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Thread: Non-recyclable rubbish

  1. #1
    Hemlock's Avatar
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    Default Non-recyclable rubbish

    Corum and I decided we would experiment and see if we can dispose of all of our own rubbish without having any left out for the bin men.
    We must bury, burn, shred or recycle everything. One week into the experiment and I am feeling quite despondent.
    We already have a large box of plastic which we must burn at the weekend - this is from cereal packets, rice, pasta, bean bags etc none of which come in paper.
    The local council does not recycle cardboard so we must burn that also.
    All our veg is sourced locally at the farm shop so no rubbish there.
    Cat litter tray contents - buried in the "shit pit".
    All paper + receipts etc made into bricks for the wood burning stove with the brick maker.
    Left over food in the compost bin.
    So far the plastic is the main problem - we are swimming in it because every tiny thing we buy is wrapped in tons of it, pitta bread, hummus, rice - we have no weigh it and buy shops that are any good here.
    We also cannot recycle or burn any of the lids that come on jars and tins, the recycling people refuse to take them.
    We are tempted to bin anything we can't destroy ourselves or recycle on the council offices doorstep in the dead of night
    This challenge is tougher than we thought - is it more environmentally friendly to burn our own plastic with resulting toxic fumes or send to land fill?
    We have not found a way to ban plastic as even if we make all our food from scratch the ingredients are all wrapped in it
    Any ideas welcome!
    Silent but deadly :p

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    I'd be very wary of burning plastics. The fumes released are sometimes very toxic. As much as it may be depressing, I think it is safer in a landfill. At least there it is more inert than when released into the atmosphere.

    That said, I commend you on your decision to do this. I wish everyone would try it, so they too could become horrified at how much waste we produce in industrialized countries.

    Cheers,
    rant
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." --Yoda

  3. #3
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    I've also read that burning plastics is not a good idea. Perhaps you could do the now-traditional thing of handing the packaging back to whatever shop it came from? Personally I might just do that with the unnecessary packaging from around rice etc, because realistically they have to put the hummus in something (although I suppose they could use a recyclable material such as glass, but I'm not sure that would work out better from an environmental POV?).

    Cardboard you might be able to compost? Or you could give it to the council as there's no reason they can't recycle that - ours does (allegedly!).

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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Good on you for taking recycling so seriously, but I'd urge you not to burn plastic as well. Apart from the fact that toxic fumes will be released, I don't think your neighbours will be very pleased with you because of the stench caused. The smell of burning plastic is vile.

    Could you get the cardboard over to Brighton? I expect there would be a recycling point there that takes it.

    I'm lucky where I live as the local council have recently provided us with large plastic recycling bins and increased the recycling they'll take to include glass and tetra packs (they've long taken cardboard, plastic, tins and paper). I'm particularly pleased about the tetra packs as we get through lots of soya and other vegan milks and fruit juice. They also collected people's christmas trees to be composted. There's even a battery recycling point at the council tip and they recycle car batteries, computer monitors, TVs, metals, engine oil, fridges and other electrical goods and compost garden waste.

  5. #5
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    it's the little plastic punnets tomatoes come in, toothpaste tubes/pumps soy yog pots (although nearer the time i save these and use then as starter pots for growing my veg seeds), any plastic thats not 1 or 2 - these are my gripe.

    has anyone actually unwrapped packaging and left it at the store??

    we get doorstep collections for paper, glass, cans/ali and garden waste and i have found a tetrapak bank nearish. we shred all unwanted junk/old statements/ personal detail stuff and stick it in the compost which is where our kitchen compostable waste goes too.

    it's a battle though.

    yes, eco our council has a dump with battery, wood, oil recycling too

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Hi Hemlock,
    I wonder if you could take any of the cardboard and plastic to the local school. Children are always building things out of stuff like that. They might also use the plastic containers to sprout seeds in etc..There might be certain containers that are particularly useful to them. It might be worth giving the local primary school a ring.

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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Quote Hemlock View Post
    is it more environmentally friendly to burn our own plastic with resulting toxic fumes or send to land fill?
    Dear Madame Hemlock,
    It is more environmentally friendly to send the plastic to landfill than to burn it!
    Check the plastic to make sure it is not biodegradable, if it says it is biodegradable, it can rot down in your compost bin.
    Some of the bags can be re-used for poopa scoop, packed lunches and storing dry food items.
    When buying loose fruit and veg it is your right not to put it in a bag, I started just putting it loose in my basket and the person on the checkout never objects. It saves the shop money after all.
    If the plastic is clean and dry you can use it for sending items in the post as long as you tape the package up securely.
    Wrap the item in the plastic and then sellotape an address label on to it.
    Our local council has bins in 3 of the municipal dumps for receiving cardboard. I save mine until I have quite a lot and then pass it on to someone who is making a trip there. Maybe your council has something similar.
    There may be someone in your area who can use the tin lids for craft projects. You could ask on your local freecycle if anyone wants them.
    I have got rid of plastic as well on freecycle, people who are into ebay trading are always looking out for packaging.
    See my local diary ... http://herbwormwood.blogspot.com/

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    Metal Head emzy1985's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Our council actually recycles a hell of alot! Cardboard, paper, tins, glass, plastic (in it's many forms) although they do only collect once every two weeks and give us PLASTIC bags to put the stuff in. Some recycling centres have plastic recycling now as well. Every thing else goes in the garden or unfortunately the bin...which isn't alot. I don't know what to suggest about your plastic problem. Maybe you could write to your council and let them know of your concerns about lack or recycling?
    The taste of anything in my mouth for 5 seconds does not equate to the beauty and complexity of life.

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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Wow Hemlock, I don't have any advice. But I commend your huge undertaking.

    Sigh...My own recycling is piling up in my garage.

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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Thank you very much for your input everyone. What we've finally decided to do after much consideration is not burn or landfill but post all the plastic to Morrison's head office as all the plastic came from Morrisons with a letter explaining our mission and asking them to package basic foods in either re-inforced paper or recyclable plastics.
    We will continue to post said rubbish to the head office until such a time as they get a court order requiring us to stop doing it.
    Silent but deadly :p

  11. #11
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    i wouldn't like to be the postman delivering that lot!

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    Metal Head emzy1985's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    nice one
    The taste of anything in my mouth for 5 seconds does not equate to the beauty and complexity of life.

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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Great idea Hemlock. Have you thought of getting in touch with your local paper about what you plan to do? They might be interested in running a story about you. It would be a good way to highlight the amount of over packaging there is to quite a lot of people.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    That's such a good idea Eco, I'll ring the local paper on Monday and see if they are interested Funnily enough we were in Lewes today and happened to run into the local Green Party who are having an anti plastic drive in Lewes at the moment. We are meeting up with them next month.
    Silent but deadly :p

  15. #15
    Moonharvester
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    So is there anything you can do with "non-recyclable" plastics?

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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Our council has started down the energy from waste route, so non recyclables will be burned. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand it is controlled incineration so pollution will be at a minimum, although it will still release some dioxins.

    On the other hand, paper production also produces dioxins, so are paper bags really so much better?

    There is a difference between biodegradable plastic and compostable plastic I think. I only put the compostable stuff in the compost bin - I think the other is supposed to break down quickly in a land fill.

    We also add brown cardboard to the compost heap.

    I wish tetra-paks would disappear, as virtually nowhere recycles them, and I think the recycling consists of burning for energy and reclaiming the aluminium.
    "Danger" could be my middle name but it's "John"

  17. #17
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Our council (Wandsworth) does take Tetrapaks for recycling but you may well be right about what they do with them.

    How are you getting on, Hemlock and Corum?

  18. #18
    cobweb
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    i agree about the tetra-packs.

    Orkney is very good about sustainability/recycling, etc, thankfully. The home we are waiting to have built by the local housing association will have a ground source heat pump, be built from sustainable timber, have a loo that flushes from rainwater, extra thick insulation and a hot air system circulating warmth in from a purpose built south-facing porch.

    We can recycle most things here - except tetra packs - and are very much encouraged to do so, and to use reusable bags/refillable bottles, etc.

    I was very cross recently when i was at the recycling facility - i suddenly realised that the daffy old woman next to me was feeding in all her glass bottles to the plastics skip. I gave her a good telling off - that's the whole skip ruined then as it's sealed off so unreachable, grr .

  19. #19
    Hemlock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Quote harpy View Post
    Our council (Wandsworth) does take Tetrapaks for recycling but you may well be right about what they do with them.

    How are you getting on, Hemlock and Corum?
    Not great, the plastic mountain really annoys me as even if I give it back to the supermarket they still dump it in landfill. Also we have to keep going up to the dump with cardboard and glass - I don't think you can live a rubbish free existence now Maybe it's time to up the anti-plastic campaigning!!!
    Silent but deadly :p

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    You go, Hemlock! I love the idea of mailing it back to the office.

    My current gripe is with the organic bell peppers at Wegmans food stores. The nonorganic peppers are sold loose, while the organic ones are wrapped in plastic on a styrofoam tray! Lately, I've been taking them out and leaving the packaging behind. So far, I've gotten away with it. I just don't understand why you would package organic produce (which I presume is being bought by health- and environmentally-consious people) in toxic styrofoam.

    Cheers,
    rant
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." --Yoda

  21. #21
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    when we knocked our old garden shed down we found a large quantity of half used and full paint that my husband stockpiled when he was self employed.

    can we find somewhere to dispose of it? can we heck.

    council have no facilities, environment agency no help - i have found a company on line that deals with solvents and another one who can also maybe help.

    what do people do with half used paint? you're not allowed to dump it in a skip as it is deemed a hazardous substance - no wonder people fly tip and dump stuff.....

  22. #22
    Knolishing Pob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    How about this place? Do they have somewhere nearish, and is it suitable for reuse?

    http://www.communityrepaint.org.uk/Donate_Where.php
    "Danger" could be my middle name but it's "John"

  23. #23
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    thanks pob - i've tried that, our problem some of it is quite old and we don't know if it is safe to still use hence the hesitation here. also because my dh drives a company van now, many places are wary that he is actually dumping company stuff.

    hopefully i'll hear back from someone i've asked soon.

  24. #24
    Oklahoma!!! Klutz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Quote cedarblue View Post

    has anyone actually unwrapped packaging and left it at the store??


    I did this all the time in Korea. The amount of packaging they used for everything was obscene. It's not nearly as bad here in the States (compared to Korea) but still pretty awful. At least here I can generally avoid a lot of it by buying very few packaged goods and avoiding the plastic bags in the produce department whenever possible.

  25. #25
    cobweb
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    went to the recycling centre today and was chuffed to see a new bin for tetra-paks/all liquid cartons, woo!

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    ^ Yeh they recently put one at my local recycing centre too. We've got really good recycling facilities here now, so theres hardly anything goes in my ordinary bin.
    The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well

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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    We also have the tetra pak recycling here now.
    I have discovered if I put some boiling water or hot tea in the soya milk carton, once it seems to be quite empty and no more comes out, using a funnel and swish it round, I can get fair bit more soya milk out the carton, to add to tea. It also makes it easier to wash out for recycling. For juice and smoothies I funnel in some cold water, swish and get some dilute juice.
    I like getting value for money and saving waste.
    Someone once said on this forum that I was weird and I suppose that proves it.
    See my local diary ... http://herbwormwood.blogspot.com/

  28. #28
    cobweb
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    amble over to the weird habits thread, herb.

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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    I just looked at that thread. I consider the funnel thing to be economical and rational rather than weird!
    I only started doing it since the tetra pak recycling came here. I do admit to being a bit weird about enjoying washing out the tetra paks after I have done the rest of the washing up. Its very soothing.
    See my local diary ... http://herbwormwood.blogspot.com/

  30. #30
    cobweb
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    i was only joking, i think the funnel thing is a good idea but sadly i might be too lazy to remember to do it.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Thanks for the tip Herbwormwood, I'll be giving that a go. There always seems to be loads of soya milk left when I rinse the carton after it felt like it was empty.
    The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Quote rantipole View Post
    My current gripe is with the organic bell peppers at Wegmans food stores. The nonorganic peppers are sold loose, while the organic ones are wrapped in plastic on a styrofoam tray! Lately, I've been taking them out and leaving the packaging behind. So far, I've gotten away with it. I just don't understand why you would package organic produce (which I presume is being bought by health- and environmentally-consious people) in toxic styrofoam.
    They package organic veg because it is more expensive than the ordinary stuff, and they worry that people will peel off the label and pass it off as the cheaper variety at the checkout.

    My local supermarket has started packaging their organic veg in compostable corn starch bags and/or cardboard trays.

  33. #33
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Does anyone have any ideas what to do with the big styrofoam boxes that Goodness Direct send you frozen food in? We've got two, I tried giving them away on freecycle but got no response. I don't want to have to break them up and put them in the bin.

  34. #34
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    If you can keep them you might eventually find that they come in handy. I want to send some jam and stuff to someone abroad and now I'm wishing I'd kept mine.

    Do they still use them then? I'm sure my last order was in sort of foil-coated cardboard but perhaps that was chilled rather than frozen.

  35. #35
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    They do seem like they should come in handy for something... I'll loft them.

  36. #36
    cobweb
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    I grew some seeds in mine, they worked quite well. I also used one as a 'cool box', re-using the ice pack thingies in them too. Yes Harpy, I got the foil boxes last time aswell.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Quote Hemlock View Post
    Thank you very much for your input everyone. What we've finally decided to do after much consideration is not burn or landfill but post all the plastic to Morrison's head office as all the plastic came from Morrisons with a letter explaining our mission and asking them to package basic foods in either re-inforced paper or recyclable plastics.
    We will continue to post said rubbish to the head office until such a time as they get a court order requiring us to stop doing it.
    That's an ace idea!
    Quote eco View Post
    Great idea Hemlock. Have you thought of getting in touch with your local paper about what you plan to do? They might be interested in running a story about you. It would be a good way to highlight the amount of over packaging there is to quite a lot of people.
    As is this!

    Quote herbwormwood View Post
    We also have the tetra pak recycling here now.
    I have discovered if I put some boiling water or hot tea in the soya milk carton, once it seems to be quite empty and no more comes out, using a funnel and swish it round, I can get fair bit more soya milk out the carton, to add to tea. It also makes it easier to wash out for recycling. For juice and smoothies I funnel in some cold water, swish and get some dilute juice.
    I like getting value for money and saving waste.
    Someone once said on this forum that I was weird and I suppose that proves it.
    Quote cobweb View Post
    amble over to the weird habits thread, herb.
    Lol!

    I save plastic and glass bottles/jars etc and they get recyled at the local 'tip'. Anything cardboard gets given to my rodents to chew and make dens out of, they don't care that I didn't pay 5 for it at a pet shop do they!!??
    (Obv I wouldn't do this if it wasn't just cardboard, I am always sure it's safe)
    Magazines/papers/anything resembling such, get used for furbaby cage lining or litter tray for the rabbit or cat.
    I try my best to stay away from plastic containers but on a budget, if things are going cheap, I buy, and I reuse. To put my lunch in, store things in, mix things in, a bowl for painting, whatever. When they're unusable I pour boiling water on them to shrink them then they go in the bin.
    I try my best to never, ever waste food.
    I will try think of other things I do. I absolutely hate waste.
    The greatest mistake is to do nothing because you can only do a little.

  38. #38
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Quote Hemlock View Post
    ... I don't think you can live a rubbish free existence now Maybe it's time to up the anti-plastic campaigning!!!
    Aye, its one of many instances that fits the addage "you can't be totally clean whilst living in a very dirty world ..", I guess.

    Anyways, I wanted to add my acknowledgement of your fine efforts to clean the dirty world up a bit Hemlock.

    Mebbe I should be doing more? I'm off to have a think ..
    All done in the best possible taste ...

  39. #39
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    Quote Risker View Post
    Does anyone have any ideas what to do with the big styrofoam boxes that Goodness Direct send you frozen food in? We've got two, I tried giving them away on freecycle but got no response. I don't want to have to break them up and put them in the bin.

    if you grow flowers or veg in pot, break the boxes down and use them as drainage at the bottom of the pot before putting the soil in - or pass them onto a gardener if you don't. anything like this or polystyrene is good for pot drainage.

  40. #40
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    ^ It would be a waste to break them down, a good idea for old bits of packing styrofoam but these are sturdy boxes that could definitely be reused in their current form. Growing things in the boxes themselves wouldn't be a bad idea but we don't have a garden anymore

  41. #41
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-recyclable rubbish

    I had forgotten about using it for drainage, but I did know once because recently when I was emptying out some old pots to reuse I found bits of polystyrene in the bottom. It was a bit of a fiddle separating them out from the compost - perhaps I should have left them in larger pieces?

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