For me personally recycling is a no-brainer. Answer this question: Where is “away”? You are going to “throw it away”… where is that? I always wonder about that when I hear the statement.
We now know that there is a plastic island in the middle of the ocean somewhere – in fact I found that too, see here: Youtube There are in fact no less than FIVE garbage patches in the Pacific ocean – the largest being the size of Eastern Australia and known as “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” ~ I find that extremely sad.
The un-biodegradable water bottle is the biggest culprit and evident in our own Durban harbour too and the second culprit is the plastic carrier bag. It pains me every time I forget my fabric shopping bags in the car ~ I either walk all the way balancing my few items or “borrow” the trolley and head over to my car boot and just drop the items in freely. Each time we pack the smaller Zucchini & Zest orders into a plastic bag, I cringe – I cannot! No more! So going forward, our pledge to you is that Zucchini & Zest will no longer be using any plastic carrier bags! And….. Watch this space as we are looking at new means of packaging your orders into branded recycled boxes.
Here at Zucchini & Zest our suppliers appreciate it when you return the egg cartons and branded sleeves of egg cartons, as well as milk bottles, kefir water bottles, Kimchi and kraut bottles, not to mention the bags you receive your goodies in!
Back to the issue of recycling in general:
During 2014, 1,084,400 tons of plastic waste was sent to South African landfills. This is according to the latest plastic recycling stats released by PlasticsSA. In Johannesburg the informal sector play a huge role in the recycling of plastics (bottles, carrier bags, wrapping and containers). They are out very early on garbage day – rain or shine – pulling or pushing their homemade carts and trolleys and they rummage (mostly neatly) through your garbage, collect what they need and take it to the places where plastics are collected and recycling happens and new products, mainly films (packaging, building and industrial) and pipes are made. Interestingly in 2014, 90,2% of plastics was recycled locally; the remaining 9.85% which is 31,000 tons, were exported for recycling elsewhere.
Costs to get the goods to be recycled to the places where recycling happens, are threatening the process; hence the important contribution of the informal ‘recyclers’. I sadly do not see too many informal ‘recyclers’ in my area, does it happen in yours? I know that our local municipality do attempt to recycle, but recently we received a notice saying that they cannot supply us with the (plastic) bags needed in which to place the recyclable waste, but request that “we add it to the tins and the papers (all in one bag) and we will collect it”. I ponder whether that is truly sorted? or is it just all dumped in the same landfill? This is 500 words and we have only covered “plastic”.
Do take a look around your home and try to separate the boxes, plastics, tins and papers…. you will be surprised at how little you actually need to throw “away” once all is sorted and food scraps are taken to your compost heap.
Let’s look after the earth, after all, it’s the only planet we have!