I believe that recycling plastic bottles is a good practice to get into. Worth considering is many people have switched to long-lasting metal or glass bottles to avoid using plastic as much as possible. However, if you have some lying around or will have some emptying out soon, there are a few gardening projects that I think might be worth keeping them for!
Recycling in the UK
I was amazed to discover that the average person in the UK throws away around 7 times their body weight in waste each year.
Of the 26 million tonnes of waste produced in the UK, approximately 12 million tonnes are recycled and the rest are sent to landfill. I found that this doesn’t compare well with the leading recycling countries Germany, Austria, and South Korea. To clarify, these countries recycle between 60 and 70% of their annual waste. So we have a little catching up to do.
On the bright side, it was good to see that the UK is on track to exceed its recycling rate target of 50%. In 2020, the UK reached 44%, with the goal of reaching 50% by 2022. The numbers for 2022, are not yet available. But, I suggest that everyone can always do a little more to help the environment.
How to prepare your recycled plastic
I always recommend that you wash your plastic containers out with hot, soapy water. This will ensure that any liquid residue other than water is removed.
You could clean it with a very diluted bleach solution. But I would be cautious doing this, as you need to ensure any traces of bleach are completely gone before using it for gardening purposes.
When you have finished washing them up, then allow the container to air-dry completely after it has been washed and sanitized. For example, I usually leave them for 3 hours or so.
Make sure you remove any labels if you can. I find that hot, soapy water can be very helpful in getting rid of any stubborn labels or glue. I put this waste into the bin and don’t let it go down the plug hole. Otherwise, you might end up with a blocked sink down the line.
Keep the lids if they have one! They might come in handy for some of your other recycling projects.
Did you know:
If you don’t clean out your plastic containers before recycling them, they can’t be recycled! Leftover food residue can contaminate other recyclables, which could make your whole recycling bin no use for recycling plants.
See the blogs below to find some fun gardening projects using your recycled plastic that might save you a little money, and get gardening more!
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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