2018 - Plastic Waste and Recycling


This topic was initially by itself. A read about the newest water samples, Feb 2018, taken in Antarctica and the plastic particles that are showing up in the Antarctica,

It was moved here together with the garbage washing ashore in Hong Kong after Typhoon Mangkhut.


This was initially in the Typhoon topic (Mangkhut) but was moved here…it is about garbage washing ashore after the Typhoon.

2018 - Hurricanes Cyclones Typhoons

Canada has started to eliminate several plastic items that end up in our oceans. Plastic straws, plastic shopping bags, have already changed to paper and multi use shopping bags. I hope this soon includes plastic water bottles. What is being done in your area to eliminate plastics that end up in our landfills / oceans?


All of our shops were forced by law to charge for non-essential plastic bags (a small charge, ÂŁ0.05, supposedly to go to charity), I think this significantly reduced the number of plastic bags handed out by many of our shops.

There was a news article today on how local authorities around the UK all seem to have differing views on what constitutes a recyclable plastic item. Some didn’t take ANY plastic, others just bottles (high value plastic).
My local authority seems to be better than most, the only plastics they will not take are cellophane wrapping, pet food packs, plant pots and black plastic food trays. Pretty much everything else can go into our household recycling bin, collected fortnightly.

Another recent one was to ban the sale of plastic stem cotton buds. Some people seemed to think it’s OK to flush these down the toilet. Back to paper stems now (which IMHO were far better anyway!)

I think there’s a drive to reduce plastic single-use bottles now, more places seem to be installing water fountains, with the ability to refill a re-usable bottle.

I hope this is only the start… too much single use plastic still out there.


I agree Helen. There are so many products we could eliminate from our daily lives. Reduce, reuse, recycle.


I was in a pharmacy one day to pick up some “cotton buds” as you call them there and I saw the store brand price was way below the name brand. Then I saw the store brand had blue plastic stems while the name brand had paper. I purchased the name brand. When we go to the store we usually carry in canvas sacks with handles. They hold so much more than the small plastics stores use, and they’re plenty stronger too.
Our state government (New York) has been mulling over the outright ban of the plastic bags, but some politicians have been against it. There’s still no ban on them, but some stores are phasing them out by offering reusable canvas bags to customers for $1US. Then each time they shop, they get a few pennies knocked off their bill. Those few pennies add up over the course of the year. When my wife and I go in for just an item or two, we always tell them don’t bother with the bag. We can just as well carry it/them out in our hand.
One area that should be looked into is the over-packaging of children’s toys (and adult things as well). Everything seems to be in “blister packs” now. Nice for display, but terrible on the environment.

Our local rubbish companies take all kinds of plastic for recycling with the exception of plastic bags and plastic film (all #2 plastic). These are taken to the grocery stores and put into a bin for recycling. (These light materials blow out of the trucks as they go down the road and litter the highways. That’s why they stopped taking them. Makes sense.)


I agree @Jim7. I find the reusable bags bigger and stronger. I have never had my groceries fall out the bottom while on the way from the car to the house!!!

Some will argue, it is only 5 cents to buy a plastic bag, but that adds up also, and you have to dispose of the plastic bag later.


Here those small plastic grocery bags don’t cost you any additional charge. That makes it hard to convince people not to accept them. :unamused:
As for the reusable canvas bags, I measured and cut 1/4-inch/6 mm hard board to size and lay that on the bottom of the bags. Keeps the bottom nice and flat as the bag is filled, and distributes the weight of the groceries across the bottom. Really helps with cans and glass jars.


The Coop reusable bags have a plastic core at the bottom. That provides the stability. They are still easily folded when not in use.

Grocery stores, Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, etc all charge for plastic bags. The usual places you would go to do your weekly errands. I see more and more people carrying the reusable bags into the store.

In liquor stores they provide foldable cardboard bottle carrying cases instead of bags. They hold 1- 6 bottles. You can reuse them, return them to the store, or put them in recycling. Locally made spirits, craft beers and ciders come in one/two litre growlers that are refillable.

A good start but more to be done.


I can remember - years ago in my “partying days” - when I bought a case of beer, they came in a heavy duty cardboard box with handle opening on both ends. You paid $10US as a deposit on the box which you got back when you returned the empties. You also got 5 cents back for each empty bottle. They didn’t charge a bottle return fee when purchased like they do now. Quart bottles netted you 10 cents for returns. Of course, these were glass bottles.

As for the foldable cardboard carrying cases, they have that here for wine and liquor. What I never tried was wine that was in plastic bags/pouch which was inside a carry box. I think I’d prefer my wine out of a bottle. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Most major wine makers have their brands in these cardboard boxes. They are 4-5 litres of wine in each box. The only time I see the benefit is when I go to the lake, or somewhere remote, and I do not have any bottles to bring home, but still bring the empty plastic pouch and box.

These are our recycling fees, but we pay the deposit when we buy the item. We have a provincial recycling system run by those with special needs.



I’m intrigued now, what do you call them on your side of the “pond”?

Our local council will accept plastic blister packaging in the recycling bins, so at least it doesn’t go to landfill. Still could be replaced with something better though…
They even take blister packs that medication is supplied in. (That’s a recent development)

A deposit scheme would be a really good idea over here. I think one was/is being looked into, but it’s meeting with some resistance from certain quarters.


Here we always call them by the brand name “Q-tips”.


Ah yes, thanks for the reminder! I do remember occasionally seeing them called that here too. Not as common to call them Q-tips here though. Probably too many generic brands about…


They’re called cotton swabs, but most people call them by that famous brand name “Q-Tips” (by Johnson & Johnson). That’s that same way tissues are usually called “Kleenex” after the major brand name.

We’ve had the bottle (& can) deposit here for quite some time, but there are a few brands of bottled water and iced tea that aren’t covered. I don’t know why. I know that the stores that take the returns get 6 cents back for handling/storing them until they’re picked up.


This is the UK equivalent… (this is also what I get by typing “Johnson and Johnson Q-tips” into a well-known search engine)

There used to be one in the UK, many years back. Not sure why it ended, but I really hope they bring it back soon.


Here’s what I get when querying “Johnson & Johnson Q-tips”.
And here’s another image.
Of course you can get them in quantities of 250 or even 500.


Yes, our council was one of them :unamused: They took out a 25 year contract :astonished: with a recycle plant who will only take the high quality/value plastics such as milk cans, toothpaste tubes, disposable razors and such. And then the council reduced the size of our general waste bins…well, I just continue to put all recyclable plastics in the recycle bin…just bury them at the bottom. And, needless to say everyone was up in arms, the council had to drop the contract and pay the penalty…which naturally we’ll have to pay for too:unamused:

I have noticed more and more that restaurants, cafes and such are reverting back to paper straws too. We seem to be reverting back what we used many years ago such as paper lollipop sticks, wooden ice cream spoons and basically all the things we had replaced with plastic in order to save the trees!


I’m not sure if our council takes these, I’ll have to check. I know they recently made a big thing of now accepting foil blister packs for tablets…

I tend to put nearly everything in except the black plastic food trays. There was a news article yesterday explaining how these are virtually invisible to the sorting mechanism (light) due to their colour, so end up in landfill anyway.
There was another article on Gardeners World last night about the amount of plastic used in horticulture. (Plant pots, seed trays, etc) Although I tend to agree that we probably do use too much plastic in gardening in the form of pots, trays, etc, I can’t see a viable alternative (yet). And wherever possible, I recycle the smaller plant pots by growing new plants in them. They very rarely go to waste in my house - at least not until they break…

I think the difference is that the wooden items biodegrade, whereas the plastic ones don’t. Wood is a renewable resource, petrochemicals aren’t. We can also manage the environment slightly better by planning tree plantation/harvesting in a responsible manner.
I just wish that I could guarantee that the plastic straws, spoons, etc would be recycled and produce another usable plastic item, rather than simply being treated as throwaway items and ending up in waste streams, and fouling the general environment.


:thinking: We have seed starting pots and trays made out of fibrous wood pulp, the same type of material some farms use for their eggs and some fast food chains use for carrying 2-4 drinks to go. Of course there’s still some companies that had switched to plastic seed pots/trays and are still using them. I like the fiber/fibre ones as they can be set directly into the ground, let the roots grow through and will break down in the soil. And then there’s the peat pots also. There’s really no reason why they still have to use plastic - other than it’s probably cheaper to manufacture and store.