This week’s blog post comes from Dr Keith Tovey.
There is a need to cut down on the waste as the Landfill Tax is continuing to rise. The Rotary Club of Norwich, in conjunction with the Matthew Project, are trying to raise funds to help combat the effects of drug abuse, and have launched a scheme to recycle plastic bottle tops. Currently bottle lids cannot be recycled with plastic bottles and most go to general landfill. Such lids, if collected separately have a value, and this is providing an additional income for the Charity.
The scheme started in 2011 and has progressively expanded such that over 15 Rotary Clubs are now involved, as well as many churches, schools, other groups and small businesses including the Norwich Business School. The scheme is now attracting interest way beyond Norfolk with regular collectors in counties such as Suffolk, and Leicestershire.
In 2011, a total of one ton of plastic tops were collected, but this increased to 7.5 tonnes last year and already the collection rate has doubled again so far this year. While some schemes will only take milk bottle tops we can take any soft plastic top including soft drink tops, cosmetic bottle tops, but unfortunately not hard plastic, such as coffee jar lids.
The income from the tops comes from two sources; firstly the value of the plastic itself which varies depending on the market, and secondly, for those tops collected in Norfolk we have persuaded the County Council to donate the money they would save from not sending the tops to landfill. In effect this doubles the monetary value of the scheme. At present we still have to get agreement for such landfill offset from other counties but we are working on it!
The 7.5 tonnes collected last year represents 5 million milk bottle top equivalents and as recycled material uses less fossil fuel to produce products – this has resulted in an estimated saving of over 9 tonnes of carbon dioxide, while if the collection rate so far in 2013 is maintained we shall have generated over £1,000 for the charity.
The scheme has now attracted attention country wide and opportunities have been taken to use this as a teaching method in schools, to demonstrate innovation in business and at the same time helping the environment – see the recent entry in the Eastern Daily Press.