Plastic Pollution, Waste & Recycling

Doing the right thing is hard, but…

Last week, I posted excitedly that I was looking forward to taking all my extra recycling to various Terracycle drop-off points in my local area. For those who don’t know, this is a scheme whereby different categories of rubbish that aren’t taken by kerbside recycling can be taken to locations that have been set up to collect them and send them off to be recycled. Many of the locations are home addresses where the occupant has simply added a box or bin to their own rubbish collection point for eager locals to drop off their Terracycle waste.

In theory, it’s a great scheme. I eagerly set off last Sunday on the Tern e-bike – a sustainable double-whammy I thought! – to do my drop offs, only to find that, out of 4 home addresses I’d jotted down for different types of rubbish, only 1 was a successful drop-off. At the rest, there simply wasn’t a collection box anywhere to be seen.

It was quite disheartening, especially when I’d made the effort to plan a 10-mile-or-so circuit to accommodate a multitude of locations.

The GSD loaded up and ready to go

This, alongside another issue I’d experienced the previous day (cycling 5 miles in a raging headwind to collect groceries from my local waste-free shop only to be turned away because their lockdown closing time is in fact half an hour earlier than that listed on their website), really brought home now hard it is to do the right thing.

Anyone who knows anything about getting people to change their habits will know this is not good: most people simply won’t change if changing isn’t easy to do and there isn’t some kind of intrinsic motivation to do so. So, much as schemes like Terracycle and shops like Almond and Co are wonderful facilitators of doing the right thing for those of us that are very motivated to do so, a lot more needs to happen to make doing the right thing for the planet the norm.

There is one silver lining to this story: I finally made my return trip to Almond and Co yesterday after last weekend’s failed attempt. On my way out of the shop, I spotted a Terracyle collection box that takes some of the rubbish categories I’m keen to dispose of responsibly. So, next time I’ve got a bag of crisp packets that needs to go, I’ll combine the drop-off with a stock-up. Now that’s the kind of convenience I’m looking for…

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This post is a load of rubbish…

This is a rubbish picture of a whole load of rubbish. Overall, I think it’s safe to say it’s RUBBISH. But it pleases me immensely. Why?

I’ll tell you why: because this is all rubbish that, until recently, I’d have had to send straight to landfill due to the limitations of kerbside recycling. However, now that I’ve discovered Terracycle, that’s all changed! Their community recycling schemes mean I can take a whole range of waste to various local venues to be recycled. Here we have everything from crisp packets to bread bags to cheese packaging to toothpaste tubes and soap pouches. All stuff that used to go in the bin and can now be recycled: amazing!

All I have to do is sort it out into the categories that are taken within the different schemes, and drop them off at the relevant places highlighted on Terracycle’s handy maps.

Another great thing in the world of recycling is the increasing number of products whose packages state “recycle with bags at larger stores”. Though Terracycle has a specific bread bag recycling scheme, my bread bags get bundled up with cereal packets and various other eligible items to be taken to a supermarket for recycling (but, if I can help it, not before I’ve reused them as sandwich bags or food storage).

So there we have it, a whole new world of reduced waste. It feels good! I’m looking forward to heading out on the bike do drop my sorted waste at various places later. How about you? What new and exciting ways of minimising waste have you discovered lately? I’d love to hear about it – drop me a comment below!

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Recipe: Tasty 5-Ingredient Crunchy Nut Bites

Here’s the promised recipe for my Crunchy Nut Bites. Super simple to make with just 5 ingredients, and as tasty as honey nut cornflakes themselves, it’s a corker of a sweet snack: give it a try!

This play on the popular cereal tastes like the real deal but cleverly combines natural ingredients to create a healthier version, finished off with just a little sprinkling of honey nut cornflakes for added crunch and an indulgent touch. Dates give that classic caramel-like taste, but you could also use apricots which work well but alter the taste to a fruitier version.

The main equipment you need for this recipe is a good blender or food processor. I recommend Magimix which is just great for making all sorts of things. I use their 3200 model.

Ingredients:

  • 20g bran flakes
  • 100g dates
  • 2-3 big heaped tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • (Optional: drizzle of maple syrup)
  • Handful honey nut cornflakes

How to make:

Soak the dates for 10-20 minutes to soften slightly, which makes it easier to bring the mixture together later.

Put the bran flakes in a food processor and blend until they’re ground up really small. Drain the dates well, add them to the processor and blend until these are finely chopped. Pour in two heaped tablespoons of peanut butter and whizz up to bring it all together.

Check the consistency to see if the mixture sticks together: it will be quite crumbly but should hold its shape when pressed. Add more peanut butter and/or a drizzle of maple syrup if desired, along with your cashews. Blend until the cashews are chopped up and the mixture is the right consistency.

Take a handful of honey nut cornflakes and crush with your hands onto a plate. Grab little bits of the mixture and form into rounds (the size is up to you; I like really small ones that you can just pop into you mouth). Press two sides of each piece into the crushed flakes so you end up with little medallions (you could go for balls but I find pressing rather than rolling gets more coating to stick).

And there you have it: your tasty Crunchy Nut Bites are ready! They’ll keep in the fridge in an air-tight container for about a week. Enjoy!

There’s more where this came from, so if you like what you see feel free to follow the blog to be the first to know when knew recipes are posted!

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