Global Recycling Day | Wales rolls out fishing gear recycling scheme

#RecyclingHeroes 2022

Global Recycling Day takes place annually on 18th March and this year it is inviting nominations for #RecyclingHeroes 2022; people, places, businesses and activities that have continued to support the recycling effort during the pandemic. 

Ten winners will be chosen from across the globe and each one will be awarded a prize of US $1,000.

Ranjit Baxi, Founding President of the Global Recycling Foundation commented: “We want to recognise Recycling Heroes for their outstanding contributions during these unprecedented times.

“Nominations are invited from individuals, communities and businesses who have continued to make significant impact towards recycling in the last 12 months and whose efforts will contribute towards a greener future of our world”.

Recycling is an integral part of the climate change cycle and helps in promoting and protecting global sustainability.  Recycling is projected to save over a billion tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2030.


Wales rolls out fishing gear recycling scheme

Wales is taking action against marine litter as it becomes the first UK nation to introduce a recycling scheme for fishing gear.

The first collection, which took place today on Global Recycling Day (March 18), has proved a huge success, with some three tonnes of fishing gear collected for recycling from seven harbours around Wales.

The new scheme will help to bolster Wales’ recycling credentials –Wales has the best household waste recycling record in the UK and the third best in the world.

Recycling bins for used fishing gear have been placed at Swansea, Milford Haven, Fishguard, Cardigan, Conwy, Anglesey and Holyhead harbours. They were filled to the brim with fishing nets, ropes and buoys, which could otherwise have ended up in the sea or in landfill.

They will instead be shredded and turned into pellets, before being re-used in kayaks, bodyboards or in street furniture.

Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “Schemes like this show that through collaboration, innovation and action, we can come up with practical solutions that will ensure we leave our seas in a better state for our future generations.

With a Team Wales effort we can create a real circular economy where we recycle and reuse, strengthening our supply chains and protecting the planet. World events show us just how urgent this is.

Sadly, reports show that if we carry on as we are, we may have more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050.

“We will not shy away from the challenges ahead. Since devolution, we have worked incredibly hard to turn around our recycling record, from being one of the world’s worst to one of the best.

“With a Team Wales effort we can create a real circular economy where we recycle and reuse, strengthening our supply chains and protecting the planet. World events show us just how urgent this is.”

The Welsh Government is working with Odyssey Innovation Ltd, creators of the Net Regeneration Scheme and collectors of the marine refuse, as well as partners in the fishing industry, Surfers against Sewage and Keep Wales Tidy to create the scheme.

Fishing gear is estimated to make up to 20% of all litter found in our seas. In Wales, fishing lines and ropes were the third most commonly found item in last year’s Great British Beach Clean survey. Fishing gear accounted for 14% of litter found on Wales’ beaches.

Abandoned and littered fishing gear can harm marine life and increase the risk of micro plastics ending up in our food chain.

The UN has predicted the amount of plastic in our oceans will treble in the next 20 years, in large part due to a lack of recycling infrastructure. Offering solutions for end-of-life fishing gear will reduce the risk of littering and reduce the potential for damage to the marine environment.


‘The Dirty Dozen’ – The 12 everyday items tripping up the nation’s recycling efforts

New research from sustainable packaging company DS Smith reveals that despite their best intentions, over a third (36%) of people in the UK don’t believe that their recycling efforts have an impact the environment.

The company, which recycles up to a third of all paper in the UK, found that that almost half (48%) of consumers don’t think that packaging in the UK is easily recyclable, with two thirds (67%) saying that there is a lot of conflicting advice on recycling and a similar number (60%) saying that the disposal instructions on items are hard to find.

Analysis from Kemsley mill, the largest mill for recycled paper in the UK, has revealed its ‘Dirty Dozen’ – the top 12 items that are harder to recycle when put into mixed or paper recycling streams.

While many people are doing their best to recycle commonly used items, the problem starts way before then in how a product is made

According to the research, conducted in partnership with YouGov, the most common Dirty Dozen items put in the recycling bin are junk mail (72%), food trays (38%) and pulp fruit trays (28%) – with soup cartons (21%) and crisp tubes (18%) also making an appearance.

Rogier Gerritsen, Managing Director at DS Smith Recycling said: “While many people are doing their best to recycle commonly used items, the problem starts way before then in how a product is made. Our Circular Design Principles ensure that recyclability is built in at the start of the process, not at the end.

“By designing packaging which reduces the number of different components used and contains labelling that is easier for customers to understand, we increase the quality of the recyclable products and reduce the current volume of materials that are rejected. We are working with our customers and others in the industry to help achieve this so that we can create a truly circular economy.”

Unveiled today, the full ‘Dirty Dozen’ are the top 12 items that are cause for concern when put into recycling streams and the reasons why:




Junk Mail

Plastic windows and the glue on junk mail create problems for mills as they are difficult to recycle.


Food trays

Cardboard food trays that you can put straight in the oven often contain lamination which makes them difficult to break down in the paper making process.

They are also often contaminated with food, which is not permitted for recycling.


Pulp fruit trays (e.g. Apple trays)

Pulp trays often contain low-quality weak fibres which means that they are not strong enough to be made into other paper packaging products.


Food cartons (e.g. soup)

The plastic layer which coats cardboard is difficult to break down and clings to the cardboard, reducing its ability to be recycled


Crisp Tubes

Crisp tubes, otherwise known as composite packaging, contain over 50% of non-paper materials which are unable to be recycled at paper mills.


Glittery gift wrap and greetings cards

While Christmas may be behind us, any gift wrap and cards which are wrapped in plastic or contain glitter or metal can cause damage to recycling machinery.


Padded envelopes

The high volume of plastic which features in padded envelopes makes it difficult to separate the cardboard and plastic elements.


Sandwich wrappers

The plastic lamination on sandwich packaging (up to 20% of the wrapper) makes it difficult to separate the cardboard and plastic elements. Food contamination also means the quality of the recyclable materials is lessened.


Insulated food delivery packaging

While it may preserve your food, the waterproof fibre packaging takes longer to break down. They also contain plastic thermal layers which causes contamination issues at the mills.


Coffee bags / pouches

The metal coatings on coffee bags can break into glitter-like parts which causes contamination in finished paper.


Wax / silicone papers

(e.g. Butter wrappers)

The wax and silicone coatings make it difficult for paper machines to access the recyclable fibres and the ones which are retrieved are often low quality as a result.


Fast food soft drink cups

Fast food drinks cups can often be double laminated making it even more difficult for this to be broken down and the recyclable fibres to be retrieved.

The environmental cost of contamination

Plastic and other contamination can cause significant challenges at paper mills, adding additional costs and waste into paper making. There is also a significant environmental impact, with large volumes of plastic ending up in paper recycling streams – in 2021 alone, the equivalent of 391 million bin bags of plastic contamination was collected at Kemsley Mill which can end up being burnt or landfilled if other recycling options cannot be found.

To help improve the quality of recycling in the UK, 50% of consumers said they would like to see clearer labelling on products in stores, one in two (49%) would like more fibre-based (cardboard/ paper) packaging options on supermarket shelves and 40% would rather use multiple bins for different types of rubbish if it meant that more of their items could be recycled.

A more sustainable solution

DS Smith is working with the packaging supply chain, from policy makers and Local Authorities and brands, to provide a range of solutions to tackle the issue of hard to recycle packaging products.

To date it has removed 170 million problem plastics from supermarket shelves, online retailers, and industry through the creation of 1,000 wholly recyclable fibre-based packaging solutions – covering everything from wine boxes and ready-meal trays to shrink wrap and fresh fruit punnets. DS Smith’s R&D team is also exploring barrier technology development and innovation to replace packaging solutions and applications that contain hard-to-recycle plastics.


Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust steps up waste and recycling activities

This year’s Global Recycling Day will celebrate the “recycling fraternity”, those who put themselves on the frontline to collect waste and recycling during the multiple lockdowns.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) is committed to reducing waste, increasing the amount they recycle, and educating their teams on sustainability issues, which will have significant health benefits for the patients and the communities they serve.

The Trust has set a target of becoming one of the greenest NHS Trusts in the UK, and despite the pressures faced by the pandemic, has stepped up their waste and recycling activities. As part of Global Recycling Day, the Waste Team will be providing 1,000 cardboard recycling boxes, for use in staff rooms and non-clinical areas to encourage more staff to recycle their waste.

Waste management plays a significant role in the Trust meeting its sustainability targets and for the past five years, the Trust has stopped sending waste to landfills and converted it into energy.

In addition to the waste and recycling initiatives, we are investing over £20 million in energy saving projects…

In 2021 they entered into a new partnership with Veolia, which means all general and offensive waste produced by the Trust now goes to the Leeds Recycling & Energy Recovery Facility. This generates electricity for Leeds, including the Beckett Wing, part of the Trust’s estate at St James’s Hospital. 1,890 tonnes of general waste has been sent to the site so far, and 700 tonnes of offensive waste, saving 280 tonnes of CO2e emissions and £270,000 annually.

The Trust has also invested in a Sterimelt recycling machine, developed by Cardiff-based Thermal Compaction Group. The machine melts polypropylene sterilisation materials, such as surgery drapes and tray wraps, into neat plastic briquettes that can be re-used, helping to reduce waste and carbon emissions.

Craige Richardson, Executive Director Estates and Facilities said, “Promoting recycling and converting waste into energy is one of several steps we are taking to become greener. We are currently working on the second version of our Green Plan, which will detail the action we need to take to become carbon neutral by 2040.

“In addition to the waste and recycling initiatives, we are investing over £20million in energy saving projects, increasing the number of electric vehicles in our transport fleet and working with clinical teams to reduce the carbon footprint within our wards and theatres”.

Procedures are in place across the Trust for dry mixed recycling, confidential and clinical waste. To raise awareness of healthcare waste and sustainable practices, a targeted waste awareness training programme has been developed, delivered by an in-house Waste Training Educator. Trust staff that score highly in their waste audits or make significant changes to their waste segregation processes can be crowned a ‘Be Waste Smart Champion’.


Council calls on estate agents and landlords oversee tenants’ recycling

Wandsworth Council is calling on estate agents and private landlords to sign a pledge to ensure their tenants are aware of their responsibilities to dispose of their waste and recycling correctly.

Any estate agents that sign up, agree to ensure that landlords they work with are aware of their responsibilities.
As part of the pledge landlords are invited to ensure that their tenants ‘do the right thing’ when they move in, during their rental period, and importantly when they move out.
The council is asking signatories to ensure:

  • tenants are disposing of their waste correctly.
  • where applicable ensure that tenants have appropriate bins to dispose of their waste and can access any communal recycling and waste collection areas (bin stores). This includes taking all reasonable steps to make sure areas are kept clear to enable access to and collection from containers and providing any necessary key or access code to the tenant and council collection crews.
  • that you use a licenced waste carrier to dispose of any business waste. Ensure the contractor has a Waste Carriers Licence and that a Duty of Care waste transfer note is provided showing the description and disposal route of the waste.
  • any waste or unwanted bulky items (i.e. mattresses, furniture etc.) left at the property are removed appropriately from the premises.


Brighton station hits 90% recycling rate for Global Recycling Day

Rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has announced a 90% recycling rate ahead of Global Recycling Day (18 March), as a result of its successful partnership with waste management start-up, The Green Block.

Since the installation of a Mobile Segregation Unit (MSU) at Brighton station in September 2021, the facility has prevented over 160 tonnes of waste going to incineration – the equivalent of 32 elephants. If this rate of recycling continues, GTR – which runs Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern rail services – expects more than 320 tonnes to be recycled in Brighton Station throughout 2022.

Aiming to deliver the highest recycling rate of any station on the rail network, GTR has increased recycling rates to 90% in the last six months, compared an average of 30% prior to the MSU’s installation.

It’s brilliant to see the impact the new Mobile Segregation Unit at Brighton station has already made with 90% of 190 tonnes of waste being recycled or composted.

Staff at The Green Block’s facility segregate, wash, compact, bale, weigh and electronically tag all waste from Brighton station, as well as all Southern and Thameslink trains running to and from the city.

Govia Thameslink Railway’s Infrastructure Director, Keith Jipps, said, “We’ve made a commitment to the UK’s green recovery which means seeking out innovative solutions to deal with waste. Prior to the pandemic, around 12% of the total waste collected across GTR’s 800-mile network came into Brighton.

“As lockdowns and restrictions have seen fewer people travelling, this has reduced to 5% but is steadily on the rise as the country adapts to new ways of working. With this scheme we’re achieving zero to landfill, with any waste that cannot be recycled turned into energy.”

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion commented, “It’s brilliant to see the impact the new Mobile Segregation Unit at Brighton station has already made with 90% of 190 tonnes of waste being recycled or composted. This is a great example of how small changes can make a huge difference – and quickly!

“I’m proud that so many businesses in Brighton are stepping up and making their systems and practices more sustainable, despite incredibly challenging circumstances, and I wholeheartedly support GTR’s aim of delivering the highest recycling rate of any station on the rail network,” she added.

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