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Amazonian Tribes should leave us feeling ashamed

rainforest during foggy day
Photo by David Riaño Cortés on Pexels.com

I have just read an interesting article, in the Daily Mail, on the isolated and uncontacted tribes of the Amazon Forest. Two of the tribes, the Akuntsu and Kanoe have been seen by government workers and both were wearing jewellery made from discarded pieces of plastic! It is ironic that these people who live simple lives, in harmony with the environment and create no pollution, find a way to put our rubbish to some use. If only we could find ways of dealing with used plastic in the ‘educated’ world. Continue reading Amazonian Tribes should leave us feeling ashamed

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Reduce – Reuse – Repair – Recycle

photo of pile of ripped carton
Photo by Luka Siemionov on Pexels.com

Ok, so the first three in that list are in order of importance and recycling should be the last resort – but far better than disposal nether-the-less! So, recycling does have its merits.

My local Council is having a push on recycling paper, and they have sent everyone a leaflet with recycling facts, that I actually found quite interesting. For instance:

  • If everyone in the town recycled 2 toilet roll  tubes it would power the library for 11 days. I thought that was impressive!
  • Recycling just 1 glossy magazine saves enough energy to boil a kettle 9 times.
  • It only takes 7 days for a recycled newspaper to come back as a new newspaper.

Hopefully, this will encourage more paper recycling but I also saw online that there was the opportunity to recycle low grade plastics at the town’s refuge centre. So, I washed and saved all my low grade plastics, which I also separated into their relevant PE numbers, and took them along. Only to be told that they went in the non-recyclable waste (no washing or separation required there!). Apparently they are then incinerated, with everything else, to produce ‘green’ energy. I am not too sure how ‘green’ that energy will be!!!

Oh, we have a long way to go when it comes to managing plastic.

 

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We’re on a road to ingenuity

arizona asphalt beautiful blue sky
Adding recycled plastic to asphalt mixtures can make roads twice as strong. Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

When we hear stats like “8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans each year” and  “The UN environment agency estimates that up to 5 trillion single-use bags are consumed worldwide each year”, it is easy to feel that the problem with plastic is an insurmountable one and we (the concerned folk on planet Earth) are getting nowhere.

However, there are some really exciting projects out there that attempt to tackle the waste mountain and although relatively small scale at present there is no reason why they can’t be considered globally.

For instance, in Ghana, they have undertaken a study on how recycled plastic can be added to asphalt mixtures in a bid to get rid of both, their ever-increasing plastic waste and the countries many pothole-ridden roads. This has already been taken up in India where, in the Kerala municipality, at least 10% of new roads must contain plastic. According to Amole Bale, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, including plastic in road paving mixtures makes the new roads twice as strong as normal roads.

This is brilliant news, so why are we not using recycled plastic in asphalt in the UK? I don’t know the answer to that, so I have emailed Highways England, which looks after our roads for the  Department for Transport, to ask them. I will post the reply when it arrives!

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April’s  Plastic Footprint

(tips and ideas to reduce plastic use)

  1. Use a bamboo or wheat straw toothbrush.
  2. Buy olive oil in a can and decant some into a glass and steel oil spray.
  3. Avoid tea bags by using a tea strainer
  4. Grow some of your own fruit and vegetables
  5. Use reusable natural fibre bags for shopping.

Why?

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