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RECYCLING PLASTIC - WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE? A STRAW POLL

pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,927
I am becoming increasingly bamboozled by retailers and manufacturers who seem to be trying to look good in the eyes of the eco-friendly shopper while doing very little in reality.

My latest head-scratcher was when I went to get some Carex handwash from the supermarket.

I had two empty bottles of Carex handwash at home. The type with a dispenser on the top of the bottle. The bottles are made of plastic type 01, which can be recycled in my area.

On the shelves of the supermarket, I saw more of the same.

I also saw a plastic bag refill with enough in it to refill both my old bottles. It said that if I bought it I would be doing the planet a favour because I would be using less plastic. Sounds good, no? So I bought it and refilled my two bottles. But then I looked at the bag. 

In our area we can recycle plastic but only 01, 02, 03 and 05.

The bag was made out of plastic 07.

I wrote an email to Carex and asked which, in their professional opinion, was the more eco friendly; two bottles made of recyclable plastic or a bag made of less plastic that would have to either be incinerated or put into landfill?

Here is their reply



Thanks very much for your email below. This has been forwarded to me as the person on the PZ Cussons leadership team who leads our sustainability programme, including our approach to plastic.

Your experience is a great example of how complex this whole area can be, with different recycling rules and practices in operation, often in neighbouring towns or streets. 

Our move into refill pouches is part of our Plastic Promise, our commitment to take out at least 25% of the Plastic which we use and ensure that any which remains is recyclable, reusable or compostable. Allowing and encouraging consumers to reuse their Carex bottles multiple times is one obvious step in the right direction but we were faced with a problem: when we first launched the refills, the technology was not available to produce a refill which would be routinely recycled in all parts of the country. So the choice for us was the same one which you faced: dramatically reduce plastic use and consumption (in the form of far fewer bottles which can be refilled and have a much longer useful life) but accept that the refill packaging couldn’t be recycled. Or prioritise recycling but accept that bottles would generally be single-life. We chose the former because reducing plastic is the greatest positive change which we can make. But I accept that it is a far from perfect scenario.

....The good news is that we have been working on producing the very first recyclable refill pouch, so that neither of us have to make that difficult choice and we can both reduce plastic and ensure 100% recyclability. I hope we will be able to launch this new version shortly and please watch out for it.

In the meantime,I am sorry that it is not simpler and that anything you do seems to involve compromises and disappointment. We really are trying to do better and to do our part to reduce plastic pollution.

I hope that’s helpful but do come back to me if you have any other questions and thanks again for getting in touch with us. We do appreciate the feedback and take it into account when creating our plans.


My question now is, on what basis did they choose the 07 option? Hands up anyone who can recycle plastic with an 07 number.
Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 21,133
    That's a very good and comprehensive reply from Carex.

    Over here, plastic doesn't have numbers that I've noticed so I have to read the label to see how much is recycled/recyclable or made from plant cellulose and can be composted.  All packaging - except cardboard and paper -  goes in the recycling bag and has done for over a year now.  I thought it was all going off to be sorted and recycled appropriately but it seems that France is one of the greatest exporters of plastic waste to 3rd world countries so now I sort it myself.   I've seen footage of Asian sites blighted by piles of plastic and all the waste oozing out.  I've seen the kind of plastic that ends up in oceans and being eaten by wildlife.

    I've stopped buying cling film and plastic food bags and now use tupperwares or pyrex dishes with plastic lids for storing food.   I try and buy loose veggies to reduce shrink wrap but can't yet avoid it on meat and cheese and bird food.   I only buy cat food in metal tins, not sachets or foil.   Any wrapping I think may end up in pile or in the sea goes in the general rubbish bin for landfill.

    We haven't had plastic bags for grocery shopping for well over a decade in Belgium and here in France they don't even give them out in fabric shops any more.   Have to take your own.   Clothes shops do paper bags.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,927
    edited 14 January
    It is a comprehensive reply from Carex, but I am still at a loss as to know why, if their aim is 

    “ to take out at least 25% of the Plastic which we use and ensure that any which remains is recyclable, reusable or compostable” 

    they chose to make the new, alternative to a recyclable bottle a non recyclable bag.

    🤪

    If they didn’t have another plastic option, say 04, then why didn’t they just carry on making recyclable bottles? 

    Bonkers. I hear the sound of bandwagon jumping, not the greening of the planet.




    P.S. in France you don’t have those little triangles on products?



    I never saw one until we joined what was then the EEC.  I thought it was something that was Europe-wide. All water under the bridge now, of course....
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • I use the Carex pouches to refill the bottles, and am pleased that, hopefully before too long, those pouches themselves will be recyclable.  I also use some of the Carex bottles for decanting shampoo and conditioner (carefully labelled to avoid confusion!).  The dispenser means that far less product is used, which is economical as well as environmentally better,  A lot of detergent-based items are simply added to the waste water system and the lower the use, the better I think.
    Pet food pouches are recyclable (though not at the kerbside).  They can be deposited at various collection points around the country or can be sent to a recycling centre (TerraCycle work with Mars Petcare for this) .  Easy to find exact details on Google.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,927
    Can you currently recycle 07 plastic, Shrinking Violet? I doubt it.

    I have yet to find one local authority which accepts it, which I why I am so confused about Carex’s choice of it.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,157
    I changed to using bar soap years ago to avoid plastic and I've now convinced my wife to do the same.

    Things that annoy me though are products like Detol spray where the bottle is recycleable but the spray head isn't due to the mix of materials. Why don't they just sell the bottle with a normal cap and let you keep reusing the head? Instead they take the Carex option and give you a bag of refill. Not a bag of concentrated refill that will do several bottles but just one. I started using Zoflora concentrate to refill the bottles even though I hate the artifical smells they add.

    I also buy fabric conditioner and washing up liquid in 15L bag-in-a-box packages and keep refilling our old bottles. The hardest bit to recycle is the bag again. Less plastic but not no plastic.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 5,636
    If I can't recycle toothpaste tubes I'm pretty sure I can't recycle 07 Plastics - it doesn't specifically say on the council website.
    As you say Pansy - it's all bonkers and the cynic in me agrees with you it's more about selling the product than genuinely trying to go green.

    The greenest option is almost certainly an in store dispenser from which you refill your old bottle but that system only seems to be used by farm and some health food / alternative life style shops.

    Surely the next best option is to use something like a Tetra pak carton to house the refill liquid? Reasonably stackable, not as heavy as glass, widely recyclable and they don't have to have any hard plastic bits on them (think Covent Garden soup cartons). I'm sure there are drawbacks with Tetra Pak but they can't be as great as 07 Plastics.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,927
    edited 14 January
    Does your local authority allow you to recycle 07 plastic, wild edges?


    Re the reusable spray head fiasco, take a look at this little example, which I posted on a different thread a few days ago.....


    Here’s another mind-numbing bit of marketing.

    OK, we all know the plastic spray bottles that contain household cleaning liquids. And recently, manufacturers have been jumping on the old bandwagon and offering us squishy plastic refill bags that we can take home and, with a shiny halo but a heck of a mess on the worktop that takes a couple of gallons of water to wash off, help save the planet from yet more plastic by refilling the original old hard plastic spray bottle.

    So yesterday I was interested to see that Cif have added a third way to be eco friendly. You can still buy the original spray bottle, you can buy a squishy plastic bag with a refill, or you can buy a decapitated hard plastic bottle that asks you to remove the spray head from the old bottle and screw it onto the decapitated one.

    How much plastic in the original?
    How much plastic saved by screwing the old spray head onto the new bottle?
    How much plastic saved by buying a squishy plastic bag and refilling the original bottle?

    How much monetary incentive would make you “think green”?

    Here’s your choice. Forgetting (or not) for moment that the decapitated bottle is temporarily on a special offer, look at the price per 100ml and consider the following options...


    The squishy plastic bag option...






    The original spray bottle option.............................The decapitated bottle option



    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,157
    pansyface said:
    Does your local authority allow you to recycle 07 plastic, wild edges?
    They direct me to a third party drop-off location for it but it isn't very local. https://www.terracycle.com/en-GB/brigades/home-care-uk


  • steveTusteveTu Posts: 507
    edited 14 January
    I thought this was mentioned on the other thread where the Cif issue was raised. The CIF refill is a concentrate - https://www.cifclean.co.uk/products/catalog/cif-ecorefill-power-&-shine-bathroom-cleaner-spray-70ml.html  - so you're paying £2+ for a refill that makes up in effect 700ml rather than the 70ml in the container. Still not a great saving - but it is in bottle size.
    My problem is still though that it makes no real difference - if all plastic was recyclable then what's the difference/harm? So in CIFs case, they only real saving is still their end as I would guess making a spray and a bigger bottle costs THEM more. Does a recycling centre really care it's recycling a 70ml bottle rather than a 700ml?
    OK you still get the idiots who just dump their water bottles - but I'd guess they're the same people who eat fast food and just throw the empty packaging out of the car window (see that more often in car parks, where they've obviously had a family meal and just left the containers on the floor and driven off)...or chew gum and just drop it...or smoke and just throw the fag ends on the floor..or drink cans of beer and ...
    Surely the issue isn't in the product it's in the manufacture of non-recyclable stuff and in the idiots who think the world was meant to tidy up after them and cant be arsed to dispose of stuff properly anyway.


    UK - South Coast Retirement Campus (East)
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,927
    Thank you for that, wild edges. I had never heard of Terracycle.

    I tried to find a Terracycle location near me, both from your link and by going to their own website, but the map refused to work in both cases. 

    Although I was unable to find out where I might be able to recycle my Carex refill bags, until Terracycle get their map in order, I did notice that for each and every bit of “difficult” plastic you have to check with them where you can take it. In other words, not all of their sites recycle all of the products that they say they can recycle. Crisp packets in one place, laundry bottles in another.

    Once more, it is all so cack-handed and difficult to use.

    Once more, it seems to me that the makers of rubbish are leaving the recycling of their rubbish to public spirited, extremely patient, and determined to do the right thing no matter how many obstacles are thrown in their way, individuals.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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