Re-Gen Waste urges NI to ‘Step Up’ their bathroom recycling during Recycle Week

Did you know...? A toothbrush takes 450 years to degrade and toothpaste tubes take 500 years

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 6:00 am

This week is Recycle Week and the theme for 2021 is ‘Step It Up’.

Whilst the most recent DAERA statistics show that Northern Ireland achieved a 51.9% recycling rate, ahead of its 50% target for 2020, Joseph Doherty, managing director of Re-Gen Waste, Newry, believes we can all do more to increase this rate.

Leading sustainability charity WRAP’s Recycling Tracker Report 2020: Behaviours, attitudes and awareness around recycling, found that just over half (56%) of UK households still dispose of items in the general rubbish that could be collected for recycling from their home.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Joseph Doherty, managing director of Re-Gen Waste

These findings reflect an earlier 2019 survey, carried out by a leading UK bathroom furniture company, that revealed whilst 90% of packaging is recycled in our kitchens, only 50% is being recycled in the bathroom. As a result, our recyclable bathroom waste accounts for 30-40% of total landfill waste in the UK.

Mr Doherty, said: “The bathroom is an area that needs more focus. Currently 40% of UK residents don’t regularly recycle bathroom products and as a result, 30,000 tonnes of recyclable bathroom items end up in landfill every year. Householders will be shocked to learn how long everyday items in the bathroom take to decompose - a toothbrush takes 450 years to degrade, toothpaste tubes take 500 years to breakdown and contact lenses never decompose.

“Labelling should be clearer and consistent across all packaging in bathroom products as householders are confused about what they can and can’t recycle and end up getting it wrong. In fact, one of the most common contaminants of recycling in UK households is toothpaste tubes, the majority of which can’t yet been recycled.”

Campaigners believe householders are less likely to recycle bathroom packaging and products not only because their recycling bin is usually located in their kitchens but also because they perceive their bathroom waste to be unhygienic.

“Psychologically people are put off going through their bathroom bin to take out recyclables because they see waste in the bathroom as being dirty,” added Mr Doherty.

However, helpful advice from Recycle Now suggests getting a segregated or second bin for the bathroom, repurposing a box or basket to collect your recycling or hanging a bag on the back of your bathroom door. If space permits, a cupboard drawer could be used to place the items until you have collected enough to put into your recycling bin.

Recyclenow.com has created a useful ‘Recycling Locator’ to search by postcode or packaging type what can be recycled throughout the home.

As a rule of thumb bathroom recyclables include plastic shampoo, conditioner and shower gel bottles, plastic moisturiser, glass face cream pots and their packaging, toothpaste boxes and toilet roll tubes. Less well known is that perfume and aftershave bottles, bleach and bathroom cleaner bottles, and aerosols for deodorant, air freshener and shaving foam can all be recycled.

“Recycling our bathroom products and packaging can make a really big difference to our environment. It would majorly reduce the amount of waste we are sending to landfill and will automatically reduce the levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Thank you