We have a global waste problem
This is a 911 and it is time to wake up
We need to take a look at what is going on and how on earth has it got to this point.
We have waste everywhere in every area of life and it is not going away.
Our systems are failing us
Our infrastructure is not working
Our Priority has never been to deal with our waste-full ways of living every day.
We cannot continue living in the old era
We need to get on the front foot when it comes to our waste in every area of life.
Our Business world are not all dealing with waste in the way it is needed.
We do not have a clear template of how to take Responsibility when it comes to waste.
We have been creating excess waste for far too long now and things need to change.
Our whole world is suffering because of the knock on effect of what waste is doing.
Our policy makers are not doing a great job as our waste is being highlighted to us.
Our oceans lakes rivers and waterways are being polluted by the dumping of our waste.
We are not all clear about the value of recycling.
Most of us have no idea what happens once the bin guys pick up our waste.
Many of us have stinky unclean waste disposal bins as this is not an area we pay attention to as it’s not our thing.
Many of us see waste as a smelly thing and want it to just go away.
Our efforts to clear up areas where waste has been dumped is not enough as it’s still going on.
We want things because our mind tells us so
In other words, we have a picture in our mind and we want it. We are not interested in what happens to the waste we no longer want.
Fly tipping is big stuff in some places and it continues despite fines and other Solutions to combat the problem.
We have become a culture of waste
TODAY is World Environment Day
What on earth does that mean to us on the street
What is the purpose of this day and is it really working
Here is what the official website is saying –
World Environment Day – 5 June 2019
Theme for 2019 – Air Pollution
A Platform for Action
World Environment Day is the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment.
It began in 1974 and the event has now grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.
The People’s Day
World Environment Day is the “people’s day” for doing something to take care of the Earth.
That “something” can be local, national or global
It can be a solo action or involve a crowd
Each World Environment Day is organised around a theme that draws attention to a particularly pressing environmental concern. (1)
Air pollution is everywhere even if we cannot see it
In every breath, we are taking in particles that can attack our lungs, heart and brain
World Environment Day 2019 is issuing a call to action to combat this global crisis
We are now faced with an urgent task
90% people worldwide exposed to levels of air pollutants that exceed World Health Organization safe levels. (2)
7 million worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution
4 million of these deaths occur in Asia-Pacific
The health effects of air pollution are serious
One third of deaths from stroke | lung cancer | heart disease due to air pollution
This is having an equivalent effect to that of smoking Tobacco1 and much higher than the effects of say, the effects of eating Salt. (3)
Other problems caused by air pollution include illness and lower IQs
It impacts on human health, economic growth and global warming (2)
Air pollution is now big on the world agenda
What is our Personal Responsibility and what are we each contributing to polluting this world of ours.
How are we breathing in life and how is this polluting us
Are we breathing the breath we came into the world with or have we taken on other stuff along the way.
Disposing of waste has huge environmental impacts and can cause serious problems.
In the UK much is buried in landfill sites – holes in the ground, old quarries and sometimes specially dug.
Some waste will eventually rot but not all and in the process it may smell or generate methane gas, which is explosive and contributes to the greenhouse effect.
Badly managed landfill sites may attract vermin or cause litter.
Incinerating waste also causes problems because plastics tend to produce toxic substances such as dioxins when they are burnt.
Gases from incineration may cause air pollution and contribute to acid rain while ash from incinerators may contain heavy metals and other toxins.
Due to these problems, there are active campaigns against waste incineration.
Throwing away things wastes resources
It wastes the raw materials and energy used in making the items and it wastes money
Reducing waste means less environmental impact, less resources and energy used and saves money. (4)
We live in the 24/7 want it now culture and the waste that produces is not our problem.
We have become a society that wastes without giving it any thought or consideration.
Our councils cannot cope with the excess waste that is polluting our streets.
We have funding cuts on waste at local levels that impact our communities, towns and cities.
Our poor recycling efforts are costing us millions and millions.
We are not being Honest about where our recycling ends up.
Our Solutions to tackle the waste epidemic are clearly not working.
We are dumping our waste elsewhere in the world but it is clearly no longer doing the job.
Our countries are farming off the waste across the water to poorer countries to deal with as it’s cheaper than taking action here.
Malaysia to Return 3,000 Tonnes of Plastic Waste
Malaysia Environment Minister has announced that 3,000 tonnes of non recyclable waste sent from around the world, would be returned because it was rotting, contaminated, falsely labelled or smuggled in.
The waste was from countries including UK | America | Australia | Canada
60 shipping containers filled with contaminated waste had been smuggled into illegal processing facilities in the country.
Reporters were shown the waste by Environment Minister – Yeo Bee Yin
|Australia||Contaminated milk cartons|
Electronic and household waste from
Two-thirds of UK’s plastic recycling is transported to sites across the world, often in the developing countries – Sky News report | 2018
It is often more lucrative to export plastic than process it domestically because land and labour are cheaper abroad.
The reality is that once it leaves our shores, no one really checks whether it is recycled and it could in fact end up in landfill according to the National Audit Office.
In the past, the UK would send much of its plastic to China for processing, where it was used to make items like computers, toys and appliances.
January 2018 – China banned imports of the world’s plastics
There are concerns the system of exporting waste could be inflating the UK’s recycling rates and failing to channel investment into recycling facilities here. (5)
Why Some Countries are Shipping Back Plastic Waste
Often, materials that cannot be recycled end up being burned illegally, dumped in landfills or waterways – creating risks to the environment and public health.
Worries about receiving such waste has forced countries to act
Philippines – shipped back tonnes of rubbish to Canada and claims it was falsely labelled as plastic recycling in 2013 and 2014.
Malaysia – June 2019 sent back 5 containers of plastic waste to Spain after it was found to be contaminated.
China – imported most of the world’s plastic waste until January 2018
Due to concerns about contamination and pollution, it declared it would no longer buy recycled plastic scrap that was not 99.5% pure.
The Impact of China’s Ban on Waste
Global plastic waste exports fell – dipping by almost half by the end of 2018, compared with 2016 levels.
There were reports of plastic waste ready for export piling up and some was diverted to other countries.
Malaysia | Vietnam | Thailand | Indonesia | Taiwan | South Korea | Turkey | India | Poland took up the slack.
Malaysia took a major share – the plastic waste imported from 10 countries in the first 6 months of 2018 was equal to the total received in 2016 and 2017.
However, the rubbish arriving in these countries was not sufficiently recyclable and it has caused problems. (6)
100 Tonnes of Plastic Waste to be Returned to Australia
Malaysian government will send back up to 100 tonnes of Australian plastic waste because it was too contaminated to recycle. They have not named the companies responsible for this.
Recycling sent from Australia included plastic bottles “full of maggots”
Many developed countries export a large amount of their recyclables to other countries to process.
China – the largest receiver threw Australian recycling into crisis in 2018 when it introduced new standards that ruled out 99% of what Australia used to export.
Since then, waste management companies have found new markets in other countries – many in south-east Asia.
“Malaysia will not be the dumping ground of the world – we will fight back even though we are a small country. We cannot be bullied by developed countries…Now we know that garbage is traded under the pretext of recycling.”
Yeo Bee Yin – Malaysia Environment Minister (7)
Malaysian authorities have not yet finished inspecting all the waste but they have already identified rubbish to be returned to –
UK | US | Japan | China | Bangladesh | Spain | France | Netherlands | Germany | Singapore | Saudi Arabia
“It is unethical for Australia to send its non-recyclable, residual waste…to be burnt in cement kilns in other countries, effectively escaping Australian regulatory responsibility…
We dump our waste on the environment or on vulnerable communities or export it to developing countries in the Asia-Pacific…Our national waste and recycling policies have for decades been based on export to poor countries while we failed to develop genuine domestic recycling infrastructure.”
Jane Bremmer – Co-ordinator for Zero Waste Oz (7)
1,500 tonnes of waste would be returned to Canada in 69 containers announcement from Philippines President.
SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT
How can we dump the stuff we don’t want onto another country somewhere else in the world and think that is ok.
Getting rid of our Trash to another land still pollutes the earth and there is no getting away from that immutable fact.
If we join the dots, we can see that when China stopped taking on our waste, those affected had to wake up and find other countries willing to take on the task.
However, things are being exposed like contaminated waste and labelling that says recyclable when it clearly is not.
In other words – we are no longer just Getting Away with it.
What we are being told is to get more responsible with our waste
Our infrastructure is no longer working or producing the results we hoped as consumer waste is off the scale and the waste from goods and services is at epic proportions.
We cannot just rely on the next Solution as it’s not working
We need Real change and that means we need to get to the root cause of this waste epidemic that is out of control.
Each and every one of us produce waste and it needs to start with us – each and every one of us has an individual responsibility for creating the waste that then has to end up somewhere when we have finished with it.
How wasteful are we in everyday life
How wastefull are we at Christmas and Birthdays
How wastefull are we with the gift wrapping stuff
How wastefull are we with our shopping habits
How wastefull are we with our clothes and shoes
How wastefull are we with our home décor
How wastefull are we when it comes to toys for the kids
How wastefull are we when it comes to take out food
How wastefull are we when it comes to sanitary stuff
How wastefull are we with our toilet rolls and wet wipes
How wastefull are we with our must have dream garden
How wastefull are we with travelling because we can
How wastefull are we with running the car for a short trip
How wastefull are we with eating out because we can
We have become a world that thinks waste will take care of itself but this has led to many many Complications.
Our wastefull ways of living have serious consequences that we are not considering.
We are running out of landfill sites as it is not the answer.
We are nowhere on the front foot when it comes to our waste.
We have created fatbergs in our sewers that are now displayed in a museum. (8)
We have produced so much waste that getting rid of it will not be an overnight thing.
We are not all united when it comes to waste
We all need to take Responsibility at an individual level if we are to deal with this worldwide waste issue.
WHY do we think it is simply ok to Trash our waste and let others deal with it.
WHY do we pay very little attention to any waste that we produce.
Is there Another Way when it comes to waste.
Is it time to Get Real and get Honest about waste.
Do we need to be asking more Questions about our own personal waste-full ways.
Do we want to get to the Truth of how to deal with our waste.
Do we care enough about our Earth to know that our excess waste can harm our planet.
Do we waste away every single day because we Get Away with it and nothing stops us.
Have we become a Careless world, which has led to this waste problem at a global scale.
Have we become a throwaway society because we want what we want and don’t want the responsibility of knowing what happens to our waste.
How much waste are we creating because we want to be bang up to date with fashion and what is out there.
Have we made waste a Priority in our life
Have we made waste a Focus in our life
Are we looking at the microcosm – our own personal environment and how we are choosing to live every day.
Are we into campaigning about the environment but not looking at the detail of where in life we are polluting mother Earth.
Are we busy Listening to Other People when it comes to dealing with our waste.
Are we living life in the Fast Lane so dealing with waste is not even on the radar.
Are we stocked up with Footwear to last a lifetime and yet we just keep on buying because we can and don’t think about the fact of if it is really needed and the waste it creates.
Are we owners of many Cars with high fuel consumption and the thought of excess pollution has not been something we want to know about.
Are we banging on about carbon footprint but forget that our multiple Holidays each year may be adding to that.
Are we Sitting on the Fence letting the waste crisis under our nose continue, but have no idea how to move and begin to change.
Are we even aware of our Fast Food, Junk Foods that create gases that harm our environment.
Are we busy Overdoing it in life, so thinking about what happens to our waste is not even on our agenda.
Are we ok trashing our Pots and Pans because we can just throw them out and replace them when we want, with no regard to what happens once they end up in the waste system.
Are we comfortable with our More more more lifestyle choices, which mean we can have whatever we want and throw out whatever we don’t want as often as we want to – because we can.
Are we simply wanting the Perfect garden and we don’t want to think about the waste and the cost to remove the waste we no longer want.
Are we aware of our own personal Food Waste and what it all adds up to and where it ends up.
Are we Struggling to function in life and the thought of thinking about our waste is way too much for us right now.
Are we really SMART if we have never given an ounce of attention to what happens to the personal waste we create daily.
Are we so Stressed about all areas of life that we cannot be bothered to even think about our wastefull ways of living everyday.
Are we spending our Day Off dealing with the waste we have created or are we adding more to the waste epidemic out there.
11 Billion Items of Packing Waste Every Year Generated from ‘Lunch on the Go’ Habit
‘Lunch on the go’ habit is growing in Britain generating packaging waste of which much is not recycled.
Workers are buying more takeaway and Fast Food lunches
64% bought lunch more on the go now than 5 years ago
£13.6 billion spent annually on lunch on the go
76% main item boxed sandwich
70% packet of crisps
25% too busy to make their own lunch
20% more places now to eat out
19% eating out is more tempting than it used to be
result of the UK’s Evolving Food Culture
Lunch on the go items create huge levels of waste and much is not recyclable
Packaging made from mixed materials or contamination from food residue are reasons why this type of waste is not recyclable.
By planning lunches in advance and using up items in your fridge, you can massively reduce the amount of packaging you use while saving money by cutting down on food waste.
Trewin Restorick – Chief Executive | Hubbub (9)
What is it about us that is too busy to take care of our food for the day
WHY are we tempted to eat out now more than before
Are there more places to eat because we the customers are demanding it
There is no supply unless there is a demand so we cannot Blame the rise in eating out places in our towns and cities.
Many of us happily champion and complain about the global waste but do we stop and look at how we as an individual may be contributing.
In other words, do we each need to look at every area of our life to see where we create unnecessary waste that one day will be of no use to us.
Have we asked ourselves what makes us get up and buy our lunch when we know there is food we could quite easily take to work or cook up on our Day Off.
Is there something we enjoy with the no fuss, enormous choice and buzz of buying lunch on a work day.
Are we going with the masses who never bring in lunch or is it not a cool thing to bring our own food as that’s another life and we keep it separate to work life.
Are we simply so exhausted that the thought of making or taking food into work is the last thing on our agenda.
Are we tired of thinking of what to eat so instead we opt for the easy way of just buying our lunch on the go and never think about the waste it causes to the planet.
One small country spending over £13 billion a year for lunch on the go – what is that telling us.
What if we start dealing with the global waste problem at the home level.
In other words, we as individuals take Responsibility for the way we live and how much waste we have going on in our daily life.
Could this microcosm be the start of real change for the world – the macrocosm
Could it be that Simple?
(1) (2019). About World Environment Day. www.worldenvironmentday.global Retrieved June 1, 2019 from https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/about-world-environment-day
(2) (2019). Air Pollution. www.worldenvironmentday.global Retrieved June 1, 2019 from
(3) (n.d). How Air Pollution is Destroying Our Health. World Health Organization. Retrieved June 4, 2019 from
(4) (n.d). Environmental Impacts. Green Choices. Retrieved June 4, 2019 from
(5) (2019, May 28). Malaysia to Return 3,000 Tonnes of Plastic Waste to UK and Other Countries. Sky News. Retrieved June 4, 2019 from
(6) (2019, June 2). Why Some Countries Are Shipping Back Plastic Waste. BBC News. Retrieved June 4, 2019 from
(7) Zhou, N. (2019, May 29). Malaysia to Send Up to 100 Tonnes of Plastic Waste Back to Australia. The Guardian. Retrieved June 1, 2019 from
(8) Brown, M. (2018, August 14). View the Fat: Museum of London Launches Live Stream of Fatberg. The Guardian. Retrieved June 5, 2019 from
(9) Smithers, R. (2019, May 14). ‘Lunch on the Go’ Habit Generates £11bn Items of Packaging Waste a Year. The Guardian. Retrieved June 1, 2019 from
uk.news.yahoo – 8th July 2019
Worst Countries in the World When it Comes to Recycling Waste
A report has warned that not enough waste is being recycled.
More than 2 billion tonnes of solid household waste is being created worldwide each year.
The waste is enough to fill more than 800,000 Olympic sized swimming pools and would stretch 25,000 miles if laid out end-to-end.
The report said that only 16% of the total waste – or 323 million tonnes – is recycled each year, while 46% – 950 million tonnes – is disposed of unsustainably.
The country which produces the most household waste is the US, where citizens are responsible for 773 kg per head per year.
The US generates 239 million tonnes of municipal solid waste, which equates to 12% of the global figure, even though the country only accounts for 4% of the world’s population.
The report said that the US produces three times the amount of waste as China and seven times as much as Ethiopia, the lowest risk country on the list.
The UK was 14th place in the list of the worst countries when it comes to waste, generating 482 kg per person per year.
Over 2 billion tonnes of waste and only 232 million tonnes being recycled.
With 950 million tonnes of waste disposed of unsustainably, that leaves over 800,000 tonnes of waste not accounted for – where does that waste go – landfill, perhaps?
As a race of people, it is very clear we have a long way to go in the reduction of our waste and our recycling of that waste.
As I used to drive the big lorries that took waste to landfill sites, I have seen first-hand the mess, the quantity of waste and carelessness at which we dispose of anything and everything and seeing these sites become hills of rubbish covered with soil and grass.
We literally have man made hills that look lush and verdant but underneath is a mountain of decomposing rubbish.
This may look aesthetically pleasing but what is it doing to Mother earth?
We cannot carry on like this indefinitely.
Why are governments not doing more about recycling rates?
Why are councils not doing more about recycling rates?
Why are WE not doing more about recycling rates?
Collectively, we are all in this together.
Whether we are in governments, in councils or are simply a member of this global planet of ours, WE are the ones creating this rubbish so shouldn’t we be the ones to start to make the changes?
FT.com – 9th July 2019
Romans Fume and Sweat Surrounded by Mountains of Rubbish
The closures of refuse plants for maintenance has caused havoc amid a record heatwave.
Half the city’s refuse, about 1,000 tonnes of rubbish, will be left on the streets this week, according to AMA, the designated rubbish collector, because two big rubbish plants near Rome have been closed for maintenance.
The president of AMA, appealed to Romans’ “civic sense” and asked them to “take collective responsibility” to reduce their waste in an “extraordinary” situation.
With the arrival of the tourist season and the subsequent increase in rubbish, rats and wild boars rooting among the piles of rubbish have become an everyday sight.
The rubbish crisis has created an angry stand off between city and regional administrators with both blaming each other for the fiasco.
While Naples is better known for its garbage crises during the 1990’s and 2000’s, Rome has had a rubbish problem since 2013. The city’s refuse has always been in the hands of a small group of private interests, who, according to prosecutors sometimes collude with organised crime.
Six years ago, a landfill site owned by a garbage-disposal tycoon, and the only big site devoted to the city’s garbage disposal, was closed after EU authorities ruled it unfit to treat waste.
Since then, Rome has been left without a significant site to dump or treat the 1.7 million tonnes of trash it produces every year.
Most of the garbage is shipped to other Italians regions or abroad, while the remainder is usually sent to incinerators and plants in the Lazio region, which are reaching capacity.
Romans pay one of Italy’s highest municipal-waste taxes, but successive mayors from different parties have failed to find a solution to the waste emergency.
There is something wrong here for a major city like Rome to be in this predicament in the first place?
Is it possible that, the fact that there has been an issue with the city’s rubbish problem since 2013, shows that those in authority either have no true control over the city or they are just a part of the corruption that resides there?
There is a lot of money in waste/rubbish so there is no surprise that corruption becomes a part of this.
The obvious question to be asked is – why are private individuals allowed to run this business?
Why have the city officials or even the government not intervened to bring this business back into the public domain?
Is it possible that the only ones who truly suffer here are the taxpayers, the residents, the people that have to live in this mountain of rubbish?
Our World takes a lot of abuse from us, from our so-called civilised and intelligent race of beings.
There is certainly nothing civilised or intelligent about this situation.
This website currently does not have a blog titled Recycling so this comment is best served on this blog about waste.
Supermarket shopping this week, I made a note to get the refill stuff they are advertising with big red sticky labels on the spray bottles purchased before.
What was interesting was the cost was way high for the refill and so it was much cheaper to buy individual sprays as it made no sense.
Is it that we have good intentions but we are nowhere on the front foot when it comes to saving waste as a world?
Are the manufacturers wasting resources when their strategies are not aligned to their own business – example here of – offering the customer large volume size of refill in a pack and then right next to it offering special offer of the same product but much cheaper and using up more plastic.
We have lost the plot and it’s high time we all started to admit that as things are not working and it is up to us all to say SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.
Some on the other hand would be unaware and be shopping on auto-pilot, like I used to many years ago and would think “Ah, refill – that makes sense” and put it in the trolley and think no more about it, other than helping the planet.
Today, being the savvy cookie that I am, I do look at prices and the cost per litre or whatever the ratio it is so I am not being fooled by prices and sizes. This way of clocking things has been something both myself and my partner have been doing for well over a decade and it makes perfect sense.
Yorkshire Water News – 1 October 2019
Yorkshire Water are asking customers to make an UNBLOCKTOBER pledge to stop flushing wipes as well as pouring fats, oils and greases down the sink – all of which can cause blockages in the sewer network.
The company are called out to 30,000 blockages in the sewer network each year.
Customers are being told to commit to only putting water down the sink and the 3 Ps – in the toilet, pee, poo and paper.
Flushable wipes have caused a major issue and contain plastic which do not break down in the system, creating a build up and then a blockage.
They are hoping that unblocktober will help to raise awareness as it is about driving behaviorial change.
When they carried out their own research, 64% consider themselves to be ‘very aware’ of what should and should not go down the drain. However, 48% of the nation still pour fat and oil down their sinks.
What this tells us is how irresponsible we are with our waste.
We could blame manufacturers for coming up with these easy to use wet wipes that seem to feel soft and wet and do the job, but no attention to how we dispose of them. So where is our individual personal responsibility?
We have become a real throwaway society and wet wipes are part of modern day living. We use them not just for bum wiping but for removing make up, baby use, there are anti bac ones for wiping surfaces, the big wipes for floors and it goes on…
Add to that cooking fats down the sink and it is no surprise we have a new word called fatbergs, which is the mix of wet wipes and fat blockages in our sewers.
We need education – yes that is true, but how can we turn this around fast?
It would be interesting to see how the public would change if the water companies turned off our water because of our ill behaviour. Even worse if we were charged a heavy fine to pay for our irresponsible ways of disposing our waste.
Our world has a serious waste issue and it has come to this because we as individuals are simply not doing our bit consistently.
We seem to like using things but when it comes to disposing, we seem to have no brain cells that tell us how and what to do. Perhaps a manual is needed and we have to all sign up and then complete the process so we know exactly how to deal with all our waste.
South China Morning Post – 14th October 2019
China Counts the Environmental Cost of its Construction Boom
According to a report by a magazine that has links to state media, China’s rapid urbanisation has created a mountain of construction waste.
Although 1.5 billion tonnes of construction waste is created every year, only 100 million tonnes are properly processed through disposal or recycling and even household rubbish gets more attention from local governments.
In comparison, developed nations like the US and Japan recycle between 90 and 95 per cent of their construction waste.
In major urban cities like Beijing and Shanghai, construction activity produces up to 30 million tonnes of waste a year, while across the country the sector accounts for about 40 per cent of all urban waste.
At the same time, more than 7,000 hectares of arable land are being damaged every year as a result of construction activity.
The reason for this expansion in construction is to help drive economic growth.
Although the country has 70 disposal facilities capable of handling upwards of 1 million tonnes of construction waste a year, most of them are working at only about 50 per cent capacity.
The problem, especially in major cities is only set to get worse.
An official at China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural development said: “There is no unified plan for managing the long-term process of recycling construction waste.”
If the country’s 70 disposal plants were operating at full capacity it would only be able to dispose of 70 million tonnes of construction waste – that leaves 1.43 billion tonnes of construction waste clogging up the land, creating an eyesore and damaging Mother Earth.
China is the third largest county in the world, by area (3,747,877 square miles), but is the most populated country in the world (1.42 billion). In comparison, the UK has 93,784 square miles and a population of over 67 million.
Is it possible that with these figures, the construction waste is only going to increase in size every year?
Is it possible that there is a lack of responsibility here, in creating all of this waste when it is well known that the facilities for the disposal of this waste is not good enough?
How do we dispose of this excess waste –
Do we build more recycling centres?
Do we send the waste overseas and burden other countries?
Do we just leave it piled up to become a health hazard?
Do we bury it in landfill?
Do we dump it in the oceans?
Whatever solution we find, our planet is still the one that will suffer the most.
Our planet will be the one that is contaminated and this will need to be dealt with at some point.
Is it possible that the intention to drive up economic growth will cost the country even more money, because we have to find other ‘solutions’ to rid ourselves of this waste?
Reuters World News – 31 October 2019
Indonesia’s environment ministry said it would report countries to the Basel Convention – an International treaty on waste reduction, if they refused to accept waste shipments sent back to them by its authorities.
A report has confirmed that waste sent back from Indonesia has ended up mostly in other Asian emerging economies.
How have we got to this point where there is illegal traffic of waste?
How are we going to criminally charge countries where containers are redirected elsewhere?
After China banned imports of waste from western countries last year, Southeast Asian countries are taking on the job but they are simply not equipped to do so.
Indonesia struggles to deal with its own waste which often goes into landfills or is dumped in rivers. It is the 2nd biggest contributor of plastic pollutants in the ocean after China according to a study in the journal Science in 2015.
So we have a 911 when it comes to Our World and Our Waste.
This story confirms a microcosm of what is going on and we have no solution.
What we know is that this earth has limited resources but our throwaway culture and want it now society living means waste is going to be climbing up the agenda to address.
We are no where near having a real infrastructure for our waste and this goes across all countries.
ADD to that the irresponsible way the masses are living today and we should not be surprised that we have so much waste that we want it shipped out elsewhere – no on our land, thank you.
How is that going to really work?
We want to continue living as we do – read this blog again for more insight – but we do not want to even think about where our waste goes, where it ends up and what then?
How do we feel when we bang on about climate change and rally and campaign for saving the earth’s resources yet we seem to be ok with so many areas of our lives where we are super waste-full?
What if we made some serious lifestyle choices and start with a STOP in the excess department?
One example –
Over buying and over consuming what we really do not need to eat and all those takeaway containers that pile up and the rest…
What if we start by just doing our bit with our common sense hat on?
Could that have a ripple effect or are we one of those who will keep going until we are made to stop in some way or another?
Our 911 waste issue is now in our face, yet very few of us seem concerned or even bothered about it.
What does that really tell us about the intelligence of our species?
Are we really intelligent if we are causing harm to the planet we enhouse?
The Telegraph – 7th November 2019
Fly Tipping Hits 10-year High.
Fly tipping has reached a 10-year high in England as campaigners warn the problem may have been fuelled by confusion over complex waste disposal rules.
According to the department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), councils have reported a staggering 1,072,000 incidents of illegal dumping in 2018/19, reaching the highest level since 2008/09.
Nearly two thirds of cases involved household rubbish and mostly feature waste abandoned on roads and pavements, prompting suggestions the offending was linked to the bin policy of councils.
One environment charity said the public were increasingly struggling to understand the correct bins to use for different types of rubbish and some may have resorted to fly tipping. An analysis revealed that we face an array of 58 recycling symbols when it comes to disposing of our shopping products.
The Local Government Association (LGA), claimed that recycling was too complicated with “unclear” labels, seeing too much reusable waste going to landfills.
The charity’s chief executive said” “Our fly tipping research in London suggests that many people are struggling to manage their waste correctly and are overwhelmed in particular by the amount of cardboard and plastic packaging coming into their homes and this may contribute to the problem, as people put out extra bags of waste, alongside their bins, not realising that this is, in reality, fly tipping. She added that fly tipping had reached “epidemic levels” and a national programme was needed to educate the public on the “dangers and costs” of the problem.
The DEFRA figures showed more than 600,000 of the fly tipping cases in the past year involved household rubbish, ranging from black bags to house and shed clearances.
Rubbish illegally dumped included tens of thousands of incidents of demolition and construction waste, white goods such as fridges, garden waste and electrical items.
Fly tipping is defined as the illegal deposit of any waste onto land that does not have a licence to accept it.
When we think of fly tipping, we normally think about the van or truck loads of waste that is just dumped in a field or lane, but it is clear from this report that the figure of over 1 million incidents of fly tipping is not what we would typically think it to be.
The majority of these incidents appear to be local residents putting out more waste than they are supposed to and also the bin policy of councils not being adequate.
Having said that, it has been well known and well advertised that we are not allowed to have more waste or recycling in the bins than they can take and indeed, I have heard that some councils insist that the lid of the waste bins must be closed.
Yes, maybe the councils could and should make their policies clearer but is it possible that we can’t keep blaming the systems when things go wrong?
If there is any doubt, the information we need is found easily enough via websites or a quick phone call.
At what point do we start to take responsibility?
Whatever form it comes in, whether by accident or design, fly tipping is ugly, unsightly and has potential health concerns.
We are the ones responsible for creating all of this extra waste, so is it possible that we should take the necessary steps to dispose of the extra waste ourselves, rather than just leave it on the streets and rely on others to clear up our mess?
The Daily Telegraph – 4th January 2020
Rise in Fly-Tipping After Criminals Fined as Little as £50.
An investigation by the Local Government Association (LGA) has found that fines as little as £50 for fly-tipping are failing to deter criminals from dumping waste.
Only 5 per cent of court imposed fines for fly-tipping in the past six years were above £1,000, despite courts being able to impose penalties of up to £50,000 and a five year prison sentence.
At the same time, fly-tipping incidents soared 50 per cent, up from 715,000 in 2012-13 to more than 1,072,000, a 10-year high.
More than 600 of the fines – 5.5 per cent of the total – were below £50 over the same period, despite fly-tipping costing councils £58 million to clear up.
Only two fly-tippers have been given the maximum £50,000 fine by the courts since 2014.
The LGA’s environment spokesman said: “ Fly-tipping is not only an illegal, inexcusable and ugly blight on society, it is a serious public health risk. However, prosecuting fly-tippers often requires time consuming and laborious investigations, with a high threshold of proof. Tougher sentences are needed to act as a stronger deterrent to criminals dumping waste.”
In one case, a delivery driver who fly-tipped household waste in four separate trips was fined £300 at court following a prosecution. In another, a man who dumped carpet waste was fined £350.
Both are below the maximum fixed penalty notice of £400 that a council can issue, without having to take a fly-tipper to court.
The figures show more than eight in ten of the 11,148 fines issued over the past six years were below £500.
As the LGA spokesman said, fly-tipping is unsightly and costs us a lot of money to clear up. If the waste is dumped on private grounds, it then becomes the responsibility of the land-owner and all the costs associated with it.
Waste is a huge industry and if someone can get rid of a load illegally for nothing, a load that could cost thousands to dispose of correctly, why would they even bother to go down the responsible route?
£50 is certainly no deterrent and, is it possible that fines like this may only encourage more fly-tipping?
It seems strange that the courts are not utilising the maximum levy or even jail time on fly-tippers.
As in most cases for us humans, money talks the loudest and jail time may even talk louder.
It is clear that the system we have at present is not working and fly-tipping is becoming the easy way out for those of us lacking in integrity.
The LGA want the government to review their sentencing guidelines for fly-tipping so offenders are given bigger fines.
Is it possible that, it makes no sense to get the government doing reviews on this issue if the courts and the councils are not even issuing the penalties they can give out at this present time?
Fly-tipping incidents have increased by 50 per cent in 10 years.
The fines given out at present are not much of a deterrent but if the councils are going to spend all of that time, money and resources in taking them to court, surely the fly-tippers need to be given a substantial penalty.
The fly-tippers obviously have no regard for anyone else, so isn’t it time for the courts and the councils to start enforcing the fines that will send a message that this behaviour is unacceptable?
Energy and Environment News – 21 January 2020
This news story is telling us that there is a lot of waste coming from vaping.
We have the pods and caps everywhere as youth vaping has skyrocketed in recent years.
In 2018, 20% of U.S. high schoolers used e-cigarettes according to the National Institute of Health study.
The rise in vaping has given way to a new set of environmental issues: plastic “cigarette butt” litter that does not degrade and other e-cigarette parts that are considered hazardous waste pose complicated clean up quandaries.
This study took place in the California Bay Area of 12 public high schools and the team collected e-cigarette waste from parking lots.
Devices of a well known popular brand among teenagers, electronic rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, disposable plastic pods resembling USB drives that contain nicotine, flavourings and “e-liquids” like propylene glycol.
Nicotine has been used as an insecticide. It is a neurotoxin so it is used in rat poison.
The study states that there is a significant potential for the nicotine residue to end up in the environment and harm wildlife and aquatic creatures.
Ingesting nicotine can also kill humans, which is one reason why the Federal Register lists nicotine on the hazardous waste pharmaceuticals.
The study’s author says that manufacturers have not given consumers clear enough directions on how to dispose of the e-cigarette devices, batteries and pods.
In California, there is an e-cigarette waste debate playing out in the state legislature, batteries are also considered hazardous waste.
Cigarette filters, which are made of non-biodegradable plastic called cellulose acetate are a ubiquitous source of ocean trash.
Every year, cigarette butts top the list of the most commonly found marine litter in the global cleanup held by Ocean Conservancy.
Enough said on this topic relating to waste.
Could it be possible that we make the demand and suppliers are right there, bang on delivering to us what we want?
In this case e-cigarette devices that look cool and appeal and enchant the young user still at high school.
Could it be possible the suppliers are busy trying to profit from our demands and it is not really their intention to get resources invested into the waste aspect of the product as that requires time and money and this means less profit?
Could it be possible that by the time we, the public question the waste and impact it can have on the environment, billions have already been made in profit and so the suppliers will listen to policy makers and work with them to do what they can to reduce waste, but in truth their main job is to keep supplying and making money as that is why they are in business in the first place?
Do we really care about wildlife or the oceans enough to say No to vaping or any other product that harms our earth?
Do we have selective and convenient truths that we champion and stand by, but deep down we know all we are doing is what suits us in our lifestyle choices?
Our World and the Waste we have created comes from how we are living and that means how we are behaving. Our behaviours lead to waste or less waste.
What if we started educating from day dot about Responsibility with all waste?
How would our world look and feel and how content would marine life and all other plants and animals be if we stopped imposing our stuff onto them?
Each of us has to have understanding about the consequences of every choice we make and that includes the waste we create because of what we want in life.
Imagine if this wisdom was introduced into the school curriculum.
ADD to that the numerous blogs on this website and in particular Tobacco where the second part in the series presents on vaping devices.
Just observing one city in one state of the USA and I wake up and realise how far far off we are when it comes to our world and our waste.
12 lanes of traffic in the morning going towards downtown San Francisco via Bay Bridge all stuck and moving slow. Then you see it again later in the day as the workers head home.
What is worth noting is there are no passengers.
The other thing that I have heard over and over again from any resident who drives a car here is the constant moan about driving in traffic.
I am going to the airport and my friends want me to go super early and hang out at airport for 4 to 5 hours, as that way they will not have to be in traffic when they go back home.
What a total waste of resources and the impact on our environment as most vehicles here are gas guzzlers as they say – big engines which require high consumption of gas/fuel.
Next – hotel waste.
Has anyone done a research study on this as its worth noting?
One room has huge jumbo beds for one person and 3 king size towels and 6 small towels.
I was watching the cleaners and their cart is so big you cannot see them wheeling it as it’s that big.
FULL of rubbish and whilst we all may think we are into recycling or doing our bit, there is so so much not going to recycle as it ends up in general waste.
The US is known for doing things big and that includes their big waste.
Re-using and not wasting where we can, seems to be not the norm for us now.
Next – hotel restaurant.
In the morning it is jam packed and full of business people off to work.
It’s the coffee cups that we need to clock as we are going through millions each day and most of us have no idea where they all end up.
Waste in hospitality is at epic proportions and many of us know this, but it’s easier to keep dumping our rubbish than saying there must be another way to live.
What is it going to take for us to turn the tides?
Charging for paper bags and plastic bags has made no real difference to our consumption, which then leads to waste.
Our World is in need of a radical shift when it comes to Waste, but how many of us are really and truly ready to address this in our own homes first?
Daily Mail – 15th February 2020
A new law could force tech giants to use the same charging leads for phones and other devices.
The European Parliament wants all handsets sold in the EU to use a standardised connector to reduce waste and make life simpler for consumers.
Three different connectors are currently in widespread use.
Each new device comes with a lead and many people have multiple types that they no longer need.
The Euro Parliament, which is to hold a new vote on the issue, says old and obsolete chargers generate 51,000 metric tons of waste each year. One MEP said: “We are drowning in an ocean of electronic waste. We cannot continue.”
Any new law may not officially apply to the UK after Brexit but manufacturers would be likely to create standardised products.
One well-known phone manufacturer has voiced strong opposition to the proposal, saying it would ‘freeze innovation’.
I know personally that I have several leads at home for different gadgets, simply because each gadget comes with a different size charging point.
How much easier would it be to have just one sized charging point for all of our technological devices?
Considering the general zeitgeist of the environmental climate, surely the waste itself created by these superfluous leads should be enough for manufacturing companies to find a way to create a standardised lead?
Tech giants who produce these amazing phones complain that it will ‘freeze innovation’
What is needed is for them to devise a charging point that is universal.
Is it possible that this would be the innovation that is needed right now?
Is it possible that any complaints of ‘freezing innovation’ are because a source of revenue will be lost if the charging points are standardised?
We have enough waste in our world – surely it is incumbent on all of us, including manufacturers, to minimise our waste?
A national newspaper is on a campaign and anyone can join “The War on Litter”.
400,000 people have signed up to clean up Britain.
1 in 4 litter pickers are children.
This is great news and much needed and most of us would champion that.
However, there is an important question – Has this been done before?
Yes it has and there was much success and the pictures all over the press confirmed what a grand job we did of the countryside, rivers and canals where there was rubbish dumped and litter thrown and just left to rot.
Something very simple that would work and support the country would be to NOT be careless with our waste, rubbish, litter or whatever we want to call it.
WHY do we need a national press campaign to get us moving and working together.
WHY are communities not initiating projects like this and then sticking to it and policing their streets and neighbourhoods when it comes to dumping waste and throwing litter around?
Good old fashion common sense and decency seems to have disappeared as we come into the modern era where we have this attitude that its ok to leave waste when and where we feel to – not our business.
Next – we may want to look at government policies when it comes to waste as we are way off the mark and no where near a nation that is on the front foot.
The fact we need a newspaper to run a campaign to clear up the litter speaks volumes.
We make the mess, leave the rubbish and then some of us volunteer to clear it up, only to find it is back again and so we just go around and around, like a revolving door ending up in the same place.
There is no change and no evolution for us if we just find a solution, fix it and then go back and fix it year after year. We need to bring an end to this excess litter.
Have we thought about it as Abuse, because in truth this is what it is?
We abuse the space around us because we can.
We are not interested in what that space means or what it actually brings.
We just know its a bit of space or a vast space and we can do what we want as no one is going to stop us.
WHY not teach children about respect and decency from day dot towards themselves, others and their environment?
Could we then one day have generations of adults who know what it means to not ever trash the streets or any space that mother earth has provided?
How far have we as a race of beings deviated from the point where we no longer see the space around us as something worth valuing and appreciating?
BBC News – 17th March 2020
Uncovering the Oil Industry’s Dirty Secret
Every year hundreds of ships and oil rigs are sold to shipbreaking yards in south Asia where they are cut apart by low-paid immigrants.
The BBC followed a trail from the north coast of Scotland to the beaches of India to reveal how wealthy companies profit from an industry that destroys lives and damages the environment.
Alang, a coastal town in the Indian state of Gujarat, is a graveyard for ships. Its coastline was once filled with fishing boats – but today the rusting hulks of oil tankers and ocean liners stretch for miles along the shores of this town.
The premium prices paid for steel make it a lucrative place to dismantle ships. Its shipbreaking yards are the busiest in the world and oil companies are among their biggest customers. About a third of all vessels that are sold for scrap will end their days there.
But it comes at a cost to the men that work there in the searing heat and pollution of the yards. One worker told BBC News: “We don’t have human rights. Sometimes we feel like we are animals. We’re treated like insects by these people.”
Workers in the yard dismantle ships by hand with blowtorches and sledgehammers so the valuable metals they contain can be salvaged. Little goes to waste. Steel and wood are recycled at workshops which surround the shipyards and everything else finds its way to open-air markets in the town where you can buy boxes of light bulbs from oil tankers or cutlery from cruise ships.
Like most of the workforce, they are migrants from Uttar Pradesh, one of the poorest parts of India. They live on the outskirts of the yards in shanties without running water, toilets or electricity. A worker said: “We buy scrap wood which comes out of ships we build these places ourselves. The company doesn’t take responsibility for the labourers at all. All they care about is the work”
According to the founder and director of Shipbreaking Platform – an organisation which monitors the industry – shipbreaking is dangerous and dirty work and the men are in constant danger. She said: “They risk gas explosions, falling from heights, being crushed by massive steel plates that fall down – those are the main causes of the fatal accidents.”
According to Shipbreaking Platform, workers often lack basic safety gear and at least 137 lost their lives between 2009 and 2019.
The organisation believes that number is only the tip of the iceberg because shipyard owners refuse to discuss accidents.
According to a survey last year by the Tata Institute in Mumbai, more than half of shipyard workers say they have been injured on the job. Workers are also at risk from hazardous waste like asbestos and mercury contained in many of the vessels sold to the scrapyards. The founder of Shipbreaking Platform said: “Many more workers succumb to occupational disease and cancers years after they have worked at the yards because they are exposed on a daily basis to toxic fumes and materials at the yard.”
Wealthy companies can make millions selling ships for demolition, but workers are only paid about 35p an hour.
Despite the conditions in the shipyards, workers are too afraid to speak out because they will be fired which will leave their families in difficult situations.
The industry has also taken a toll on the environment in Alang. The way ships are dismantled make it almost impossible to contain pollution. As there are no docks or harbours, the ships are beached and sit in the open water as they are cut apart, allowing waste to wash in and out with the tide.
Scientific studies have identified unsafe levels of poisonous heavy metals in the waters around the town, including iron, mercury, copper, zinc and lead.
Fishing was once the most important business in Alang, but the nets have grown empty since shipbreaking took over in the 1980’s. a community leader from a nearby town says their catch of fish has gone down by 75% as there aren’t many fish in the sea. The fish that are left may not even be safe to eat as one study in 2010 found they contained dangerously high concentrations of poisonous metals.
Is it possible that the attitude shown by these companies is totally unacceptable?
These companies are abusing these people and the environment simply because they know they can.
They know they can because of the poverty levels and desperation of the local people.
Is it possible that they have no respect for the harm and suffering that is being caused to both human life and the environment and their only motives are to make as much money as possible?
To pay a worker about 35p an hour whilst the company is making millions of £’s shows the contempt that they have for equality and fairness.
To treat the environment in this way shows the contempt they have for the Earth and those who live nearby.
Is it possible that there is something wrong with human life if we are able to – and are willing to – treat another human being in this way?
Is it possible that there is something wrong with human life if we are able to – and are willing to – be completely disregardful of the pollution that Mother Earth has to endure?
Businesses are going to produce waste, that is acceptable, but to take no responsibility in disposing of that waste is not acceptable.
Mother Earth is having waste dumped on her in huge quantities.
Is it any wonder Mother Earth has to clear all of this waste by means of what we call catastrophic events?
Rolling Stone – 3rd March 2020
How Big Oil and Big Soda Kept a Global Environmental Calamity a Secret for Decades
According to an academic study sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, every human on Earth is ingesting nearly 2,000 particles of plastic a week.
These tiny pieces enter our unwitting bodies from tap water, food and even the air, dosing us with five grams of plastics, many cut with chemicals linked to cancers, hormone disruption and developmental delays.
A US senator, who has been speaking out about this at events, says: “We are consuming a credit card’s worth of plastic each week.”
With new legislation, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020, the Senator is attempting to marshal Washington into a confrontation with the plastics industry, and to force companies that profit from plastics to take accountability for the waste they create. The bill would ban many single-use plastics and force corporations to finance “end of life” programs to keep plastic out of the environment. The senator said: “We are going back to that principle. The polluter pays.”
The Senator and his allies in Congress will be up against some of the most powerful corporate interests on the planet, including the oil majors and chemical giants that produce the building blocks for our modern plastic world. Big Plastic isn’t a single entity. It’s more like a corporate supergroup: Big Oil meets Big Soda with Big Tobacco now entering the mix – responsible for trillions of plastic cigarette butts in the environment every year. And it combines the lobbying and public-relations might of all three.
Humans are now using a million plastic bottles a minute, and 500 billion plastic bags a year – including those we use to bag up our plastic-laden trash.
But the world’s plastic waste is not so easily contained. Massive quantities of this forever material are spilling into the oceans – the equivalent of a dump-truck load every minute. Plastic is also fouling our mountains, our farmland, and spiralling into an unmitigatable environmental disaster. A marine biologist who leads the Oceans Campaign for Greenpeace said: “This is a much bigger problem than ‘just an ocean issue, or even a pollution issue. We’ve found plastic everywhere we’ve ever looked. It’s in the Arctic and the Antarctic and in the middle of the Pacific. It’s in the Pyrenees and in the Rockies. It’s settling out of the air. It’s raining down on us.”
More than half the plastic now on Earth has been created since 2002, and plastic pollution is on pace to double by 2030.
According to a landmark 2017 study published in the journal Science Advances, since 1950, the world has created 6.3 trillion kilograms of plastic waste – and 91 per cent has never been recycled even once. Unlike aluminium, which can be recycled again and again, plastic degrades in reprocessing, and is almost never recycled more than once.
Modern technology has hardly improved things. Of the 78 billion kilograms of plastic packaging materials produced in 2013, only 14 per cent were even collected for recycling and just two per cent were effectively recycled to compete with virgin plastic. The Science authors write, “Recycling delays, rather than avoids, final disposal. And most plastics persist for centuries.”
The Basel Action Network (BAN) is devoted to enforcement of the Basel Convention – an international treaty that blocks the developed world from dumping hazardous wastes on the developing world. The executive director of BAN said: “Plastics are just a way of making things out of fossil fuels. They really sold people on the idea that plastics can be recycled because there’s a fraction of them that are. It’s fraudulent. When you drill down into plastics recycling, you realise it’s a myth.”
The worst of our global plastics crisis is borne by the oceans. Roughly 8 billion kilograms of plastics enter the world’s waters every year. An engineering professor at the University of Georgia says: “The volume entering oceans can be hard to comprehend. It’s equal to five grocery-size bags full of plastic for every foot of coastline in the world. If you imagine us all standing, hand-to-hand, covering the coastline of the entire world, this is what’s in front of each one of us.”
It would be fair to say that the introduction of plastics has been, to use a well know phrase, a double edged sword.
Practically everything we use on a daily basis has some form of plastic in it and on one hand the plasticisation of our lives has made many things more accessible and cheaper for us, but the cost of this in terms of our health and the environment seems to far outweigh any benefits.
Therein lies the problem. We are now so dependent on plastics and the comforts that this material brings, that to force any changes in legislation regarding the manufacturing process would come up against a lot of resistance.
As always, it is much easier to blame the manufacturers, the governments, the conglomerates and the supermarkets, than it is to look at our own responsibilities in this matter.
But, we are the ones that keep asking for our lives to be made easier.
Is it possible that changes can only be made when we are willing to change ourselves?
ITV.com – 14 April 2020
Coronavirus Lockdown Sees Huge Rise in Fly-Tipping Across UK
There has been a huge spike in fly-tipping in some parts of the UK during the Coronavirus lockdown.
The Countryside Alliance reports a 300% rise in fly-tipping in some areas after local authorities closed recycling centres amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Many councils have shut waste recycling centres during the Coronavirus crisis to concentrate on kerbside collections.
The rural communities campaign group blame people using the lockdown to have a “clear-out of homes and gardens” and dumping the resulting rubbish illegally.
The increase in fly-tipping is putting added pressure on local authorities already struggling to cope with maintaining services while ensuring the safety of their staff.
While local authorities struggle to maintain basic services, the fight against fly-tipping has been largely left to campaigners and members of the public.
People have been sharing pictures of piles of rubbish left on verges and in fields on social media as environmental campaign groups urge the public to dispose of their waste responsibly during the Covid-19 lockdown.
An app that allows the public to report fly-tipping, shows nearly 4,000 examples of fly-tipping in England alone.
A huge pile of rubbish was found dumped in Leicestershire in front of a sign that warned fly-tipping offenders they faced a prison sentence or fine. The debris included a bath, mattresses, bed frames, broken mirrors, toys and general household waste.
It would be very easy here to blame the councils for shutting the recycling centres and saying ‘what did you expect’ but like all industries, Covid -19 is taking its toll on staff numbers and the councils are only prioritising the necessary work.
Without any doubt whatsoever, WE are the ones who need to take RESPONSIBILITY.
We do not go out with a van load of rubbish and it ‘somehow falls out the back’.
This is human nature taking advantage of a situation that is beyond anyone’s control.
This is a deliberate pre-meditated act and one that WE need to take Responsibility for.
The local councillor of the Leicestershire incident described it as “disgusting” and I agree with him.
These actions are disgusting and totally unacceptable and it simply shows that, for some, even with or without the incidence of a global pandemic, self-interest is all that matters.
Once upon a time – a few decades ago, I recall being overwhelmed by the state of our world waste and what I was reading. Landfill became a big issue for me and I knew there was no way campaigning or banging on about our waste would do any good.
What I know today from my way of Living is that each of us as individuals – the microcosm have an affect on the whole – the macrocosm. So how I operate in my life does have an impact regardless of how small my contribution is.
We have become a throwaway society and our resources are not being seen as valuable or precious in any way.
WHY on earth would someone sit and spend time cleaning something and making it last longer when it can be replaced by the click on the screen and delivered the next day?
This is what modern day living gives us, if we choose to align to that way OR we could consider another way.
On that note, I made the choice to deal with our cutlery rack today. It is quite old and living in a hard water area the build up of limescale is fast and thick.
I recalled a friend sharing about soaking it in a vinegar solution which we can get from the supermarket – so I did it by pouring the whole bottle concentrated in a small bowl and bingo some hours later the hard crust of limescale just came off.
I used a brillo pad to shine up the stainless steel bit and the hard plastic with a scourer and washing up liquid.
Whilst doing this simple task I realised that this can be repeated in future and chances are it will continue to serve us and not need to end up in landfill.
Not being concerned at all about having things matching, colour co ordinated or fancy in my kitchen, this will work as it is practical and does a job. In my world that means it has a purpose and so it continues to be part of our home.
The joy I felt inside me was that there was no ‘overwhelming’ feeling at all because I know that the choices I make everyday and the way I live is not adding to the harm on this planet.
Of course I am not perfect, just human, so this is not saying I got it all nailed but it has taken away any need to try and fix this world when I know something is not right.
My contribution however small is like a small ripple in the water and it does make a difference. Banging on about the state of our world and the waste we create will get me no where. Dealing with the limescale on my cutlery rack and restoring it back to life makes a difference and I just know that.
Daily Mail – 30 May 2020
Dr. Max – NHS Psychiatrist is having his say on his weekly page about our Waste.
He tells us that he is aware we are in the middle of a pandemic but it should not be an excuse for all the litter accumulating on our streets.
Discarded face masks and gloves are the latest addition to street waste.
From a psychological perspective, he goes on to say that piles of litter send a message of decay, disinterest and disrespect, which can encourage further anti-social behaviour. Putting litter in the bin should be mandatory and the failure to do so punishable.
We could say this is one man’s opinion and because he has the formal qualifications that society wants, many of us would take note.
For those who just do what they want and how they want with no care or consideration to others or the environment – let us use common sense.
What would common sense say here to all of us?
Everything has a knock on effect. So if we want to trash our streets as we can’t be bothered to find a bin or take it home and use our own bin then we add to the dis-regard in our neighbourhood, community and town. This means others see it and think it’s ok for them to do the same as they too can’t be bothered.
However, if we made a commitment to not do it and never do it then that too has a ripple effect so to speak.
Good old fashion common sense works and whilst we call it ‘old fashion’ it has stood the test of time as we quote it today. On that note, the old fashion way, which had decency and respect on the list of human behaviour qualities speaks volumes. If it was on our foundational list of values that we uphold, we would not even be talking about the trash on our streets.
Sky News – 14th June 2020
Portugal – ‘Europe’s Dumping Ground’ Suspends Waste Imports Over Landfill Concerns
Portugal, which traditionally takes in large amounts of rubbish from other countries, has stopped taking waste from abroad to protect its domestic landfill capacity during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Covid-19 crisis has led to more domestic waste being generated and the Portuguese government intends to temporarily ban imports until the end of the year. Many residents hope that will become permanent as the fight against imported rubbish for domestic landfill gathers pace.
On a hillside in the village of Sobrado in Northern Portugal, one resident looks out over the place she has called home for most of her life, but the vista is now interrupted by a giant landfill site.
As she watches, lorries dump more rubbish onto the Earth and she says the situation has now become intolerable. In the warmer months in particular, she said the smell and the insects have blighted everyday life for people. Children don’t play outside and often residents have to keep their windows closed. She said: “I feel a big sadness for being Portuguese and for Portugal as it’s receiving waste from so many countries. It feels like we are on sale. Portugal is such a beautiful country and has so much to offer. Why are we being recognised as Europe’s dumping ground? That’s really bad.”
What is a local issue in Sobrado has now become a topic of national debate in Portugal, which according to the latest figures imported over 220,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste in 2018.
A third of that waste came from the UK. The attraction of Portugal to other nations has been cost. The low waste management fees means it costs around 11 euros (£9.80) to process a tonne of rubbish compared with the European average of around 80 euros (£72).
The fresh waste being deposited in Sobrado sits on top of compacted rubbish going tens of metres down, and the site is not even half full yet. Close by is a school where some parents don’t want to send their children because of the smell.
The mayor of the municipality where Sobrado sits is passionate in his opposition to a form of disposal he says makes no sense in the 21st century.
He says: “It’s a hole, that’s what we have. It’s a landfill. They are putting waste in a hole. They are not recycling it. So something is wrong. It doesn’t create added value. There is zero added value.”
He intends to push for the current ban on imports to be made permanent, unless Portugal finds ways to use foreign waste for other uses. The residents of Sobrado insist they don’t want the rest of the world simply filling their land with waste anymore.
How the Portuguese government can allow their country to be the waste dumping ground for other countries and then, the disposal of that waste for a fraction of what other countries charge is a matter for them to consider, but because of this extremely low comparative price, it stands to reason that every country would be lining up their waste to dump on Portugal.
What the Mayor says in regards to it just being a hole is very accurate.
Having worked for a lorry company where I would deliver a 40ft trailer to a landfill site, it is exactly as he says:
• It gets dumped
• Huge heavy vehicles compact it down
• It gets covered in soil when full
• It looks like a hill or mountain
All manner of waste will be deposited in these landfills and it will probably sit there for centuries.
I occasionally pass this site where I used to deliver the waste and I look up at it and it looks like any other natural hill – but underneath this man made surface lies a toxic environment – a toxic environment that we expect and are willing to allow Mother Earth to deal with.
As humans, we create something and that creation produces waste. Without giving any serious thought to the disposal of this waste, we simply bury it to give the impression that it is dealt with.
And, in truth, if we were to be honest, is it possible that we don’t really care if it is put into landfill?
Is it possible that, just so long as we don’t have to see it every day, it doesn’t affect our view, our way of life, our comfort, we are quite happy for Mother Earth to be poisoned in this way?
The Responsibility lies with every one of us here in ensuring that our waste is disposed of in the correct manner.
The irony here is that we wouldn’t treat our homes like this but Mother Earth is our home and she is home to all of us.
Why do we feel it is OK to treat her in any way other than how we treat our own homes?
This comment sticks out for me as it tells me that SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.
We are seeking solutions and this waste situation is getting worse.
Think about it – a country saying we will take on your waste – dump it here at el cheapo prices and bingo they suddenly become known for being the dumping ground of Europe.
The people that live there are saying No and it may get to the point that the country does act on this and stops more waste arriving on their land.
What next? What happens to our waste that our own country cannot deal with?
Should we at this stage ask the WHY question or HOW, or shall we just leave it to those whose job it is to find alternative solutions?
Will we be up in arms one day if our waste and refuse collection fees sky rocket but until then let’s just ignore what’s going on as long as we don’t have to do anything more?
Have we stopped and taken stock of our behaviour and the waste we produce in just our own home?
Have we clocked the waste out on our streets, in our neighbourhood, our communities and towns and ever wondered where on earth does this all end up?
What happens to our discarded items that no longer have use in our life?
What happens to all the things we suddenly find are not usefull as lockdown has highlighted this for us as it’s taking up way too much space in our residence?
What happens to the daily and weekly waste we produce just from our food?
And so it goes on…and on…
How are we going to turn the tides?
Could it be possible that each of us as individuals need to take a closer look at our own way of living and see where we neglect when it comes to waste?
While we are at it, we could be honest and take a good look at where else in our life we live with neglect and expect others to do their job and not see it as part of the Whole.
In other words, we are not quite getting it that everything is everything and everything actually matters and that includes what happens to our waste that we create on a daily basis and the impact it has on others, our environment and our whole planet.
It was Monday morning and I went for my daily walk. This day I chose to walk through a local park.
This park has a fairly large area for car parking and as I approached this area I noticed that there was a lot of litter strewn on the approach to and around the car park; giant size crisp packets, bottles of drink, sweet/chocolate wrappers, coffee cups, etc. and the bin was overflowing and there was rubbish all around the bin.
As I walked through the park, they have bins located at regular intervals, and every bin was either full, overflowing or had rubbish at the base of the bin.
Several bins had carrier bags dumped inside or on the ground along with supermarket food containers and disposable barbecues. Some bins had bottles of beer just left on the ground.
One bin had 10 large bottles of beer and 13 cans of beer all strewn around the bin – not close to the bin, but up to about 10 feet away.
Of course, this discarded rubbish is like an invitation to dinner for the foxes and any other scavengers, so some of the rubbish bags had been split open and their contents spread around.
I wondered what had happened here – was there a big ‘party in the park’ or some other function?
I realised it was a simple case of it being a Sunday, there being warmish weather and people just getting out because they have been in lockdown.
For a race of so-called intelligent beings, I cannot see the intelligence in this behaviour.
How did we get to the point where we feel it is OK to behave in this way?
It is obvious that this rubbish is not going to be left there permanently, which means that someone else has to clean it all up.
Where is our Responsibility?
Where is our integrity?
Where is our common decency?
Is it possible that, apart from affecting the people who have to clean it up – it affects the World we live in?
We have one World and we all live in this World together.
Why should Mother Earth have to endure this complete disregard?
Why should Mother Earth have to endure piles of rubbish dumped on her?
A lot of planning and organising goes into our days out but yet; planning to dispose of our waste never seems to come into the equation.
Would we treat our own homes in this manner?
In our own homes, we would bag up all of our rubbish and dispose of it correctly.
Are we of the opinion that just because it is not our home, we can treat it any way we choose?
What would it be like if we were seeing the park setting equally the same as our home – no differentiation – treated with the same respect – everything the same – One Life?
How would that look?
The Guardian – 2 July 2020
$10 billion worth of copper, gold, silver and platinum and other precious metals are dumped each year in a fast growing mountain of toxic e-waste that is polluting the planet and damaging health, according to a new report from the United Nations Global E-Waste Monitor.
54 million tonnes of “e-waste” was generated worldwide in 2019.
This is equivalent to 7.5 kg for every person on Earth including children.
THE AMOUNT OF E-WASTE IS RISING 3 TIMES FASTER THAN THE WORLD’S POPULATION.
Only 17% of is was recycled in 2019
In modern society, electronic and electrical goods, from phones and computers to kettles and refrigerators have become indispensable. They often contain toxic chemicals and soaring production and waste damages human health and our environment.
The report blames lack of regulation and the short lifespan of products that are hard or impossible to repair. Experts call this situation a “wholly preventable global scandal”.
22.4 kg per person – Northern Europe produced the most electronic waste
21.3 kg per person – Australia and New Zealand
20.9 kg per person – U.S. and Canada
5.6 kg per person – across Asia
2.5 kg per person – Africa
The above confirms that the e-waste is concentrated in the so-called richer nations.
WHY are we burning or dumping instead of recycling?
Precious metals in e-waste are estimated to be worth $14 billion.
It is estimated that 50 tonnes of mercury from monitors, energy saving light bulbs and other e-waste is dumped each year.
Gases released from discarded fridges and air conditioning units were equivalent to 98 metric tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide in 2019.
An author of the report highlights that e-waste is a very big problem because the amount is growing at a very rapid pace each year and the level of recycling is just not keeping up.
“It is important to put a price on the pollution – at the moment it is simply free to pollute” says Kees Balde from the UN University based in Bonn.
This news story tells us that the biggest problem is that in many countries, there are no collection systems in place.
“The companies that bring the equipment on the market are not being held accountable for the end of life disposal” says Mijke Hertoghs at the UN’s International Telecommunication Union.
He continues to say “If collection and recycling were better organised, the economies of scale would go up. There would be income for many people creating a new economy and new jobs. Recycling would also cut the environmental impact of mining for new metal: one gram of gold has a massive footprint”.
According to the World Health Organization – Improper e-waste recycling is a major emerging hazard, silently affecting our health and that of future generations.
1 in 4 childhood deaths resulted from pollution, including e-waste.
Has Libby Peake from Green Alliance got a point when she says “Products could be designed to last, to be repaired and just as crucially, to be upgraded. Ensuring the system keeps electronic products in circulation would create hundreds of thousands of jobs…there is no excuse for leaving this scandal un-addressed”.
How many of us are even aware of the huge scale electronic waste problem that is worldwide?
We seek to have the latest mobile phone or two and we discard our computers, laptops and TVs like there is an abundance out there and we can have it without ever considering what happens to the old stuff and where will it end up.
We have lifestyle choices and we want what we want when it comes to our fridges and everything else electrical in our homes. Again, most of us have no respect, no regard and no real relationship with ‘items’ so where they end up after we buy the new stuff is not our business, thank you very much. But what if it is our whole and true Responsibility to see it through to the end and make it our business to know and deal with it?
This waste article and ALL the comments thereafter posted, brings to the fore a much needed call to action – our wayward behaviours when it comes to waste of any kind is not acceptable because we are destroying the Earth we enhouse.
Let’s stop the blame game and let’s stop waiting for our governments to get on the front foot. Time we looked at everything we own and how we deal with it when we replace it – big or small, it matters not because everything matters regardless of size or cost.
The Conversation – 10th July 2020
Global Electronic Waste up 21% in Five Years and Recycling Isn’t Keeping Up
Each year the total amount of electronic and electronic equipment the world uses grows by 2.5 million tonnes. Phones, radios, toys, laptops – if it has a power or battery supply it’s likely to join a growing mountain of ‘e-waste’ after use.
In 2019 alone, the world generated 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste. That’s about 7.3 kilograms per person and equivalent in weight to 350 cruise ships. Asia produced the most with 24.9 million tonnes followed by the US with 13.1 million tonnes and Europe with 12 million tonnes.
By 2030, the global total is likely to swell to 74.7 million tonnes, almost a doubling of the annual amount of new e-waste in just 16 years. This makes it the fastest growing domestic waste stream, fuelled mainly by more people buying electronic products with shorter life cycles and fewer options for repair.
These products can help improve living standards and it’s good that more and more people can afford them. But growing global demand is outpacing our capacity to recycle or dispose of electronics safely. Once they are obsolete and discarded, these products can end up accumulating in the environment, polluting habitat and harming people and wildlife.
Only 17.4% of 2019’s e-waste was formally collected and recycled.
Since 2014, the amount of recycled e-waste has grown by 1.8 million tonnes each year. T
he total amount of e-waste generated increased by 9.2 million tonnes over the same period. At the same time, the amount of undocumented e-waste is increasing.
In high income countries, around 8% of e-waste is thought to be discarded in waste bins, while 7% – 20% is exported. In lower income countries, the picture is less clear, as e-waste is mostly managed informally.
Without a reliable system of waste management, toxic substances contained in e-waste, such as mercury, brominated flame retardants, chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons, are more likely to be released into the environment and harm the people who live, work and play in e-waste scrapyards.
Mercury is used in computer monitors and fluorescent lighting, but exposure to it can cause brain damage.
It is estimated that about 50 tonnes of mercury is contained in these undocumented flows of e-waste that end up in the environment each year.
E-waste doesn’t just pose a health risk though. It also contributes directly to global warming. Dumped temperature-exchange equipment, found in fridges and air conditioners, can slowly release greenhouse gases. About 98 million tonnes are thought to leak from scrapyards each year, equivalent to 0.3% of global emissions from the energy sector.
Aside from toxins, e-waste also contains precious metals and useful raw materials, such as gold, silver, copper and platinum. The total value of all this discarded e-waste in 2019 has been conservatively valued at US $57 billion (£45 billion) – a sum greater than the GDP of most countries.
But since only 17.4% of 2019’s e-waste was collected and recycled, just US $10 billion of this was recovered in an environmentally responsible way. Only 4 million tonnes of raw materials was made available for recycling.
Technology has without doubt made our lives a lot more comfortable but at what cost?
Are having the latest advances worth the harm it is doing to not only ourselves, but to Mother Earth as well?
Most of us may not think we are directly impacted by the mountains of e-waste, but we are and with 50 tonnes of mercury ending up in the environment each year, Mother Earth is certainly being affected.
Do manufacturers need to make their appliances more user friendly?
Do manufacturers need to make their appliances with more life span?
Do retailers need to incentivise consumers by offering a refund on all items returned, just like we used to have with bottles?
Does the government need to bring in legislation to ensure companies abide by the above?
Does the government need to ensure there are adequate recycling facilities to dispose of all of this e-waste?
It is possible that Yes can be the answer to all of these questions but, do we the consumer, have any responsibility here?
Do we the consumer, NEED to buy the latest gadget ‘just because we can’?
Is our need to ‘keep up with the Jones’ fuelling our e-waste?
Do we need to be more proactive in disposing of our expired e-waste?
Yes, governments, manufacturers and retailers definitely need to up their responsibility regarding extending the shelf life, making them easier to repair and the introducing responsible recycling of these products, but we are the ones that are buying these products.
Our lifestyle is harming the planet we live on – are WE going to start to make the responsible changes that are needed?
Daily Mail – 18 July 2020
A man went on a mission to walk the coast of Britain with his dog collecting litter.
He walked 4,500 miles over 4 years and said –
“I have seen with my own eyes how the world’s litter washes up on our shores and I can see quite clearly how we are contributing to that problem ourselves. We have become so detached from nature and the big outdoors.
There is a blanket of rubbish covering our entire country. It is disgusting.
A generation have grown up so used to seeing litter everywhere, they do not even see it anymore. They have become litter blind.”
This man now gives talks on the scrouge of rubbish to more than 100 schools and says that this is not just a problem for coastal communities.
He goes on to say “How did we acquire this terrible culture of trashing our most beautiful beaches?”
So where do we start and does the blame game get us anywhere?
Judging others and finger pointing does not offer any opportunity to change.
If we read this blog and all the comments thereafter, we could say that our world has a major waste issue and as each of us individuals create this world, then we are part of that problem.
How do we live in our private life when it comes to waste?
Are we the same when we go out socially or on holiday or do we have different standards?
What about our workplace?
Are we ignoring that collective waste needs a lot more action so how are we contributing to this?
Are we the ones who think ‘others do it, so it is ok’ when we know full well it is not?
Are we the ones who bang on about our world and its waste but forget to do our bit every single day when it comes to our personal trash?
Are we in the mode where we want others to clear and clean up our waste as it’s not something we have time for, as we are way too busy?
Back to this man on the beaches – can we agree that coastal communities are not the ones doing this – it is us the visitors who think we have a licence to have a good time and leave our rubbish, as taking it home or to the nearest bin is way too much effort?
What if we all started taking RESPONSIBILITY for our waste and that means dealing with it daily and then reviewing what we actually discard and seeing if there is another way to minimise our contribution so we know we are doing our bit, so to speak?
Today is International E-Waste Day – 14 October 2020
How many of us are really aware about electronic waste?
How many of us have no idea where things end up, once we get rid of them?
Did we know that e-waste includes washing machines, drills and other electrical equipment, televisions, computers, printers and vacuum cleaners?
Europe is known as the lead in the world in e-waste recycling. However, only 42.5% of electronic waste is officially reported as collected and recycled.
The lack of public awareness is preventing countries from developing circular economies for electronic equipment.
53.6 million metric tonnes of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019. This is a rise of 21% in 5 years. The United Nations estimate that by 2030 this will reach 74 million metric tonnes.
What we all need to be aware of is that only 17.4% of last years e-waste was recycled.
This means 44.3 million metric tonnes of e-waste valued at US $57 billion was illegally traded, treated in a sub-standard way, burned or placed in landfill. This is happening despite 71% of the world’s population being covered by e-waste legislation.
Are we aware that this results in an enormous loss of valuable and critical raw materials from the supply chain and it also causes serious health, environmental and societal issues through illegal shipments of waste to developing countries?
Is one day enough to raise awareness and inform consumers to recycle their electronic waste?
How can we get the message across the globe and does this have something to do with Personal Responsibility?
Are we ready first and foremost to get real and get honest?
How many of us are pretty careless and contribute to a careless society?
How many of us would like to be responsible and do our bit, but we just don’t seem to get off our butt and make the necessary changes?
How many of us can’t be bothered to take the extra steps needed to safely dispose of our electronic waste where it can be recycled and is not going to end up in a landfill somewhere?
How many of us struggle with the general every day trash and rarely do the recycling so the thought of finding out how to deal with electronic waste would seem a huge task, so we ignore the whole thing and remain blind to the facts and what we need to do in the Responsibility department.
It is great to hear that this forum has a theme for today and that is education.
Their aim is to sensitise the younger audience around e-waste issues and bring up a new generation of responsible consumers. They hope this message will also be heard among their families, teachers and local communities.
These are words from an organisation hoping all those who hear about this International day will take note and make the necessary changes that are needed when it comes to electronic waste. But what about our waste in general?
How are our youth with this and what is their relationship when it comes to everyday waste being recycled?
Does out audience need to be educated at the home level first?
In other words, do our children need to be aware of recycling and what it is about and why and how etc., ?
Do our kids know they are not to throw litter on the streets of anywhere else except a trash bin?
Do our kids have double standards and do it sometimes and are not consistent?
Is it cool for our youth to not adhere to supporting the recycling process that our planet needs to sustain resources and bring an end to un-necessary waste?
Would the younger generations benefit from reading this blog about our world waste?
Could they then go on to read the whole category on this website about waste?
Is this the type of education we need to bring into the school agenda from day dot, if we are to see and sustain any real change that has a lasting impact?
Simple Living Global are on the front foot presenting much needed topics that would be of value to any reader at any age. A library about how to live human life, because there is another way and we can all start with caring for ourselves and others and our environment.
Metro News – 20 October 2020
Two popular well known cans of beer have stopped using plastic rings. They are to be replaced with recyclable wraps or paperboard packs to cut down on 250 tons of plastic a year.
Can we just stop and take note of this tiny news story that most of us would miss?
If we can join the dots we could say that is a huge amount of plastic in one year alone.
Then we could dig a bit deeper and note that it is not the whole can but just the plastic ring that holds the cans together. In other words, making it easy for us to carry.
Have we wondered where has all those tons of plastic ended up over the years?
Have we asked ourselves how much beer consumption is going on if just 2 brands of beer cans are producing 250 tons every 52 weeks?
Have we realised that this can drink – known as a scientifically proven poison that we call alcohol is very popular indeed and the suppliers will do their bit and if the cost of this new paperboard is going to be more, then no doubt the consumers will be paying for it.
But what about the cost to mother earth?
Dumping more onto her or are we all going to admit we respect our planet and we do our utmost consistently to recycle everything that we possibly can?
Are those who are enjoying beer cans really interested in the environment and if they are, will they ensure their new paperboard packaging is going to end up where it needs to go – in the recycle bin? Or do we not bother with all that stuff as we are not interested in anything other than drinking and socialising as that’s what we always do?
How many of us are genuinely interested in the waste we produce and where it will end up?
Metro News – 20 October 2020
Water employees were called out to deal with a blockage to find 40 lbs of congealed wet wipes.
A survey conducted has revealed that 1 in 5 people still flush wet wipes, most of which contain plastic so they do not disintegrate down the toilet despite warnings of blockages and ‘fatbergs’.
Our sewers are simply not designed for the modern comforts that have become our normal.
Wet wipes are part of modern day living and our lack of awareness is creating problems.
We need to educate everyone and it has to start now.
If our kids see parents or elder siblings doing what they want, they may pick up the behaviour and think it ok to trash waste as they want. They grow up not listening to those supposedly barking orders and telling them what to do, when they themselves are not consistent or committed in their own movements – of living in a way that is decent and respectful to their environment.
What if we had basic education – bog standard stuff like toilet talk on the school agenda?
We seem to know how to calculate and manipulate figures and work out what we want, but we seemed to miss the basic foundational stuff like wiping our bums and what works and what is clearly not permissible.
What if we teach our kids what happens if we ever make a wrong move and flush a wet wipe?
What if we ask them to police their parents and educate them as to why they are not allowed to carry out such a behaviour as it has consequences they may not be aware of?
How may of our kids are struggling with the education system that wants memory recall and yet we forget about bum hygiene and how it affects ALL of us and our planet?
Let’s get real – we all go to the toilet every single day but we have no education or guidelines to support us in school life about this much needed topic.
On that note, a blog well worth reading on this website – TOILET TALK.
Sky News – 2 December 2020
Plastic waste can travel thousands of kilometres in a few months according to scientists.
Rivers transport up to 80% of the plastic pollution found in oceans.
Researchers from the University of Exeter fitted plastic bottles with GPS trackers which traveled through the river into the Bay of Bengal. They also released 3 bottles directly into the Bay of Bengal to look at the path followed by litter once it reaches the sea.
The data published tells us the bottles travelled 1,768 miles in 94 days.
Bottles at sea covered far greater distances, following coastal currents at first but then dispersing more widely.
The lead author said this could be used to teach about plastic pollution in schools.
We would all agree this would be great but what about teaching the rest of us who are most likely the main contributors of plastic pollution and other waste?
Education is needed where we understand what the consequences are with our choices when it comes to our waste. Most of us have a don’t care, can’t be bothered attitude or we think it’s a menial job and not something worth getting into and here we have it a huge global crisis with waste problems everywhere.
If we start with our own homes and get very real and honest we may wake up and realise our half hearted approach about recycling affects our planet and ALL of us.
There is way too much packaging going on with foods and beverages and our throwaway culture is breeding generations that are not aware of how much is ending up in our landfills and oceans.
Our education system is not teaching the young (our future adult population) that every choice we make has a consequence and if they knew the harm to the oceans they would be policing their parents, the streets and everywhere they go.
Kids seem to care about these things and seem more serious about taking action.
What does that say about the rest of us as adults who are certainly not being real role models?
Guardian News – 19 February 2021
It has taken workers 2 weeks to clear another “fatberg” from a London sewer.
The public are being asked once again, to stick to the 3 P’s for the toilet flushing business.
Pee, Poo and Paper. Nothing more.
High powered water jets and hand tools were used to chip away and eventually remove the rock-like heap, which was said to smell like composting festival toilets and rotten meat.
Engineers said that the fatberg was clogging long sections of the sewer and could have spilled sewage into people’s homes if it had grown any further.
Fatbergs are formed when oil, grease and fat are poured down drains combined with non-biodegradable items such as wet wipes, nappies, sanitary towels, condoms and cotton buds.
Thames Water spent £18 million a year to clear 75,000 blockages from London sewers.
140 tonnes of fatbergs were removed by them in 2019.
There has been a series of fatbergs removed in recent years – see link
The forensic analysis revealed that cooking fat is the biggest contributor, making up nearly 90% of the supersize fatberg found underneath the streets of South Bank in central London.
Fatbergs are part of a growing urban problem across the UK as the sewage infrastructure struggles to cope with the population’s changing habits.
Tests show some wet wipes, including brands labelled as flushable are not able to disintegrate in a sewer.
The fatberg autopsy uncovered evidence of Britons’ contact with street and pharmaceutical drugs, including small plastic bags with a needle and syringe. Also, a high proportion of chemicals found in topical creams for acne and paracetamol.
Hordenine and ostarine represented over half the proportion of pharmaceuticals found.
These drugs are found in performance-enhancing sports supplements. Ostarine is used for muscle gain and is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list and is not licensed for medical use in the UK.
This comment is to bring awareness, as many of us are living our life quite remote from news like this and may think we have nothing to do with it.
How careless are we when it comes to flushing stuff down the toilet?
Are we very good and follow the guidance with our common-sense old fashion ways?
Are we all over the place so to speak and anything goes with a flush, so we put things down the toilet that were never meant to end up there?
What about the kitchen sink?
Are we meticulous when it comes to our oil and do we all know that some hot oil when cooled down turns to fat and so while we pour it into our sink it may seem ok but the harm it does on its way to the sewers is what this news article is alerting us to?
Furthermore, how exposing is this to find out about those performance-enhancing sports drugs.
Is this telling us more and more of us are up to ingesting these to look the part and that means have the desired body, with some help from the pharmaceutical drugs. Has it become so normal that we no longer see it as wrong and harmfull in any way?
The autopsy mentions the small plastic bags with a needle and syringe.
Does this tell us more or would we rather not go there as life has made us inject drugs that we know have huge effects not only on our body but on everyone around us?
This comment is about our irresponsible behaviour when it comes to waste.
Is it time to look at the word RESPONSIBILITY and consider making choices with that word consistently at the front?
Green Matters – 15 April 2021
The Guardian – 13 April 2021
There are 1,570 Superfund sites all over America. The federal government has designated them a national priority to clean up. 30 sites are non-existent and many have been hit by natural disasters, leaving them “unstable” and at risk of overflowing toxic chemicals into nearby communities and waterways.
According to a large scale study https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-22249-2
Living near one could take a year off your life.
In places with an even higher concentration of waste sites, like Texas Harris County, it could be a few years.
There are of course downsides to living near superfund sites. Many landfills across the United States accept toxic waste and hazardous chemicals, which wreaks havoc on the surrounding eco-systems, as well as nearby communities. Government promises to clean up these designated dumping areas have not all been effective with some left for decades.
According to the Center for Health, Environment and Justice “Research has shown higher levels of cancer, birth defects, developmental disabilities and other serious health issues in communities near Superfund sites.”
Children that live near superfund sites are more prone to childhood cancer and decreased cognitive functioning and various behaviorial problems. Pregnant women living near these sites are more susceptible to miscarriages, various illnesses and birthing a child with congenital birth defects. The elderly are at a higher risk of developing health problems in relation to the toxic chemicals in the environment. It comes with an effect on the local economy as living near a superfund site is viewed as undesirable.
While we all wait for our governments to act, what can we do about this?
There is zero value or purpose in campaigning and shouting from the roof tops as this will not bring about any real change.
We can sit around for higher taxes for waste and then kick up a storm as we don’t like paying such a high price for our waste.
We can feel sorry for those that end up living near superfund sites or landfills in our countries and just leave it at that.
We can take action by simply talking to others in our daily conversations to bring more awareness as the masses really seem to not know about these kind of things.
We can also look at our waste and our Responsibility and where we could make some serious changes and adjustments.
Question – how much are we as individuals contributing to landfill these days?
How were we a year ago and have we got better or have our waste habits got worse?
How honest are we about the way we really deal with all our waste and do we care?
How much are we willing to go out of our way to ensure we do not contribute to un-necessary waste that ends up in landfill?
How many of us are helping others in the community to re-cycle more of their waste and consider looking at how they are contributing to landfill and these superfund sites?
It is easy and simple to just pay the bucks and get the rubbish out. We see it as our trash or house move and that means get rid of the old and buy more to fill up the new home.
How easy is it to not even consider that everything that we just trashed for landfill comes with an environmental cost, but we don’t care as we don’t have the time to deal with it all?
AND finally, these news stories mention the industrial scale toxic waste of chemicals and liquids.
WHY does this happen and how does any industry big or small get away with this?
We are guardians and custodians of this planet that we occupy, so to speak.
Our behaviour when it comes to waste is way off the scale of neglect, dis-regard, dis-respectful and inconsiderate to say the least. In fact, with the recent lockdown and our online excess consuming habits, it would be real to say we have even more waste than ever before.
We are producing waste that is far in excess of what is needed and yet we continue. Some of us champion and campaign and yet it falls on deaf ears as the masses continue doing what they do because they can.
What if we as individuals can make a difference simply by starting with our own homes and our own lives? Real change does not have to be big, but small steps daily and consistently can and will make a difference, even if it feels like just a drop in the ocean.
Huffington Post – 16 April 2021
UK – disposing of unsuitable items cost charities hundreds and thousands of pounds a year.
Due to lockdown restrictions, many of us have been forced to hold on to our “stuff” and we expect the charity shops to take it all but we forget they are not able to do so. This news story highlights that what we are donating cannot be something that is not for re-sale. Let us remember these shops exist to take donations, sell them and use the profits – all in the name of charity.
There is a list of what can and cannot be left at the local charity shop and some of us would know this because we have common sense. For example, no point giving one shoe and a single glove. No use and nobody wants to buy one shoe. Hello.
When it comes to sofas and other upholstered furniture, the law is all about fire safety so again no point trying to offload it on to the charity shops, unless we have the fire safety labels attached.
On a safety note, used car seats and bike helmets are also a no thank you from charity shops.
Items that are heavily soiled or stained we could say are not fit for purpose – to sell.
WHY would we think it is ok to dump our stained or soiled belongings onto a charity shop that then has to deal with it because we could not take the initial responsibility?
Same applies to broken or faulty electrical items. Are we operating clearly if we even consider it is ok to drop off stuff we no longer want because it does not work, instead of finding out where and how we can re-cycle it?
This all comes down to personal responsibility and how far we want to take that.
If each of us do our bit, things will change and we may just wake up one day and realise that half of what we do accumulate is not needed and is un-necessary. We all have a responsibility from the time we purchase or acquire something to how it is disposed of. That last bit is important and using charity shops to take all our crap that we know is not fit for sale is confirmation that we are not taking full responsibility to bring this cycle to closure.
On that note, well worth reading the following blogs:
Finish the Job
Reuters Europe – 30 April 2021
Police in Belgium collected over 22,000 guns and the authorities have melted them down into 60 tonnes of recycled steel.
Around half of the firearms were handed in by owners, some who had inherited them and the other half were outdated police weapons.
The governor of the East Flanders province is delighted that these weapons are no longer in use and ‘positive for the security of our citizens’.
This is the third time that Belgian security forces have co-operated with a steel giant to destroy firearms, transporting them to a plant in a covert operation taking three days.
We could say this is great news for planet earth and its people, as they did not end up rusting somewhere, in the wrong hands or in landfill.
What if more countries took note of what Belgium have done and what would happen to our world if more people handed over guns and other weapons, inherited or not as they are not needed, not necessary and have no use other than harm another fellow human.
We all seem to bang on about re-cycling and we think of the obvious, but rarely would our thoughts be about guns being recycled.
The short video on this news story – see link shows us the scale and the process.
How many of us know that we actually have re-cycled steel and it can come from weapons?
Mail Online – 15 May 2021
20,000 Fly-Tipping cases every week in England
976,000 fly-tipping incidents dealt with by town halls in one year
30% increase in the number of court fines between 2019/2020
£1.09 Million – total value
£50 MILLION COST PER YEAR to Taxpayers to clear up
Councils are working hard to crack down on offenders, according to the Local Government Association. It has urged the public to dispose of their waste properly by using their nearest household waste recycling centre or with a private disposal company.
A fishing boat dumped outside a school
Mountain of rubbish dumped in a stream
20 tonnes of wood chippings illegally dumped
Alleyways and streets used for fly-tipping
So WHY are we dumping building waste, household waste and anything else we simply do not want to take Responsibility for?
What is it about us that is quite ok with the new stuff and getting rid of the stuff we no longer want is something we do not want to see through to the end of the cycle? In other words, we do not want to finish the job and close the cycle we started.
20,000 is a huge number for a small country and so is 50 million pounds. What happens when it reaches a £100 million – will anything change or is that day coming soon?
We have our reasons, justifications and excuses for why we did not see it through properly like honest, decent and respect-full citizens to dispose of our unwanted stuff. But we ought to remember that our irresponsibility affects everyone, including nature as we think it’s ok to dump outside as long as it is not in our personal space. Of course this makes no sense but let’s get real – it is happening and its occurring a lot more than we care to take note of.
Catching the offenders and fining them or asking the public politely to use recycling and the local tip to get rid of stuff may not cut it. Our jails are full so a strong custodial sentence may not be the answer as locking them up is not what our justice system would see as a reasonable criminal offence. But what if our standards are so low – in other words we accept this as something not good that needs to be sorted out but never would we see this as a crime on the same level as more serious crimes. This is where we have standards that allow the masses to get away with it, so to speak.
Reading this article about our world and our waste, it is staggering to see what we as humans are doing. Our behaviour is sub human to say the least and yet we call ourselves thee most intelligent species on the planet.
Back to fly-tipping – do we really think we are getting away with it sitting in our new comfy sofa or lying on our new bed having just got the man with the van to get rid of our old bed and sofa, knowing they are dodgy and into fly-tipping? Do we have an internal moral compass that is on selective mode and switches off to suit us?
Have we ever heard of karma and if it does exist, what will be the real and true consequences of our irresponsible actions?
What if there is such a universal law called the Law of Correction and that means what we do that harms another and that includes mother earth, we have to have corrected?
Of course we may think this is hogwash or a load of twaddle but what if it wasn’t?
Would we change our behaviour or would we join the 20,000 a week fly-tipping bandwagon?
Farming UK – 3 June 2021
Farming UK has published a news story recently about a man, who was fined for knowingly allowing controlled waste to be deposited on land, which did not have a waste management licence.
We could just say – who on earth is interested in small stuff like this that probably goes on daily around the world. But hang on – the waste included 5,500 tonnes of construction and demolition waste, poultry manure and mushroom compost. That is a lot of waste and we cannot just skip this type of news.
If the flytipping incidents occurred between 2013 and 2016 – how come it has only just made the news and why is the crown court only just dealing with this case?
Lots of questions we could be asking as something is clearly not right here.
How many more cases will now come to light as a result of this news story?
Are we busy ‘getting away with it’ in our own little world, hoping no one will notice our fly tipping behaviour?
For those of us who never would consider dumping our waste – can we stop and take a moment to consider the waste industry and how huge this business is?
We all know it starts with us and our personal waste.
Some of us are regimental, others a bit lax and some say the whole thing is not our problem and the government should be sorting it out.
Before we make any more choices and subscribe to our thoughts feeding us this and that, lets us just consider this blog and then read ALL the comments presented thereafter by Simple Living Global. As a reader you will be left in no doubt we have a 911 when it comes to our waste.
We each have a responsibility in our own life and how we are disposing of our personal waste.
Something worth considering – are we creating more waste than is necessary because we can get away with it?
Blogs worth reading on this website – Because we Can and Getting Away with It
What if we do not get jumping on any bandwagon, bad mouthing, judging or criticizing others, but simply do our bit consistently and see how this can inspire others? We may find our movements are far reaching and one day others around us may start to pick up the vibe and begin their own style in dealing with waste and so it goes on…
May sound a bit far fetched or utopian, but what if it is not?
What if we as humans need others to reflect that there is another way and those of us that are reading this comment cannot ignore that, as there is something we can do in the form of action?
What if this is the evolution we need right now to get going and bring about some real change?
An Independent Television investigation has uncovered that a giant online retailer has made news headlines this week because it is “destroying millions of items of unsold stock every year, which includes laptops and televisions”. Other items that are often new and unused include drones, hairdryers, top end headphones and books.
Undercover film footage shows the large scale of waste from just one of its distribution centres in Europe. According to an ex-employee, they are asked to generally destroy 130,000 items a week. Overall, 50% of all items are unopened and still in their shrink wraps. The other half are returns and in good condition, which could easily be redistributed to charities or those in need.
Apparently, the business model is to blame, and the company are not doing anything that is illegal.
They charge those that want their products stored at their giant warehouses. However, the longer the goods remain unsold, the more the company charges to store them. It gets to the point where it becomes cheaper to dispose of the goods than continue paying for the space.
We could agree with those who are voicing about what we do to our environment that is un-necessary and totally avoidable, but up against the jumbo giants in the online retail world, it probably has little if no real effect.
So how do we take on a multi-billion bucks organisation and tell them they cannot get rid of stock in this way?
How about we take a look at our online shopping behaviour and where are we subscribing and adding to this throwaway culture, that is looking very normal for so many of us now?
Back to the news story, we have video live footage and if we are to be honest, the camera is not lying – this is real, and it did happen. Example – a large lorry loading at the warehouse and going to a landfill site close by. This is a Hello moment we could say.
On the other hand, the “spokesperson” for the big bucks online retailer tells us they are working towards a goal of zero product disposal and no items are sent to landfill.
Whatever is the truth here? It is for each of us to discern and come to our own realisations.
For now, we can all agree – something is clearly not right.
Materials Recycling World – 2 August 2021
A judge has fined £1.5 million to a waste company who were convicted of 4 offences for exporting poorly sorted waste to India and Indonesia. It involved over 1,000 tonnes of waste exports between 2018 and 2019.
The waste shipments had included:
40,000 plastic bags
25,000 items of clothing
Environmental Agency (EA) officers reported “a strong putrid” smell and an “acidic aroma”.
The judge sentencing called the actions of the company as “reckless, bordering on deliberate”. In addition to the fine, the company was ordered to pay costs of £153,827.99 and a proceeds of crime order of £38,388.
In September 2019 the company was previously fined £350,000 in a separate case involving contaminated household waste sent to China between May and June 2015.
Head of Waste Regulation at EA said the company ‘shipped banned materials to developing countries, without having systems in place to prevent the offences.’
The EA has said that it will pursue those who light the lives of overseas communities through illegal exports. This verdict underlines that those producing or handling waste must only export material legally and safely for recycling.
The EU have stopped the illegal export of 23,000 tonnes of unsuitable waste in 2019/20.
Whether or not these facts quoted are true or accurate, as we all know we cannot trust the media or those that stand to benefit or gain in anyway, let us look at waste on a micro level and make that our focus as that is the purpose of this comment.
We as individuals are ‘getting away with it’ as we take little or no interest in what goes in our waste and where it ends up. Those that do deeply care are in the small numbers.
The fact that our own country does not have the resources to manage our waste is a wake up call in itself. We want to farm out to those countries that are not so-called advanced as us in the western world to deal with our crap, yes let’s just say it as it is.
We have been accustomed to bad habits when it comes to being waste-full with our throwaway culture that seems like it is the norm.
Does it bother us or concern us where our waste ends up and can we do something about our choices to reduce our individual waste?
Those that want to throw out excessively would soon change if there was a levy to pay for this ‘ill habit’. Yes, let’s call it ill because it sure is not a good thing to be sending any rubbish overseas because we do not have the infrastructure in place in our own country to deal with our waste.
Most of us are up in arms when we think something is hurting Mother Earth but right under our very nose is our personal waste, which accumulated is a huge issue for global waste.
Let us stop the blame, call it for what it is and make some sensible changes so we can see the change we want for our people and planet.
Note there is also a Press Release from the UK government stating that a familiar name on bin collection rounds across the country has been found guilty of exporting household waste for the 2nd time in 2 years.
Reuters Europe – 26 August 2021
Serbia closes the largest unmanaged landfill in Europe, following a recent fire at the site, according to a new report.
The site has been there for 40 years and is known as the largest un-managed landfill site in Europe. Every day it accepts over 1,500 tonnes of household waste and 3,000 tonnes of construction waste.
Frequent fires emitting dense smoke happen due to decomposition and poor waste treatment and because the depositing of waste was not regulated by he authorities.
According to the country’s health authories, the Vinca landfill has thus far released over 4 billion cubic meters of methane into the atmosphere.
Environmental organisations have staged protests in recent years to demand closure of the landfill.
Serbia has not yet joined the EU – European Union. Before it can do so, the country needs to comply with environmental standards and that includes solid and liquid waste treatment.
How many more news stories like this are going on around the world that we may not be aware of and what is our role as an individual or a person who may have a business or make decisions on behalf of an organisation and their waste at a commercial level?
There is much for us to consider when we open up and stop for a moment to wake up to the bigger picture and that means the impact we have when we make choices about our waste.
Example – we are lax and not really bothered when it comes to our own personal everyday waste. We are not the ones that are up in arms about our environment and we just get on with our busy lives. We are in a position of power at work and that gives us a financial security that many don’t have and waste for us is at the bottom of the agenda. We have the resources to cover all aspects of our waste disposal at home and this is not an area we need to bring our focus of attention to.
But what if this real life example does impact others and mother earth?
What if those in positions of authority who have the power to change things are not interested? So in this example, they cannot possibly be doing anything about the commercial waste their company has, in a responsible or accountable way, simply because they are not doing it for themselves on a solo level.
In other words, we live one life and it is seamless. If things at home, when it comes to waste disposal gets zero attention or responsibility, then fat chances are it will not suddenly be top priority on the work front, even if we are in a position to make changes, influence other organisations or encourage staff to have awareness about everyday waste.
We could say this is a blind spot. Bit like asking a doctor to tell the patient to give up caffeine and smoking but coughing like a smoker whilst telling them and sipping their strong black coffee.
Unless we get back to us and bring about change in our own personal life, we will never turn the tides on this waste epidemic that is plaguing our world currently. It is getting worse and no amount of campaigning, fighting or celebrating world awareness days on social media changes anything, until we get some understanding that everything matters and all our choices have an impact.
Let us not forget that and dismiss this valuable piece of writing that may just serve.
Independent News – 3 September 2021
In the UK there has been recent news about the lack of HGV drivers to transport our goods and carry out services like bin collection. Add to that the disruption caused by self isolation and lockdown restrictions and we have a country being exposed with where infra structure is lacking and much more.
While we wait for a government to change their rules and regulations, what can we do other than blame and point fingers. It is what it is and reaction never seems to get us anywhere.
Most of us just accept it, moan or whinge and get on with living around the in-conveniences. Very few, if any actually dig deep and ask questions as to why and how we have got to this point in such a so-called advanced nation of the western world.
Our councils are under pressure and our people want their waste gone and businesses need to run their systems and waste is a big part of that.
This could be great news for Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers as we have a supermarket offering a salary equal to an executive in their organisation because the shortage of drivers is having a huge knock on effect. News tells us there is a 100,000 shortfall in the UK of these HGV drivers and it has affected supplies to restaurants, supermarkets and high street retailers.
As this comment is related to waste – let us focus on the bin collection disruption.
How do we cope or make changes when it comes to our personal waste?
Is this the time we can start to take a look at exactly what we get rid of in the daily trash and how much of it is necessary?
Would it be wise to have a trash conversation with ourself, our housemate, the partner or family around the dinner table, so we can discuss which bit we can contribute to lessen the waste we create?
All that online shopping – how much ends up in packing and un-necessary waste?
How much food sits around un-cooked, un-eaten and rotting at the back of the fridge?
How much food is in our freezer because we suffer with the ‘just incase’ syndrome?
How much waste do we have because we can afford to buy what we want and change our mind at any time and discard it to the waste?
How is our attitude when it comes to waste and how we use this service?
How is the behaviour of those we live with regarding the household waste?
Where is our individual responsibility when it comes to personal waste?
We may not have a hand in ending the shortage of HGV drivers, but we do have a hand in how we deal with our own waste and making that our new lifelong focus.
The Guardian – 17 September 2021
A single bitcoin transaction generates the same amount of electronic waste as throwing two Iphones in the bin, according to a new study from the Dutch central bank and MIT.
While the carbon footprint of bitcoin is well studied, less attention has been paid to the computer hardware that the cryptocurrency incentivises.
For those of us that are not aware – specialised computer chips called ASICs are sold with no other purpose than to run the algorithms that secure the bitcoin network, a process called mining that rewards those who partake with bitcoin payouts. But because only the newest chips are power-efficient enough to mine profitably, effective miners need to constantly replace their ASICs with newer, more powerful ones.
The lifespan of bitcoin mining devices remains limited to 1.29 years say researchers who wrote in the paper, Bitcoin’s growing e-waste problem. As a result they estimate that the whole bitcoin network currently cycles through 30.7 metric kilotons of equipment per year. This number is comparable to the amount of small IT and telecommunication equipment waste produced by a country like the Netherlands.
The reason why e-waste is such a problem for cryptocurrency is that unlike most computing hardware, ASICs have no alternative use beyond bitcoin mining and if they cannot be used to mine bitcoin profitably, they have no future purpose at all.
The authors of the study also warn that the e-waste problem will probably grow further if the price of bitcoin continues to rise, since it will incentivise further investment in and replacement of ASIC hardware.
The video on this news story is well worth watching – Why Bitcoin is so Bad for the Planet?
Most of us may find this quite incomprehensible as it makes no sense to waste £29 million of electricity a day (because we can). This is a digital internet replacement for money and it’s about winning and that means making profit.
We get told that the computer does a very hard and useless calculation and the only reason for doing this is to prove that you have wasted electricity doing it. The fact that you can prove you have wasted electricity, means you have created something scarce. It is called proof of work in the bitcoin world. Of course there is a financial incentive – why else would we invest our time and money into something like this?
For the layman – jo average on the street this may never make any sense.
For those that do care about ourselves and our planet, we have to question the use of our resources. Wasting vast amounts of electricity makes no sense to a world that is currently not operating anywhere near its natural state.
And back to the article – Our World, Our Waste.
What have we created here and is it worth it?
The Guardian – 26 November 2021
Black Friday and pre Christmas spending sprees will create an electronic waste mountain of 5 million unwanted electrical items, which are binned or put into storage.
We have an e-commerce frenzy at the end of November which includes Cyber Monday, with retailers offering cut price deals on a range of goods, from mobile phones, tablets, laptops, headphones and speakers.
Research by Material Focus – a group that says we all need to consider donating or recycling and not to throw out old goods as they will end up in landfill.
They estimate 2.7 million older unwanted electrical items are being sent to landfill and a further 2.2 million being hoarded at home.
Britain’s e-waste problem is likely to be replicated worldwide, with analysts estimating that millions of new mobile phones will be bought in the wake of Black Friday.
In 2020, an investigation by the environmental audit committee found the UK is lagging behind other countries when it comes to dealing with e-waste. The UK currently creates the 2nd highest levels of electronic waste in the world, after Norway, with around 40% of the waste sent abroad.
Major online retailers have so far avoided their responsibility in the circular economy by not collecting or recycling electronics in the way other organisations have to.
The value of recyclable material abandoned within dumped electronics is estimated at billions of dollars. Thrown away computers, smartphones, tablets and other electronic waste have a potential value of $62.5 billion each year, in large due to the precious metals they contain, which include gold, silver and platinum.
Does the above news story highlight our dis-regard or “no regard” for what happens to our electrical items, as long as we can carry on buying what we want, when we want and how much we want, without giving emphasis to what happens to the “old” item?
Are we ever going to get on the front foot, so to speak with our e-waste or lack of recycling if we continue the way we are behaving, when it comes to shopping, be it for electrical goods, food or other products? When is enough going to be enough or is that internal lack something we need to address and if so, where do we start?
What if we are dis-content with what we have and this un-settlement keeps us looking on the outside for what we can have next, as if this will somehow take away that tension we feel inside because we lack something?
What if no amount of filling up ourselves with the next latest electronic gadget or must have electrical item will satiate us long enough before our focus moves to the next ‘must have’ thing and our world is designed to keep us forever seeking more and more?
What if this wanting more and more removes our common sense and we can no longer see things through to the end of a cycle. For example, we buy a new phone but keep the old one with our “just incase syndrome” or we throw it out, with no consideration where it will end up, as long as it’s not in our home?
How serious is it to know that we have billions of dollars literally wasted because of our irresponsible behaviour?
Our World has created a waste epidemic and it is not just electronic waste.
If we have created this then we have the answers to stop it and turn the tides.
This means that each and every one of us need to step up our Responsibility.
The Conversation – 9th December 2021
This article reports on the increase of COVID litter from March 2020.
Data from mask and glove litter was analysed from September 2019 (before the pandemic) up to October 2020 in 11 countries, including the UK.
While a rise in mask litter was expected, it was a surprise to see how much it rose.
Across the 11 countries, there was an almost 9,000% increase in masks as a proportion of all litter.
Strong links were also found between mask litter and national laws or policies requiring mask wearing.
Compared to the other 10 countries in the study, the UK had the greatest proportion of masks as litter, increasing from 0% in September 2019 to over 6% in August 2020. The UK also showed one of the longest sustained increases in glove litter from April to October 2020.
Although masks and gloves only made up a small proportion of overall litter, the study highlighted just how quickly new items like masks can add to substantial litter problems.
In addition to being an eyesore, face masks in particular can have more serious impacts when not disposed of properly. In the short term, for example, face mask litter can act as a potential viral vector, and therefore pose a risk for COVID transmission.
In the medium, term mask litter can be eaten by animals, or entangle or choke them. Masks and other litter can also smother smaller organisms and plant life.
In the long term, masks manufactured from plastic materials can persist in the environment for many years, breaking down into micro plastics and potentially entering the food chain.
With the Omicron variant forcing nations to reintroduce restrictions and enforce mask wearing again, the problem of pandemic-related litter is not behind us, as face masks once again become compulsory in most indoor public venues
And although they were not previously a common feature in Western nations, it’s likely that face masks will continue to be used even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, as people realise their role in preventing the spread of respiratory diseases.
There is therefore a dual responsibility falling to governments and individuals when it comes to masks and other pandemic-related litter. If governments require the use of masks, they need to ensure adequate education around disposal, as well as the availability of facilities like bins to help people dispose of litter appropriately.
At the same time, individuals need to take personal responsibility to dispose of waste.
For me, the last two sentences stand out here:
“There is therefore a dual responsibility falling to governments and individuals when it comes to masks and other pandemic-related litter. If governments require the use of masks, they need to ensure adequate education around disposal, as well as the availability of facilities like bins to help people dispose of litter appropriately.
At the same time, individuals need to take personal responsibility to dispose of waste. We can’t let one global problem (COVID-19) make another global problem (littering) worse.”
When we buy a sandwich, a packet of crisps, a chocolate bar, a pack of sweets, a can or bottle of drink or any other takeaway food item, do we really need to be educated around disposing of said wrapping?
Maybe there could be a discussion for providing more bins on the street but, at present, there are adequate bins around but that does not stop us throwing our waste on the floor. Indeed, I have witnessed – several times – people walking along the street and simply throwing their rubbish on the floor, people in cars throwing their rubbish out of the window.
On many occasions, I have seen litter on the floor right next to an empty bin.
For those who say there are not enough bins around – there will be a bin eventually if we are walking and if not, should we not take our rubbish home with us and dispose of it correctly?
Everyone knows that if we have litter in our hands, we do not just throw it on the floor, and yet, that is what happens.
Governments do not buy us our sandwiches, crisps, sweets, drinks etc. – we buy it and therefore, we should dispose of our litter responsibly.
Masks and gloves are to be treated no different to any other forms of litter.
Just because the government mandates that we have to wear masks, that doesn’t mean there is no responsibility on our part to dispose of our litter correctly.