National Recycle Week
National Recycling Week: 21st - 27th September
In case you haven’t noticed, we’re pretty vocal about the importance of recycling, and that’s why we thought it would be downright rude not to do a little bit of a shout about the fact that it’s National Recycle Week.
Recycle Week is a whole week dedicated to celebrating the wonderful world of recycling. (The clue is in the title if you think about it hard enough.) This year, 17 years after the first National Recycle Week was launched, the initiative is focusing on recognising the efforts made by keyworkers and households, to continue with their recycling activities throughout this turbulent year.
Huge household names have signed up as major donors, with Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Waitrose and Aldi all included on the list of consumer giants raising awareness. As in previous years, there is a handy downloadable resource pack provided by the organisers at Wrap and there are numerous options available to you if you’re keen to jump on-board the Recycling Week train. These include:
- Using the #RecycleWeek hashtag across your social media platforms
- Following @recyclenow_uk (Instagram) and @recycle_now (Twitter)
- Searching “Recycle Now” and following their pages on Facebook and YouTube
- Signing up for the Recycle Week 2020 e-Newsletter
- Engaging with your favourite brands’ Recycle Week content across their social platforms
For us, recycling is more than just a week. It’s an everyday, ongoing commitment to doing better for the planet we’re on. This being said, we thought we’d have a look at some of the big sponsors of the event, to see if they’re practicing what they preach when it comes to recycling eutopia.
Let’s start with Sainsbury’s efforts when it comes to their clothing retail. All of their clothes hangers are made from 100% recyclable material and last year they recycled a whopping 300 tonnes of them! Also available for the purpose of textile recycling are the 340 Sainsbury’s sites which house Oxfam textile banks – or the big green recycling tankers, as we’d probably refer to them. They’ve also completely removed all plastic sleeves from their clothing packaging, saving 1,000 tonnes of plastic per year.
Sainsbury’s also has huge plans to reduce its plastic usage by 50% by 2025. They were the first retailer to offer a recyclable alternative in their own-brand ready meal range, as a replacement to plastic trays, saving over 1,000 tonnes of plastic each year. In addition to this, they’ve also done away with the plastic in cotton buds, plastic cups and cutlery from their offices, and they will be actively encouraging customers to use their own reusable containers at their meat and deli counters.
Waitrose proudly boasts that over 80% of its packaging is widely recyclable and they spend in excess of £1million per year helping to recycle consumer packaging. In 2018, the high-end supermarket chain announced that it would be cutting ties with the disposable coffee cup and encouraging its coffee loyalty scheme customers to claim their free cup using their own reusable flasks instead.
Waitrose also reported to have reduced their packaging by almost 45% between 2009 and 2016. This has included removing plastic wrapping from tins, trialling packaging-free shopping in some of its stores and introducing the use of home-compostable food trays for ready meals.
Aldi have made some small changes to their packaging on everyday products, which has equated to huge reductions in their usage of single-use plastic. This is particularly true for their baby and hygiene products, where they have saved 131 tonnes of plastic packaging from their Mama nappies range and have removed all plastic lids from their baby wipes, saving 535 tonnes of plastic per year. Additionally, Aldi were one of the first supermarkets to remove the plastic applicators from their own-brand tampons, wiping out a further 14 tonnes of plastic annually.
In fact, Aldi are so proud of the steps they’re taking to reduce plastic consumption and increase the recyclability of their packaging that they even have labels on their products to show where new packaging initiatives have taken place. By 2022, the supermarket hopes that all own-brand packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable and they hope to expand this to their whole product range by 2025.
Mercorr Connect enables users to manage their waste daily in the most sustainable way possible.
Online shopping extraordinaire, Ocado, appear to have gone above and beyond when it comes to getting rid of plastic bag problems. When most supermarkets got rid of single-use bags or brought in a 5p bag charge, Ocado had already been a good few years into its own fight to reduce the use the cupboard-clogging clutter. These guys don’t just charge for bags, they actually buy them back from you by collecting them when they deliver your food and refunding you the cost of them. They call this the Bag Recycle Bonus.
Thinking outside the box – because reducing packaging is great and all that, but what else can be done(?) – Ocado donated more than £200,000 to recycling and litter-picking projects in 2018 and also donated 55 tonnes of uniforms to prison service workshops for recycling. We don’t want to sound like we’ve got a favourite here, but Ocado are doing some pretty cool stuff to play their part.
Last but not least, we have the super-expensive but ever-convenient Co-op. Just like Aldi, Co-op seem to be making lots of little changes to make a big impact. From making milk bottle tops one shade lighter (something to do with making the sorting process easier?), to swapping polystyrene pizza trays for cardboard, all the actions taken seem to be working towards the chain’s bid to remove any plastic that is not designed to be recycled or reused, by 2023.
As a further effort to reduce plastic, Co-op have also replaced single-use polythene carrier bags in over 1,000 stores, switching to their new, green, compostable bags. They’ve even changed their mushroom packaging, leaving behind the use of black plastic, which is apparently less easy to recycle.
For us, recycling is more than just a week. It’s an everyday, ongoing commitment to doing better for the planet we’re on.
All in all, it would seem that those who support National Recycle Week are pulling their weight when it comes to doing what they’re encouraging the rest of us to do. Most of the retailers actually mention Wrap in their websites’ recycling or packaging sections and all seem very committed to effectively communicating their recycling efforts.
If you or your business are keen to ensure that you’re doing your bit to recycle for more than just a week, why not have a look at how our Mercorr Connect platform could help you to effectively manage your waste.
The big retailers are making changes; are you?