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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

If you are anything like me you want to do the right thing with regards lots of things, recycling being one. The key I find to ultimately facilitating doing the right thing is having a structure and process in place to make it easy. Thinking about how this works on a population level I always work on a 20:60:20 rule. 20% of us will always do the right thing, no matter how hard, 20% will never do the right thing no matter what. The other 60% of us are to be persuaded, if it is made relatively straight forward.

Waste recycling is an interesting one. On the face of it we seem to reasonably well in Haringey, having an (arguably) good weekly recycling service via Viloia- the odd moan and groan (sometimes from myself) not withstanding. We toss what ever is to hand into the green bin and it disappears to make us all feel that bit better, having done the right thing.


Yes, there is a but. How many of us know what plastics can actually be recycled in Haringey? How many of us ever clean out the respective tub that goes into the recycling? I sometimes did, some times didn't. My wife, possibly less than me. In the last 12 months I have been working on a project related to plastics, and have found out some interesting stuff along the way, largely how much we (I) get wrong. Information seems to be the key issue- if I know what to do, I will likely try my best to do it.

I came across this article about common recycling myths. One of the key things it points out is to wash out your plastic waste before putting in the bin. (I have since started using the washing up water at the end of washing pots to do this rather than using a specific clean tub of washing water to do the trick). 

I also came across this web site aiming to help inform the general public with some useful info on it. 

I have not quite got my head around all the issues, but I am interested what stops you recycling more, and what could be done to encourage you to do more?

Tags for Forum Posts: recycling

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The other worrying aspect is what happens to that plastic we give to Haringey to recycle. Does it end up being shipped to a far off country and then dumped in the sea because it's too contaminated to use? (as per recent Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall programme).

I understand it Not Haringey but North London Waste Authority who handle recycling

Believe since China has Stopped accepting it and TV programmes about recyclables turning up in other Countries

Understood from TV programmes that most Countries will Not accept UK recyclables these days

Interesting report on one of the programmes that a Northern firm is Importing Shale Gas for USA and making Fresh Plastic Beads for New Bottles

Believe the Only way to get plastics better recycled is to put a 50% Tax on producing new Plastic Beads. Making it more Viable to recycle Plastics

Not forgetting that Glass will always have a market as New glass needs about 50% glass cutlet 

As with Tin and Aluminium Cans 

Thanks for the links, they're really interesting. One thing I've never understood and is a barrier to recycling for me is the different types of plastics. Why don't the Council,  in addition to a description of what can and can't be recycled, include the plastics code number to help those of us who want to get it right, get it right? I broadly follow the "if in doubt, leave it out" rule but would really like to know which are okay, which aren't. I also saw on the Haringey site that we can put plastic bags (not black bags) in our recycling, but I'm not confident that it's all kinds (e.g. the full list on the Recycle Now plastic bag entry) so will continue to take mine to Sainsburys to their collection point.  

Yes. The thing that strikes me is that there is limited information on what can and cannot be recycled- it is more nuanced than 'every plastic bottle is fine'.

I just went onto Haringey's Waste and Recycling website. I am sure I am not being dumb but I cannot see any guidance as to what can be recycled and what cannot. So, I had a look at Veolia's website for Haringey. Same there, the best I could find was a link back to Haringey's website above. I know we are trying to become circular, but this was not what I thought we would achieve.

The information they need to present needs to be more detailed, especially as people are now asking more questions, and the one Maddy asks above is a very good one to be asking.

Having thought a bit about this what I will aim to do is collate people's observations and thoughts and talk to a couple of sympathetic councillors to try to see if we can get some positive change in what information is made available, and to try to challenge a little deeper the more difficult questions as to how much is incinerated and how much is shipped abroad etc. Its only once we ask difficult questions like this can we make sure waste is not just burnt or shipped overseas.

I posted this recently on another thread, but I think it's relevant here, too:

A friend recently alerted me to Lush's recycling of plastic bottle tops, which apparently are hard to cope with alongside other plastics, so perhaps best not put in with general Veolia recycling. There's more info here: https://disposalknowhow.com/lush-plastic-bottle-tops/

Yes I've been recycling for 30 years ... I used to pay a private company to take away my recycling £6 per month before Haringey Council started collecting.  But I was disheartened after watching the Hugh Fearnly-W programme (it's on catch-up, everyone should watch it.) War on Plastic. because it seems that some of our recycled waste was being shipped out to Malaysia to landfill sites there destroying their jungley countryside and polluting their land.... how is that recycled?? Recycled is when plastic is all mashed up and turned back into further useful products. As for what to recycle it's so complicated, no wonder people get confused. If you've just cooked a Sainsbury's meal in a plastic carton in the oven are you going to spend ages scraping,  washing and cleaning it for recycling when it's not clearly labelled as recyclable anyway? I haven't got the time or the patience. And I really want to recycle everything. I put stuff like that in the non recyclables bin. Apart from the ibvious recyclable paper and food I recycle anything easily washable like bottles ... plastic is a lottery ...

When I litter pick in Chestnuts all I ever see are the little black bags of shame dished out by offies to hide the cans, or single use plastic bottles sponsored by Pinar and Saka. Part of what Tidy Up Tottenham is trying to do is to demand action, declaring war on the little black bag, and getting fountains/ refill stations so parks are not full of Pinar. 

Take our Rubbish Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DXG2VPK 

This topic is the kind of thing Tidy Up Tottenham were founded to fight. We're an independent community group and you can find out more here: https://www.tidyuptottenham.org/

Our survey is gathering data that we can use to challenge the councils own strategies, which I assume many believe are ineffective at tackling plastic and other waste in the supply chain that ends up on the streets of our community. 

Well that’s clear as mud still, what about all the plastic wrapping fruit and veg often are wrapped it, what about cat food pouches

tbh I wash everything and stick it and hope for the best, apart from when I hear you cant

i mean I never knew until last year you couldn’t put black bags in or pizza boxes in. Who would have known


Another news article with a little more information on what can and cannot be recycled. Sticky notes and till receipts are a no-no!

Interestingly I am working with a guy who has a facility and I am trying to help him finance the rollout of a fleet of units to deal with toothpaste and pet food packaging, he already receives a lot of cat food packages from pet owners, often in the post. I went to his plant a few week ago. The technology is there (this is the reason for my current level of interest as I am trying to finance the next raft of recycling technologies...)

Sure I read what ever was Not recycled was sent to the Incinerator for Heat & Energy

From recent report's big issue with recycling plastic is lack of UK processing plants

Also its far cheaper to buy in fresh plastic than recycle used

Aware there is still a good market for used glass and cans



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