Pictured above is my rubbish for the last 2 and a half years.. Everything that cannot be composted or (continually) recycled goes in here. Partly as a record of the waste problems we are yet to solve, but also to keep this stuff out of landfill or worse, the ocean. Small, light bits of plastic are the most problematic items for wildlife because they float on water and can be mistaken for food.
The jar is getting pretty full now after 2 and a half years, especially since there have been more frequent waste 'incidents' since I've been living in London.
Some of the most annoying bits of waste taking up space in my jar:
- Tea bags. Fancy 'pyramid' mesh teabags may look slick and futuristic, but the synthetic material they are made from (probably nylon) will not biodegrade, and also locks in the used tea leaves, meaning that this organic matter may end up in landfill where it could produce methane instead of decomposing into useful compost. The alternative: traditional paper fibre teabags, or better yet, loose leaf tea.
- Gluey plastic stickers. Many fruit stickers are made out of a thin plastic film with a solvent based glue, and while these are very small, over time they add up! They are also a likely culprit for broken down floating ocean plastic. The alternative: Paper with water soluble or starch glue.
- Medication blister packs. Here in the UK nearly all pills are provided individually packed in plastic and foil blister packs. These are too much hassle to recycle due to the combination of materials. The alternative: Returnable or recyclable glass pill bottles.
Frustratingly, many of these things are totally unnecessary and could be eliminated with simple substitutions by companies and manufacturers.