Plastic recycling in tech. These are not exactly two terms you would normally see together. Most tech seem to ignore the fact they produce a lot of plastic. Not only that but you do not see them investing in recycling as a compliment to their activities. When they do it seems to be leftovers as a way to gain concessions?
We looked into the current state of plastic tech recycling in the U.K.
Plastic Recycling Education
Generalising, the population is not aware of what is recyclable and what is not. There are of course some out there who officiously check each waste item and place in the correct recycling chain for processing. But, who actually knows what can be recycled and what cannot?
There is one main reason for this too. The country does not have a standard of recycling. Currently the U.K. recycling scene is divided into separate council schemes. You can travel less than ten miles from one town to the next and the scheme will be different.
Also, the U.K. has not reached the targets set out to be met by 2020. We are already in 2020 and our recycling policy is pretty much a chaotic mess.
Previously, the old standard was to not really care about how much plastic is produced, thus send it in bulk to China on a regular basis. In 2017 China announced a ban on millions of tons of recycling waste imports from around the world.
Obviously this has left us a with a big mess to clear up, literally.
This is where tech needs to step in and come up with a few innovations. So,what is available currently?
Unfortunately, very little. You can get a small payment for donating old clothes and shoes from we just recycle. This is good but not country-wide. It is also a ‘for profit’ company. It is also for a small amount of recyclables and not the biggest issue; plastic.
Reverse Vending Machines
Are these vendors the light at the end of the recycling tunnel?
These machines automate the collection and recycling of used beverage containers. They are nothing new either. There are over 100,000 of these machines installed across the planet. They can be set up to reward those who take their used containers for recycling. Fantastic right?
Some seem to think otherwise unfortunately. The British Retail Consortium opposed a deposit return scheme back in 2018. Although this is a not for profit organisation, it is backed by some very powerful players.
Point of note here. Since 2011 our level of recycling has actually flat-lined, this is shown in this graph from statista.
Enter the government
So, to give you an idea on what the government has been up to in combating this issue we have included a few useful links below for your perusal:
Obviously, there are many more companies out there involved in recycling. If you come across any more gadget related recycling information, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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