How to organise a local litter pick

If, like me, you get infuriated and uncomfortable about litter in areas you frequently pass, perhaps you would like to organise a litter pick to clear the area of rubbish and return it to its lovely, natural state. Planning a litter pick is a bit harder than it sounds, so below we have gathered some useful tips and created a step-by-step guide for you.

Choose a spot

Choosing a spot won’t be hard; the reason you want to organise a litter pick is probably because you keep walking or driving past an area that is inundated with rubbish. It might be some woodland, at the side of a canal, on farmland, or on a town centre street. It could be the street you live on!

Check to see if there is already a local group

This handy tool by LitterAction lets you search for litter picking groups in your area. You could also have a search on Google. If there is a group near to the spot you’re wanting to pick, get in touch with the group leader and see if they would be interested in picking the area you have chosen. If so, join them. If not, follow our guide below. Continue reading How to organise a local litter pick

How to get kids into recycling

Statistics tell us that adults in the UK are slowly but surely getting better at recycling – especially since the introduction of the fairly recent plastic bag charge, which has forced people to think about their actions – but what about our children? Waste and recycling is tackled by the National Curriculum in schools from Key Stage 1 now, but we all know that kids tend to learn some things better through example rather than simple spoken word. Meaning, if you don’t engage your child in recycling at home, they are less likely to be interested in it, or do it themselves when they are older.

So, how can you get your child into recycling at home? Follow our tips below.

Lead by example

Children love to pretend to be adults, so if your little one sees you reusing and recycling at home (and when you are out and about) they are far more likely to want to do the same, and learn more about what it is you are doing. Pique their interest early on, and normalise your actions.

Make recycling fun

Help your child to learn about recycling in a fun way by setting up a home recycling centre, with different boxes for each type of recyclable. This will be a great game for a small child. Label each box, and let your child explore the world of recycling through learning about the different types and choosing which box to place each item in. Why not make up a song about recycling which you can sing when you’re doing this? Continue reading How to get kids into recycling

Community skip placed on Kirkstall Road to help flood clear up

Due to the devastating flooding that has blighted Leeds and other parts of the country, Forge Waste & Recycling has placed a large skip on the corner of Kirkstall and Haddon Road – just outside Café Enzo.

Cafe Enzo location

Both businesses and residents are welcome to deposit destroyed items and debris within the skip, which shall be emptied and replaced throughout the coming week as and when needed. Continue reading Community skip placed on Kirkstall Road to help flood clear up

How to Recycle your Christmas Tree

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… in fact, many of us now have our Christmas trees up in our homes and workplaces. Each year, 6-8 million of us in the UK purchase a ‘real’ Christmas tree, as opposed to an artificial one. So, what do we do with these trees that we have brought into our homes, once Christmas is over? I often see them abandoned in public in January – fly tipped due to a lack of knowledge, or perhaps just pure laziness and apathy. Yet there are so many options for what you can do.

Here are some ideas for what to do with your Christmas tree after the festive period:

Use a rosemary bush instead

rosemary
Image credit: Pixabay

Some people have started using festively pruned rosemary bushes instead of pine trees, as they are far more sustainable, and can be moved around in their pot without you having to chop them down like a traditional tree. But, if you still fancy a pine tree, read on for plenty of ideas… Continue reading How to Recycle your Christmas Tree

Five Years of Forge Recycling

“We can hardly believe it ourselves, but it has been 5 years since we started collecting waste in Leeds”.

The early days

Forge Recycling was formed by brothers, Harvey & Fraser Mills. Harvey had a background of working in the waste industry, but was feeling quite uninspired by his employer’s national – rather than local – focus. Fraser had recently finished University and was looking for a new challenge.

The brothers decided to bring their knowledge and experience together, and so Forge was born. In the beginning they bought a second hand Iveco van and the two of them spent the summer clearing out student housing in Headingley.

One van quickly became three vans, plus a small team of employees. Then, with the help of Yorkshire Forward and European funding, the company purchased its first bin wagon. Continue reading Five Years of Forge Recycling

Tips For Being an Eco-Friendly Woman

Research suggests that women are generally ‘greener’ than men. If we look at it at a base level, a French study shows that women emit 32.3 kilograms of carbon a day, compared to men emitting 39.3 kilograms. This difference is due to apparent gender variations in: green attitudes, purchase behaviour, susceptibility to green advertising, transport choices, food choices, and driving habits.

However, whilst women are ahead in many ways when it comes to being environmentally aware and friendly, the majority of people – women included – on our planet are not doing enough to stop, or even slow, the harm being done to the Earth.

This is a small guide for women on how to live in an environmentally friendly way, using ideas you might not have considered before. Most of these tips are relevant to men too, so why not have a read!

Cosmetics, Make-up & Toiletries

Image credit: Pixabay
Image credit: Pixabay

Cosmetics and make-up, alongside toiletries such as shower gel, are often packaged in plastic. Most of these are recyclable, but here are some points to think about if you wish to cut your impact on the environment:

  • Could you purchase items in bulk, therefore using less packaging?
  • If you must use your usual brands and products, could you reuse that bottle or pot for something else?
  • If you really must dispose of your packaging, always recycle everything you can. Remember: a small plastic bottle can take 450-1000 years to degrade in landfill, and research suggests that is where most plastic bottles (around 90%) end up.
  • When it comes to items for removing make-up and cleaning your face, opt for reusables such as flannels and crochet pads, as opposed to disposable and unrecyclable facial wipes.
  • Nail polish is sold in glass bottles, with plastic lids. Perhaps you could use your empty bottle to create your own nail varnish colour.

Feminine hygiene products

It is no secret that women menstruate, and in doing so we get through a shocking amount of disposable sanitary towels and tampons during our time on Earth. These items are bad for our health; most aren’t made from cotton, and contain plastic chemicals, and those that are made from cotton have been bleached. Cotton crops are also often sprayed with a variety of chemicals, so even the cotton itself is not clean. Now think about where you wear these items! Tampons, too, carry a heightened risk of you developing TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome).

Not only are these sanitary items bad for your health, but they are bad for the environment too. The majority end up in landfill, and when you consider how many are used by every woman, that is a lot of waste to landfill. The average woman uses over 16,000 disposable sanitary items during her lifetime.

Clothes

Image credit: Pixabay
Image credit: Pixabay

If you are needing some new clothes, it is so easy to buy clothes from shops which don’t consider the environment in their clothing production. This process involves energy consumption, the use of toxic chemicals, the use of land and natural resources, and the use of water.

Instead of buying new clothes from places that don’t consider the environment, you could:

  • Upcycle items you already own
  • Make your own clothes
  • Organise a clothes swap party, or attend one
  • Buy second hand, from a charity shop or similar
  • Buy new clothes from an eco-friendly shop, such as People Tree

Don’t forget to wash your clothes on as low a temperature as possible and hang your clothes up to dry rather than using a tumble dryer. Also consider which laundry detergent you use.

Featured image credit: Pixabay

Win 3 Months’ Free Business Waste Collections!

Please note: This competition has now ended. The winners were Hamilton’s Sandwich Shop in Horsforth. Thank you to all who entered.

It’s Forge competition time again! We are feeling full of festive spirit, so we wanted to help out a fellow local business by doing what we do best – waste management! Do you have a business in our coverage area? If so, why not enter our competition today to win a whole 3 months of free business waste collections? You have to be in it to win it!

How do I enter?

All you have to do to enter is follow and RT us on Twitter – don’t worry if you already follow us; just retweet one of our tweets about the competition to enter! You may RT us up to once a day, and each tweet will be counted as an individual entry, meaning you’ve a higher chance of winning the more times you retweet us.

Competition Terms & Conditions

  • The competition will run from 10am GMT on 16h November 2015 until 10am GMT on 14th December 2015. Any entries made before or after this time will not be included.
  • The winning business will be announced on 14th December 2015, and will be selected at random. The winners will be contacted by us on that day.
  • If the winner does not respond before 14th January 2016, the prize will be forfeited, and we will be within our rights to draw a new winner – again, at random.
  • The competition is only open to businesses located within the areas of Yorkshire we cover: Brighouse, Leeds, Bradford, Dewsbury, Keighley, Ilkley, Otley, Huddersfield, Halifax, Harrogate, and Wetherby. Please check our website for further details.
  • We reserve the right to draw a new winner at random if a winner’s business is not located within the areas we cover.
  • Entrants may enter up to once per day.
  • There will be one winner.
  • This competition is open to businesses only.
  • Forge Waste & Recycling reserve the right to publish the winning business’s name on our website, and in media regarding this competition.
  • There are no cash alternatives to the prize.
  • The prize is for 1 collection per week, for up to 3 waste streams (for example: General Waste, Mixed Recycling and Glass). Any extra waste on top of this will be payable.
  • The 3 months’ free waste collection will begin at the end of your current contract, and will require you to sign a 12 month contract with ourselves, which includes the 3 free months.
  • If you require any further information about our services, please give our friendly local team a call on 0345 50 50 905.

 

How Much Plastic Do YOU Use Each Day?

With the plastic bag charge now firmly in place in England, most of us are very conscious of our plastic bag usage, and some of us have invested in reusable bags made of stronger plastic or other materials, such as fabric. However, are you aware of how much plastic you come in to contact with throughout the rest of your day, away from the supermarket aisles? The chances are, you’ve not given it much thought. 275,000 tonnes of plastic are used each year in the UK, which is equivalent to around 15 million bottles per day – and that’s just the ‘single use’ plastics.

This article takes a look at how normalised plastic has become, and how integrated it is within our daily lives. Below, we go through a typical day, highlighting where you would come into contact with this popular material.

Waking up

You are woken up by your alarm; this will either be a plastic alarm clock, or your mobile phone’s alarm feature – a mobile phone which is made of plastic, and may be in a plastic protection case, with a plastic screen protector on it too.

Your bathroom is really full of plastics: toothbrush, toothpaste tube, shower gel containers, shampoo and conditioner bottles, razors, soap dish, toilet brush… the list goes on. Some bathroom products, such as shower gel, will contain hidden plastics such as microbeads too.

Image credit: Pixabay
Image credit: Pixabay

Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Aside from some fresh fruit and vegetables, the chances are that most of your food items come in either plastic packaging or glass jars.

If you go out for lunch during the working week, your lunch will probably be supplied in a plastic container. Your accompanying drink may also be in a plastic bottle, or a plastic cup with a plastic drinking straw. It may be handed over to you in a plastic bag, complete with a plastic knife and fork, or even plastic chopsticks. If you eat a packed lunch prepared at home, it might be contained in a Tupperware box, or a plastic sandwich bag. Bag of crisps? Plastic. Chocolate bar or biscuits? Plastic.

If you’re cooking at home, you may wash up after your meal using washing up liquid from a plastic bottle and clean your work surfaces down with a plastic spray bottle of antibacterial liquid. Your kitchen sponge is often made of plastic too.

Is it any surprise the use of plastic in Western Europe is growing at a rate of 4% per year? It has become so integrated in to society, it is now hard to image life without it.

The working day

Image credit: Pixabay
Image credit: Pixabay

Now think about your professional environment. Offices contain plastic computers, with monitors, keyboards and mice all made from… you guessed it – plastic! Desks can be coated in plastic. Electrical wires are covered in plastic. The chair you sit on at work is made from plastic. The covers on notepads are often made of plastic. The communal water filter jug is the same material – as is the coffee machine. You might have plastic cups supplied. Pens and other stationery are plastic too. As is the telephone you use, and the hands free earpiece!

If you are a nurse, for example, many medical supplies are plastic, and supplied in sealed plastic packaging to maintain sterility. If you are a builder, you will wear a hat made of hard plastic all day. Whatever your occupation, you are guaranteed to have contact with this material.

Home time

Back at home, you might do some laundry. Think about what the detergent is bottled in – and the fabric softener. Then think about what you hang your washed clothes up on to dry. You could watch the (plastic) TV, play a game on your (plastic) Xbox, play with your child and their (plastic) toys, do some ironing with your (plastic) iron… whatever you do, it will be there, in your home.

Why does all of this matter?

Some plastics we reuse over and over again. Think about the last time you bought a new desktop computer; the chances are it was a long time ago. It is the single-use plastic items that are the real problem, and disposal of all plastics.

Not all recyclable plastic gets recycled – in fact, far from it. This means that some is sent to landfill: families in the UK throw, on average, 40kg of plastic into landfill per year, which could have been recycled. This needs to change.

Some plastic gets dropped and becomes litter, which ends up injuring wildlife and heading in to our oceans to wreak havoc there too. This is already causing huge environmental problems. The aim of this article is to get everyone to think more about the amount of plastic in their life, and make an effort to cut down on the ‘one use’, ‘throwaway’ items. When you do dispose of plastic, please do so thoughtfully – and always recycle!

Resources

Recycling-guide.org.uk

Onegreenplanet.org

Featured image credit: Pixabay

What Can We Learn From Japan About Waste & Litter?

Whether you have visited Japan or not, you will have no doubt heard that Japan is perceived as a very neat and clean country. Visitors are often taken aback by the lack of litter – especially in cities, which conversely seem to have an absence of rubbish bins in which to place said litter. This article looks at how Japan reached this level of cleanliness, how it is maintained, if it is true of all of Japan, and what we can learn from this to tackle the UK’s litter problem.

Japan’s clean streets

Japan currently has a 77% recycling rate as a nation; compared to just 20% in the USA and around 36% in the UK. These figures alone show how committed to recycling Japan is, and this passion for waste management seems to pass over into litter too.

There are occasional road signs in Japan telling people to take their rubbish home with them, and that, it seems, is all that is required. There aren’t signs everywhere in public places, threatening fines. There are no huge anti-litter campaigns. People just take their waste home with them, and that’s that!

Japanese culture contributes greatly to this litter-free environment. The Japanese don’t really do ‘eating on the go’, which can contribute to a lot of litter in other countries. Alongside this, as a people, the Japanese generally have a large concern about what others think of them – because of this, they would not want to be seen in the street to be littering or not recycling.

Japan’s lack of street litter is particularly interesting and impressive, as residents have to pay to have home rubbish collected; they purchase designated bags for their waste, which they then have to take to a collection point. This combined with the lack of public bins would, in the UK, cause a huge litter problem I am sure!

World Cup 2014

After their team lost a World Cup football match against Argentina last summer, the Japanese fans made the news worldwide by cleaning up the Brazilian stadium before they left. This wasn’t an organised effort; this is simply what the Japanese do. It is a shame that it was so newsworthy, but it really was quite shocking behaviour, and entirely admirable. They collected all types of litter, from abandoned plastic bottles to tiny pieces of confetti.

Japan’s culture & the background of waste

Before the 20th century, Japanese culture focused on reuse, and very little waste was created. Many items were made from wood, and were built to last. When they broke, they were repaired. People collected scrap bits of paper littering roads, which was then turned into toilet paper.

During the 20th century, rapid economic growth led to mass production of disposable items. This huge change caused problems with waste levels, which in turn caused large environmental issues. Also, it was realised that Japan does not have a lot of room for landfill. Combined, this caused a change in thinking. Authorities pressed moral and environmental issues onto their people, and progress in recycling began.  Since the year 2000 in particular, the Japanese have been very conscious of waste and recycling. Laws have kept businesses up to date with recycling too.

Nowadays, Japanese school children are encouraged to clean up after themselves from a young age; they are put into teams and they clean up classrooms and hallways in their schools using a rota system. This instills morals regarding waste and litter from the very start.

The hidden Japanese litter problem

Despite all of the above information, I must admit that Japan isn’t perfect; litter does occur outside nightspots on a weekend, thanks to drunk salarymen, tourists and locals who don’t care about societal norms – although it is usually quickly cleared up. But some litter isn’t picked up, and it’s this litter that makes its way into Japan’s waterways and eventually, the sea.

Many of Japan’s beaches are littered with a mix of litter dropped on the sand by sunbathers, and litter washed up from the sea. Does this litter prove that the Japanese aren’t so well behaved regarding litter and recycling when nobody is watching?

What can the UK learn from Japan?

Unfortunately, many aspects of the Japanese approach to waste and litter management wouldn’t work in the UK. As mentioned above, if our councils charged us to collect our rubbish – and not even from our homes – there would be uproar. There would also be a dramatic increase in littering and fly-tipping. Cutting down on bins would have much the same effect.

Sadly, the cultural difference means Japan’s tactics aren’t very transferable. How nice it would be, however, if us Brits could take a leaf out of Japan’s book – dropping less litter and picking up the litter of others would be a great place to start.

Resources:

TheAlternative.in

YouTube.com

RocketNews24.com

Featured image credit: Pixabay

Mealworms Could End Our Plastic Waste Problem!

Litter is a huge problem worldwide, and the news has been full of reports surrounding marine waste pollution in particular lately – most of which is made up of plastics, including single-use carrier bags, bottles, or microbeads. As has been reported recently, this toxic waste is having a detrimental effect on wildlife, marine life, and our planet’s environment in general.

Science Alert published an article yesterday which announced that researchers in the US and China have conducted studies which found that the humble mealworm could be able to help us with our plastic problem. It has been found that this larvae can safely eat and digest plastics such as styrofoam, which are otherwise unrecyclable and therefore get sent to landfill, or end up littering our streets and oceans.

The mealworms which have been eating these plastics have remained healthy throughout tests, and their droppings also appeared safe to use as soil on crops. The mealworms biodegrade the plastics in their gut, meaning that what they pass out of their system in stools is environmentally fine.

This research could be a breakthrough in waste management. With further research, scientists could find a way to mirror the worm’s stomach enzymes and successfully degrade plastics previously sent to landfill. And, could a marine animal also do what the worm has proved it can do?

Watch this space!