Why less than half of plastic bottles are recycled

If you’ve been following me on Twitter this week you would have seen that I’ve been spreading the word that this week is Recycle Week and the focus for this year’s campaign is the plastic bottle.

From milk bottles, shampoo bottles, water bottles and cleaning product bottles, since it’s introduction into our lives 65 years, plastic bottles are present in every room of every home, with a staggering 15 million plastic bottles used in the UK every day.

Despite technology enabling us to recycle plastic bottles, disappointingly less than 50% make it in our recycling bins.

But why are some many bottles going into landfill?

One reason, highlighted by Twitter follower Zoe from mamageek.co.uk is that not all local council’s collect plastic bottles. In Zoe’s case, Dudley Council do not collect plastic bottles, meaning she has to make a special trip to her nearest recycling centre which is 2 miles away. Not very convenient, I’m sure you’d agree.

Another reason I believe many people do not recycle their plastic bottles is that there are not enough public recycling points. This was very apparent at a concert I recently attended, despite selling drinks in bottles or serving in plastic cups, there were no recycling bins at all, just general waste bin that were full of bottles, mixed with food and other packaging waste. Surely, when local councils are holding public events, it should be mandatory that they provide recycling points. Similarly with high streets, more recycling points should be made available to make recycling a ‘no-brainer’ for the public. What are your thoughts?

Finally, and this is a BIG one, I believe laziness is one of the main causes of these poor recycling figures. It’s a shame, but many people in our society just don’t care about recycling – it’s not their problem. Sticking their waste in any old bin or just throwing it on the ground, means it’s either out of sight out and out of mind or it’s someone else’s responsibility to clean it up and take it away. It doesn’t matter does it? Well, yes it does, but unfortunately changing the mindset and behaviour of these people is not going to be an easy task. Hopefully with more high profile campaigns like ‘Recycle Week’ as well as innovative companies like Aquatina,  Tapwater.org and Planet Earth’s eco2life who aim to reduce our consumption of plastic bottles by producing refillable bottles which are made to last, our recycling rates will improve and our reliance on disposable plastic bottles will decrease.

Do you recycle your plastic bottles, does your council operate kerbside collection for your bottles or do you make crafts from recycled bottles, I’d love to hear from you?

To end, here’s a great little video from Recycle Now, showing exactly how your plastic bottles are recycled.

Click here for more information on Recycle Week

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