most needed.
One well known, but significant barrier to recycling is that people don’t understand what happens to waste once it’s collected and therefore don’t think it is worth the effort to separate material. If this information is printed directly onto bags it could make a big difference.
Practicing what is preached
It’s also important that local authorities are seen to practice what they preach and correctly sort and dispose of their own waste. It’s reported that people are far better at recycling at home than at work, but local councils need to ensure this isn’t the case at their offices, if they expect others to improve.