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The secret life of plastics: revealed

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Brits are binning 15 million plastic bottles every single day, despite the fact they can be transformed, through recycling, into a range of surprising items. To tackle this, Pledge 4 Plastics – a national initiative aiming to boost plastics recycling – has released a short animated video revealing the ‘secret lives’ of plastics after being recycled.

The Secret Life of Recycled Plastics

Alongside plastic bottles, the animation places a strong emphasis on plastic tubs, pots and trays – only 30 per cent of which are recycled from UK households each year.

The animation shows a family recycling everyday plastic items as they go about their day, with the items making unexpected transformations. Dad starts his recycling journey in the bathroom, where a shampoo bottle transforms into a plastic chair.

Pledge 4 Plastics has also put forward its top five recycling facts:

1) It costs up to £78 million to dispose of the plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays not collected for recycling from UK households

2) Less than 60 per cent of plastic bottles and 30 per cent of plastic pots, tubs and trays are collected for recycling from households in the UK

3) 36 million plastic bottles are used by UK households in the UK every day – 15 million are not recycled

4) The average UK household uses around 500 plastic bottles per year but only recycles just over half of them

5) All types of plastic bottles can be recycled, including those used for juice, water, fizzy drinks, squash, sauces, cooking oils, washing up liquid, shampoo and conditioner, shower gel, garden products and car products

Pledge 4 Plastics is led by RECOUP, the member-based plastics recycling charity. Stuart Foster, CEO of RECOUP, said: “It’s common knowledge that you can, and should, recycle plastic bottles used for water, fizzy drinks and juice. Our insights, however, indicate that when it comes to plastic bottles for shampoo, household cleaners and bleach, cooking oil, table sauces, moisturiser and garden & car products, recycling levels are much lower. This drops further when it comes to things like butter tubs, fruit punnets and yoghurt pots.

“The aim of this video is to educate people in a really digestible format, showing examples of what kinds of plastics can be recycled – and, importantly, the diverse range of things they could become afterwards. We hope this surprising information will encourage people to share the video and, in turn, recycle more of their household plastics.

“Of course, your plastic bottles, trays, tubs and pots could simply become more plastic bottles, trays, tubs and pots – but they can also become anything from clothing and toys to building materials, such as fencing and piping.”

Jonathan Porritt, environmentalist and writer said: “These transformative examples show the wide variety of possibilities surrounding how recycled plastic can touch so many areas of our lives, without us even knowing about it.

“What an amazing material – plastic packaging coming back as your favourite football club’s shirt, your child’s toy, and even as parts of your car. Not to forget that it can be used in building products, paint pots … the list is almost endless! Recycling plastic really does work, and the recyclers want more of your plastics – just make sure you follow your Council’s instructions about what their facilities can accept for recycling.

Other plastic household items are reborn throughout the video including a butter tub turning into a table, a milk bottle becoming a toy rocket and a fruit punnet morphing into kitchen utensils.

Picture: Bottled Water by Steven Depolo via Flickr

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Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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