Cultures

Half of Britain’s plastic bottles end up in landfills

By  | 
rubbish dump of landfill garbage - no visible trademarks

Image: Shutterstock/Steve Mann

With so much emphasis on recycling in the last 10 years, one would think that the point has gotten across. Unfortunately, the recycling trend hasn’t been picked up worldwide. According to new statistics published by Recycle Now, we know that only about half of Britain’s plastic bottles are recycled, with the other half ending up in landfills across the country.

As more than 16 million plastic bottles are thrown out each year, the problems are beginning to pile up in the United Kingdom. Recycle Now states, “If a year’s worth of the UK’s non-recycled plastic bottles were placed end to end, they’d reach around the world 31 times, covering just over 780,000 miles.” That’s a staggering image.

Recycle Now believes the statistics boil down to Britons’ confusion over what can or cannot be recycled, leading to larger numbers of plastic bottles heading to the landfills.

Alice Harlock from Recycle Now states, “Householders are often unsure which items are recyclable, especially those from the bathroom, bedroom and living room. An easy way to tell is; if an item is plastic and bottle-shaped, it’s recyclable. (A few exceptions are items that contain strong, harmful chemicals, such as antifreeze.) We need to challenge ourselves when it comes to what we could be recycling. Every plastic bottle counts. If you’re having a shower and using up the last of the shampoo – don’t just think replace. Think, recycle.”

Of course, the best way to reduce plastic bottle waste is to not use them at all. Alternatives to plastic bottles are becoming more and more common each year. The most effective step you can take in the present is by purchasing a reusable water bottle, such as the Kleen Kanteen or Hydro Flask. Citrus Zinger Sports even sells a bottle that lets you infuse fruits into your water. To go one step further, simply fill your reusable bottle with water from the tap or filter through a household water filtration system.

While the solution to stopping excess plastic waste for good hasn’t yet been found, there are plenty of steps people can take every day to make the world greener and healthier for the next generations. Don’t let all of your plastic to end up in a landfill, or worse, in the ocean.

What are some of your favorite ways to keep plastic bottles from reaching the landfill in your community? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

Mandy Burkholder is a travel, adventure, and outdoor writer who honed her craft in the foothills of the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. After a stint in the Swiss Alps, she now resides in Tennessee. Follow her on twitter — @mandyburkhold3r