Plastic - no longer someone else’s problem

China’s recent halt on importing plastics for recycling in Autumn 2017 has already made Councils throughout the UK uneasy as waste begins to build. The UK are looking at other markets such as Vietnam to send our waste, but it is unlikely that there will be another market that could receive the immense volume of plastics that Hong Kong and China have used too. The UK alone has shipped 2.7 million tonnes since 2012, this is around two thirds of all plastic waste.   


It is no doubt Manchester, with over 500,000 residents and commuters, contributes a large percentage of the UK’s plastic waste. So now it is no longer someone else’s problem, is now the time we be looking into our own ways. Could we reuse, reduce and recycle to help curb this crisis?


Coffee cups seems to be hitting the news a lot these past 12 months and it is not surprising as it is estimated that 5,000 cups are thrown away per minute. You might be wondering why this disposable coffee cups are a problem, after all they are paper so they biodegrade right? Sadly this is not the case as there is a deceiving sheet of virgin plastic lining the inside which is very hard and costly to separate.


Environmental charity Hubbub based in London trailed the coffee cup bins from October 2015 to February 2016 in which they collected a whopping 30,000 disposable cups. This was part of their #1MoreShot campaign where they recycled the coffee cups collected into a variety of useful garden creations such as plant pots. Could innovative ideas such as this one may be the key to fighting the war on plastic waste?


Reducing the amount of waste produced in the first place is always the best start and when it comes to coffee, many leading chains and independent shops offer discount for using reusable cups, which is a key incentive. KeepCup have a range of cups on offer for coffee connaisseurs and locally, the Real Junk Food Project Manchester have now launched their own too!


The UK government have recently announced that there should be a levy of 25p on disposable coffee cups to encourage consumers to start using reusables. With the success of the 5p charge on plastic bags, this seems like a very effective way of creating change in consumer habits.


So Manchester, lets really get down to reducing and reusing in 2018 and start a positive trend to lower plastic waste. It really isn’t someone else’s problem anymore.


To find out more about Hubbub’s #1MoreShot campaign and useful tips to reduce waste of all kinds read here and watch their video below.