Reduce . . . buy less stuff.
Reuse . . . donate or sale your unwanted clothes, toys, furniture, and electrical items.
Recycle . . . plastic, paper, glass, card, aluminium, steel and garden waste, food waste, electronics
Waste rubbish . . . unrecyclable materials can be incinerated with good filtrations and heat recovery. Landfill sites give off methane and harmful chemicals can leach in to the soil and rivers.
As individuals we create about 500kg of waste each year, while manufacturing and construction creates 3 tons per person per year. Each year resources become more scarce.
In a circular economy, we aim to reuse or recycle everything. Business can still sell products for a profit but in such a way that it create no waste throughout the whole lifecycle. This is done by making products easily recycled or returnable to the manufacture for refurbishment.
In the UK most soft plastics bottles, bags, trays and paper and card are recycled via the home collection service. Plastic packaging Design guides are available on the British Plastics Federation website and the WRAP website. Common plastics like LDPE, HDPE, PP, PET, PS and PVC are all automatically washed, shredded, sorted in to colours. Black plastic can’t seen by the sorting machines so can’t be recycled.
Unfortunately most hard plastics used to make toys and garden furniture, ends up in the mixed waste which is incinerated. As recycling targets increase and the value of recycled plastic increases more hard plastics will be recycled in the future.
Electrical waste should be collected by an authorised company. All UK and EU manufacturers and retailers have to pay towards the cost of collection and safe disposal of electrical goods by an Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme. The EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive states that producers should design their products to enable the re-use, dismantling and recovery of components and materials.
Most clothing can be reused, made into rags, or cut into filler material. It is possible to recycled synthetic fabric using solvents that can be the used to make plastic pellets. See WRAP for more information.
All packaging must comply with EU Packaging directive and UK packaging regulations. Packaging should be made with the minimum amount of material needed to protect the products inside. It should be made form recycled, or recyclable, or compostable materials. If its designed to be incinerated must contain at least 50% of organic materials that burn, eg paper, wood, cardboard.