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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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Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.


While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.


One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.


1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.


4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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