This week, whisky lovers and cleaning fanatics were left questioning their shopping habits, from the news that the elaborate packaging on these products makes them are “a nightmare” to recycle. As well as cleaning spray bottles with a metal spring and whisky bottle packaging, Pringles tubes and Lucozade Sports bottles were singled out by The Recycling Association as “villains” of the recycling world.
This advice, however, was somewhat misleading. As several councils were quick to reply, items such as Lucozade bottles, Whisky bottles and cleaning spray bottles can actually be recycled.
What’s more, we shouldn’t be aiming to demotivate people from engaging in sustainable behaviours. A video on the BBC’s website started with the line: “Did you know… that much of your recycling actually ends up as landfill?”. In fact, landfill is an extremely expensive way of dealing with non-recyclable materials that councils are keen to avoid. For example, Bexley Council avoids sending non-recyclable waste to landfill by sending items to be incinerated to produce Energy-From-Waste. Bexley has the highest recycling rates in London, with 54% of domestic waste being recycled, well above the national average of 44.9%. In a recent survey we carried out, 55% of people couldn’t identify what materials should be recycled. If we are really aiming to encourage sustainable practices at home and in the workplace then we should not be sending out mixed messages or misinformation. While it is important to emphasise the need to make packaging that is more sustainable, let’s not put people off recycling in the process. A brilliant alternative for non-recyclable items is to get creative with reuse. The BBC has suggested some great ways to reuse a Pringles can. At Local Green Points, we incentivise sustainability and wellbeing through rewarding residents involved in our scheme with individual and community prizes for wasting less and recycling more. Local Councils, such as Bexley and West Norfolk work with us to engage residents in better recycling practises. We are also experts at delivering door-to-door engagement campaigns to educate residents.
So before you believe everything you read, check with your local council what items can and can’t be recycled. You might not need to ditch the whisky just yet…