Inspired to recycle?

My son was off school sick last Thursday. When boredom levels reached a peak, he decided to have a go at his GCSE Art coursework - a project on Rubbish. Whilst his artistic skills far exceed mine, he is always willing for me to help him come up with ideas…and on this subject, I would consider myself an expert! We have a house full of it for a start. Then there’s the recycling that we are totally committed to. Only a few days earlier, I had taken half a tonne of paper and card to the recycling depot.

He wasn’t impressed. For every idea, there was an objection - too hard, too boring, too…..

I picked up the local free paper. “What about this for an idea?” There before me was a gem. Gateshead Council is pledging to grow a fruit tree for every tonne of aluminium drinks cans and foil recycled over the next two years. A tree in Malawi, no less, where we intend to visit in July. My mind was teeming with ideas.

No. It’s meant to be still life.” A bucket of water thrown over my creative fire! I walked away; he went to watch TV. End of mother-son moment.

A great idea, though, isn’t it? The pledge by the Council, not my collage. Recycling aluminium is 20 times more efficient than making it from the raw material, according to the article.

That backs up my husband’s claim that aluminium is as close to recycling heaven as you can get. We were arguing about if the energy expended to recycle reduces the actual benefit of recycling. He was dubious about glass - reusing is definitely the best option but how could we ever return the correct jars and wine bottles to the appropriate manufacturer to be refilled? Think of the food miles that would clock up. As for tyres and plastic cups….

One Response to “Inspired to recycle?”

  1. In Germany you can buy beer, water and fruit juice in glass and plastic bottles by the crate. Included in the price is a deposit per bottle. You take the crate home and replace your empties into it as you finish the bottles. You then take your crate full of empty bottles back to the shop, slot it into a special hole in the wall and the machine prints a receipt. When you go through the till you are credited the cost of the deposit you paid on the bottles initially. The glass bottles are clearly reused, but I’m not so sure about the plastic, so they must make it back to the manufacturer for reuse (easier when of lot of the brewers are based in the same city!). Individual bottles are also taken back for a refund in the same way. This system is helped by the fact that German companies are legally obliged to take responsibility for their packaging waste. It’s a great system (the crates are probably put on the empty delivery trucks for the return journey - no additional bottle miles!) and means that there are a lot more drinks still sold in reusable glass bottles and the mentality of paying a deposit is still the norm! I thought that it was fantastic!

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