Guest blog by Sally Lancaster from Generation Zero Carbon Shropshire

We are all used to taking our own reusable bags to the supermarket these days. However, there is something else we should all remember to bring with us when we do the weekly food-shop….. our plastic packaging! An easy way to recycle more plastic.

Perplexing Plastic Packaging – What do all those labels mean?

You may have noticed this label on many items of plastic packaging such as bread bags, breakfast cereal liners, and frozen food bags for vegetables, chips, etc. Like most people I used to just throw away these items with my general waste as they aren’t collected with the household recycling. However, it felt wrong to be sending things that could be recycled to landfill.

I started collecting all packaging with this label on and took it with me when I did my supermarket shop. The collection bin was located right by the front entrance so on my way in I just popped my rubbish in and got on with my shopping. Since then, I have continued to do this every week and have been surprised at how much I was throwing away…

So, what can I recycle?

According to Recycle Now, the following types of plastic packaging are accepted at carrier bag collection points located at most larger stores of major supermarkets.

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It’s amazing how many things are accepted! If you are in doubt, just check the recycling label: it will tell you whether to recycle from home, recycle at supermarkets, or not to recycle at all. Make sure all items are clean and free of food.

Big difference, small effort

This photo shows 1 week’s plastic waste just from me! It includes things like cereal bags, kitchen roll packaging, and bread bags. Since I’ve been collecting this plastic waste I’ve noticed a big reduction in the amount of general waste I am producing.

Separating and dropping off this rubbish requires barely any additional effort but makes such a big difference to the amount of plastic ending up in landfill. We are all used to separating household recycling like plastic bottles, cans and paper so this is no different to that. We are also used to remembering to take reusable bags to the supermarket so it is no extra trouble to take your plastic waste with you too. I’ve been taking mine to Sainsburys in Telford but across Shropshire the larger stores of most major supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, The Co-op and Waitrose will have a collection point.

If you receive online shopping deliveries, many supermarkets allow you to give unwanted bags to the driver for recycling.

Guest blog written by Sally Lancaster from Generation Zero Carbon Shropshire

Sources:

https://shorebox.co.uk/recycling-symbols-explained/

https://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/plastic-film

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Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot