Most of us recycle our plastic and tins and glass. We pop things into our blue bins and go the bottle back. That’s great. But we have limited opportunity to send soft plastics like bread bags or crisp packets etc for recycling. And, there is simply no effective solution to deal with the mass of farm plastic.
However, we do frequently consider the “R” problem simply as “Recycling” and it’s hard to think further. It’s hard to consider reducing what we use without thinking that we’re having to do without.
Hopefully 2021 will be the year where we focus on significantly reducing how and what we use and reduce what goes into landfill.
In the mean time, here’s information on what we’ve been involved in in the past and other resources.
Food and Waste
Did you know that globally, we waste 30% of the food that’s produced! And that amounts to the same greenhouse gas build up as all of the commercial flights we take. WOW! And, what about all the bread we throw out? That is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions that would be saved by planting 5.3 million trees! In the UK, we throw out 4.5 million tonnes of EDIBLE food every year. Crazy or what!?
We know that growing our own food and community growing reduces the amount of food that we waste. And, interestingly Big Hanna composting projects in schools have been proven to reduce food waste in a community by 30%.
The Highland Good Food Conversation has a Circular Economy / Food Waste project which is looking at community and school composting. Join us to get involved or simply hear more. And read more about Food Waste here at Love Food Hate Waste.
Farm Plastic Recycling
Gosh, some problems don’t half present more difficulties that others! We talked with many folks – farmers, crofters, councillors, politicians, businesses and groups and associations.
We ran surveys. We met difficulties with every potential solution. We even worked with Interface to evaluate solutions. As of now, the only solution seems to be for individuals to take plastic to the main waste disposal companies – when a journey near there is happening anyway to reduce transport costs.
However, we have hope. Pilots are being carried out in Orkney and the West Coast and conversations continue with Zero Waste Scotland and the Highland Council.
Crisp Pack Collections
Before Covid we were doing crisp packed collections in various schools and other locations around the area.
This project has of course been suspended for now, but we’ll be moving on with the Teracycle collections as soon as we can.
Look out for the project re-starting.
(Of course, the best way to deal with this problem is to – eat – less – crisps – but apparently sales of crisps have soared during Covid.. along with Teddy Bears and Polytunnels 😉
Last year we ran a wee campaign to support Plastic Free July, and we’ll be joining the campaign each year. In 2020, we focussed on a different room in the house each week, looking at how to reduce plastic in the kitchen, bathroom, general living space, and the kids rooms and stuff. Our plans for 2021 are yet to be discussed, so please do join us and share your ideas.
Small Electrical Recycling
Look our for these pink bins around the area: Bonar Bridge, Dornoch, Golspie and further afield including Fortrose and Muir of Ordand many more.
All small electricals can be popped in there from old phones to laptops to old computer gaming machines and toaster and kettles!
Spring is a great time for a clear out, so why not gather things up and pop them into the pink bins. Everything is carefully stripped down into component parts for safe recycling. You can read more about the project, bin locations and what you can put in them here.
The household batteries deposited at the recycling centres are collected as part of our wider Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment contract with REPIC by G&P Batteries. The link to the website explains how they are handled. http://www.g-pbatt.co.uk/
Larger Lead Acid batteries are sold to local scrap merchants for recycling.
Zero Waste Scotland have a useful guide regarding household batteries. It is expected that batteries collected at retailers are handled the same way as they are covered by the same WEEE legislation.
It is really important to ensure that batteries do not go into the normal kerbside collections. There have been several vehicle fires caused by batteries igniting flammable materials in the waste/recycling and causing significant damage.
Ocean and Beach Plastic
Plastic at Bay in Durness have been working extremely hard to develop solutions for all the ocean and beach plastic waste. Not only do they convert ocean plastic to beautiful artwork, but the two Geoscientists who run the company and constantly working on new solutions and interventions.
Community Resources Network Scotland
We are delighted to be members of the fab CRNS group (Community Resources Network Scotland). They’re on line annual conference was excellent with a fantastic key note talk and then talks on many topics including the upcoming re-manufacturing industry (in this case on wind turbines), and also spotlights on member’s work.
You can watch the event recordings here – CRNS Conference Recording and you can read more about the conference here – CRNS Conference.
The CRNS conference in 2020 was truly amazing – both in content and, with some genius tech, they created the most realistic realy conference on line with networking chat, business stalls, break out rooms and presentations.
If you watch nothing else from this, please do watch the Keynote talk from Doug Allan – an amazing insight into the life of this brilliant Scottish Wildlife Photographer, and of course his thoughts on climate change and the problems we are facing. Watch the CRNS Doug Allan talk here (about 13 mins in).
Want to do more and learn more about Reduce – Refuse – Reuse – Recycle? Join us here and help build up the projects and plans for our 2021 RRRR focus.