Let's cut down on plastic pollution in Oxfordshire

waste film

Residents in Oxfordshire have been amongst the best at recycling (including plastics) and composting for a few years now, and our countywide recycling rate is around 60%, one of the best in the country. But we want to do better. That’s why we are asking people how we can recycle more and reduce waste through a consultation with district councils. Plastic is not the only culprit but we should all take a hard look at our plastic habit.

Cllr Yvonne Constance is Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “Disposable plastics are everywhere. There are now more fast-food outlets, more shops resorting to packaging and plastics. Not all packaging is bad, as it can protect food and make it last longer, reducing food waste, but the key is to reduce, re-use and recycle. We hope to make the younger generation more aware of the impact of plastic on the environment. We are asking them and others to give us their views, ideas and tips on how we can make it easier for people to use less plastic and other materials, increase the amounts recycled and dispose of them properly”

Our Recycling team put together these top tips to kick the plastic habit while putting some money on your pocket too:

1-Remember your reusable bags when you go shopping.

2-Invest in a reusable water bottle (stainless steel bottles are more sustainable than plastic).

3-If you like a takeaway coffee, treat yourself to a reusable mug, you can get collapsible ones to fit easily in your bag, or ones made from bamboo if you want to avoid more plastic. Disposable coffee cups are lined with plastic and hard to recycle.

4-Look for products with less packaging, or no packaging, such as fruit or vegetables. Local markets can be a great place to shop, and you can reduce the amount of packaging you buy.

5-Buy concentrated products and refill packs instead of fully packaged products, such as fabric conditioner, washing powders and some beauty products – this can save you money too. Community Action Groups like Sesi provide refill stations in Oxford (https://www.facebook.com/sesi.oxford)

6- Remember to recycle the packaging you do have. While 90% of packaging is recycled in the kitchens, only 50% is being recycled in the bathroom. Shampoo, conditioner, make up, hand wash and cleaning product bottles can all be recycled (please remove the pump trigger).

7-Where possible, buy larger or economy sizes of goods such as breakfast cereal, tomato ketchup, toilet rolls and soap powder. This can save money and creates less packaging in the long run.

Many of us have watched David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II and were shocked to see the devastating threat posed by plastics to our oceans. Lots of people are passionate about recycling and reducing waste and are busy participating in the survey, which closes on 18th February. But recycling habits vary from generation to generation. Those aged 16 to 34 are the least likely to recycle, according to a recent survey by Serco Environmental Services and Future Thinking. Nationally, just 48% of millennials said they recycle all they can, a fall of 8% year on year. We also want to hear from them. All the councils in Oxfordshire are working together to seek your views on how we can help you to reduce the amount you throw away, and recycle more. Click here to respond to the consultation: www.recycleforoxfordshire.org.uk