Unilever encouraging tea bag recycling

May 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Unilever, the world’s largest tea company, has recently got together with two councils in Essex to collaborate on a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging more tea drinkers to recycle their tea bags rather than sending them to landfill.

Brentwood Borough Council, Chelmsford Council and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) have all joined up with Unilever to promote the new campaign, which features the famous monkey from one of Unilever’s biggest brands, PG Tips.

96% of all tea in Britain is brewed using a tea bag. That is a lot of tea bags, and despite the fact that they can easily be used as compost, WRAP estimates the amount of tea bags going to landfill at 370,000 tonnes each year.

The campaign is encouraging more people to dispose of their tea bags in their kerbside food waste collections rather than in their standard waste.

Unilever has stated that it wants to reduce the amount of waste that it sends to landfill by 50% over the next eight years. As part of its own waste reduction targets, Paul Sherratt at Unilever said that the company wants to “encourage consumers to recycle wherever they can”. He also said that putting tea bags into the food waste is a “small habit change that everyone can adopt”.

Even if you do not have a food waste collection facility provided by your council, it is still easy to put tea bags and other food waste into a compost bin to prevent it being sent to landfill. If you have a small outside space you can install a small compost bin and this is one of the easiest ways to do your part for the environment with very little effort.

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Bath recycles more than half its waste

May 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm

For the first time since its existence as a district in 1996, Bath has recycled more than half its waste, earning itself the title of the district with the largest annual rise in recycling.

New research shows that in the last year Bath and North East Somerset recycled 52% of household waste – an increase of 46% from last year’s figures. Statistics show that due to the increase of recycling, 14,000 tonnes of household waste have been cut from the overall amount dumped at land fill sites. This is a significant environmentally friendly landmark for Bath as the area has gone from a 12% recycling rate in 1996 to 52% in 2012.

The success has been attributed to a number of factors, namely the doorstep food waste collection scheme which began in October 2010. Councillor David Dixon (Lib-Dem, Oldfield), Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods comments that “The council’s investment in providing food waste collections is a key factor behind this latest success. We are pleased with the high participation rate and welcome people’s enthusiasm for the service.” The achievement also comes following initiatives which have increased the number of kerbside collection services for varying recyclable goods, and in the midst of a newly built waste treatment plant.

The effects of recycling have been positive for Bath. The food collection scheme has meant that last year 4,300 tonnes of food waste was used as composting rather than deposited at land fill sites. The results haven’t just been green. Due to the reduction of land fill waste, £118,000 has been saved on land fill tax, releasing a large capital sum for Bath council to distribute elsewhere. Councillor Dixon stressed this by saying: “Not only does the level of harmful gases released into the atmosphere reduce, but the council’s landfill tax charge bill is cut, meaning more money is available to protect frontline services.”

Despite Bath’s recent recycling success, 30,000 homes are still not participating in the move to ‘go green’. The council is urging these households to take part in the scheme to both help the environment and save precious budget.

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Size doesn’t matter, we can all do our bit

May 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm

With the growing concern for the environment over recent years and the ever increasing trend of ‘going green’, recycling has been brought to the forefront of our minds with questions of how we, as individuals, can do ‘our bit’ to help the cause. As with many topical issues being faced by the world today, the small amount of help that we can give, seems futile and more for our own peace of mind than for the causes themselves.

But in fact, this isn’t the case at all when it comes to caring for the environment. When will we start to believe environmental organisations begging us to work together as a team to save our planet, starting by merely separating the waste in our homes? After all, was it not each and every one of us that got us into this mess in the first place?

But, of course, being the humans that we are, we need moral support and constant praise for the help that we are providing. It often seems that unless we raise millions of pounds or recycle half of Hackney, nobody bats an eyelid. Well, all this is starting to change as we see the face of small efforts being nationally recognised.

In the small town of Newmarket in Suffolk, due to rising costs and government cuts, the recycling centre was recently in danger of being closed down. The community itself showed its strengths in preserving the environment by proclaiming that the people would rather pay a small amount to recycle than see the centre closed.

In response to this, a charity named Newmarket Open Door, renowned mostly for its work with rehousing young people in need, decided to save the centre in late August by taking it over. They are charging as little as £3 to dispose of waste difficult to get rid of and nothing for profitable recyclable goods. Anything deemed as reusable is now sold in their charity supermarket in Mildenhall, to raise funds for the causes they facilitate. In addition to this, they have also introduced a number of recycling based initiatives such as waste paper drop-off points at local churches.

Let’s Recycle has introduced a new category in their national ‘Awards for Excellence’ to recognise community achievements such as these across the nation – ‘The Best Community Recycling Initiative’. Open Door has been nominated for this award, winners of which, will be announced this evening by Channel 4’s John Snow.

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