Recycling - which products annoy you most?

Firstly, I’ve always regarded recycling targets as non-sensical, though try to recycle where possible.

Why? Simply because they seem to reinforce the use of recyclable materials, when often the bulk of the recyclable materials could be dispensed with in the first place. So if we decrease packaging does it not become harder to reach the targets?

Say I currently have 1/3 bad waste, 2/3 recyclable waste but the recyclable waste is reduced by 50% and non-recyclable waste stays the same - then I have 50% bad waste, 50% recyclable and the targets won’t be met. Yes the bad waste needs to go to but I think there is far more recyclable waste for fresh fruit/veg etc than there needs to be.

Secondly, specific items:

Crisp packets - surely one of those items where the packaging might cost more than the product within, and don’t get me started on ‘multi-buy’ crisps or sweets with tiny smaller packets in larger ones. I mean how easy would it be to legislate against this disgraceful use of resources but one can imagine the public would be outraged.

Vegetables in packaging - I’m sure in many instances this reduces shelf life but speeds out checkout processes - why the hell does a cucumber need to be ‘shrink-wrapped’ ?


When I was a kid, drinks, whether concentrated ‘squash’, ready to drink ‘pop’, or beer, were sold in glass bottles, with a deposit on the bottle that was refunded when returned, which therefore most people did. I have no idea of the logistics involved, but it seems to me that that was infinitely preferable to the disposable approach that then took over, and one way of reducing waste would be to reinstate something similar, even if only part reuse the rest recycle.

The problem is how our society has developed into a ‘disposable’ one, and that is what needs to change, in my view.

The ‘3Rs’ that people talk about, Reduce, Re-use and Recycle, does indeed need more serious focus at the front end. Vegetable packaging is a good example: a perfect case for paper bags to contain things when needing containing - but the problem is the masses that have grown used to sanitised vegetables packaged in such a way that they don’t need to touch. Actually more than that, a society that expects everything presented in a ready to eat format, no need for cooking etc… Where I live there is a recycling scheme, where wasre sorted into plastic, glass, cans and paper is collected fortnightly. I notice how my neighbours’ boxes are overflowing on every collection: yet we, as a family of 4 adults, only put it out every 2nd or 3rd collection, rarely full other than Christmas or when we have had a celebration of some sort. I put it down to the fact that we buy and cook fresh fruit and veg (and grow our own in summer), and don’t drink ‘pop’ (and don’t read the comics they call newspapers). Now, these days it seems that cooking has gone out of fashion, so I think TV programmes like Jamie’ Oliver’s one focussing on tasty recipes that are quick to make and use limited ingredients are fantastic, and I hope that they will gradually persuade more people of the benefits of home cooking, of which reduction in waste is a bonus, albeit a very beneficial one, in the context of this thread.

Aside from that, noting the OP’s reference to crisp packets, the problem with some food packaging is that it is multi-layer, high tech laminations of films having specific barrier characteristics, which can make recycling very difficult.

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Nuclear Waste.

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Bubble and squeak

It used to be done at Sellafield, but they are decommissioning everything, and stopping recycling…

However, the reprocessing has not been without its issues, while even the decommissioning process is a major and very long-term process,

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I live across the bay from Dungeness.

Teabags. The are often made of plastic.

Living in a rural area, all those things which could be recycled but are frequently thrown from cars - Fosters and Red Bull cans in the main. I won’t even get onto Costa coffee cups, Lucozade bottles and empty cigarette packets.

Mind you the ultimate in Ashdown Forest yesterday was a trail of dog poo neatly wrapped in biodegradable poo bags!

We also seem to suffer from those who neatly pack their car’s contents in carrier bags and deposit said contents along the lanes! Why not take the wretched stuff home and dispose of it properly​:rage::rage::rage::rage:


Dungeness waste used to go to Sellafield. The new approach is, apparently, local disposal… However, as the only disposal of long half-life radioactive material is not actually disposal but storage, and the country’s only geological “disposal” site is likely to be in Cumbria England’s, possibly UK’s - through a process of “voluntarism” not through countrywide assessment of the best geology) - waste is limely to all go there…

Given that some radioactive material has a half life of as much as 24,000 years, the storage, sorry, disposal site, has to manage to remain secure for the passing of civilisations, not just generations. And itis likely to take a century to get it all disposed, sorry, stored. Challenging business - be glad you live near Dungeness not Sellafield!

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Really? The standard ones in UK seem to be paper, some more expensive brands use some kind of supposedly biodegradable polymer I think, not really encountered plastic ones AFAIK.

This dog poo trend incenses me.

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I came across this recycling firm the other day - I was a bit cynical (but have never used it, primarily) as for many things they want you to purchase things to recycle your goods when I’d imagine they’re making money from the raw materials:

In my country the Lipton piramide shaped tea bags are very popular. These are plastic. Cheaper to produce. They have added additives and suger also to the ‘tea’. Can’t drink it.

Then the standard paper tea bags: they have often plastic added. The general rule is that when a tea bag is ‘sticked’, it is paper - but when it is ‘pressed’, it has plastic.

Be careful!

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Water at work. Delivered from god knows where in huge plastic vats, transferred onto a plastic machine, drunk from plastic cups thrown into a plastic bag-lined plastic bin - after one use.



What gets my goat is the plastic bag tax, not that there shouldn’t be a tax on bags, rather that we have to use plastic bags at all. The co-op has been using biodegradable plastic bags for years and a number of other smaller companies use paper bags. What goes hand-in-hand with this is the improper vetting of where our recycled waste goes. What is the point in providing sorting for recyclables, etc only for it to be sold to a disposal company which dumps it in the sea?


At lot of the UK’s recyling from my area was being sent to China. Not sure if thats the same for othwr counties also. I know a couple of people who work in ‘recycling’ Not sure how environmentally friendly it is to do this… Recycling seems to be a revenue source for councils which is why they are so keen on it.

I think our Council now incinerate the normal waste pumping heaven knows what onto the local communities - don’t recall much consultation on this.

Yes, they seem to be able to produce sturdy paper bags in the US for your shopping and there was barely any plastic wrapping/packaging or bags when I was a kid. I think I read that some are against paper bags as they may not be as environmentally friendly as we think, but at least they’re not plastic!

Also those biodegradable bags may crumble (and that’s a right pain if you have one in a cupboard somewhere), but into what??? Do we really want plastic breakdown products in the soil?

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Steve, I thought China banned its import of UK waste for recycling back in October 2018 ?


Seems you are correct :tired_face:

Big business takes so many liberties at the planet’s expense assuming we the consumer couldn’t care less. I’ve always though tea bags were fine for composting or food waste bins, perhaps not.

Teapigs use corn starch bags but are not cheap.

Perhaps a move to loose tea is in order…