So I'm not great at Jenga, but on a more serious note, this is just a selection of the plastic spoons and syringes currently taking over my teaspoon compartment from many years of buying paracetamol suspension. Open your cupboard. Can anyone beat 25? These are undoubtedly necessary for correct dosing but how many do we really need? Can they be recycled? Are they recycled plastic in the first place?
Last week I put these questions to some of the biggest manufacturers. Sadly they all declined to completely remove these extra plastic items from the box, giving no reason. Couldn't they give customers the option, e.g. having a supply of them behind the counter to hand out to people who are on holiday for example?
Calpol: syringes are 100% recyclable.
Morrison's: spoons are not recyclable.
Sainsbury's: spoons are not recyclable.
Tesco: spoons are recyclable, but aren't made from recycled content.
Morrison's, Sainsbury's and Tesco have promised to consider my suggestions when developing new products in the future. Boots and Lloyds have not yet replied...
A crumb of comfort in the the bottom of the contraband biscuit packet?
Now, where should we put these syringes? These can go in the 'mixed plastic' banks at Sainsbury's (Monks Cross and Foss Islands) and in the village of Ulleskelf (playing fields). But what about other items we're not sure about? Here in York many items are not collected at the kerbside, such as yogurt pots, fruit trays and biscuit wrappers. Could this mean no more chocolate Hobnobs?!
Don't panic. Here's what we can do:
St Nick's Environment Centre recycles biscuit and crisps packets, sweets packets, household cleaning (not body) products' plastic caps (e.g. from washing up liquid bottles), trigger heads and packets of cleaning wipes, plastic pens, felt-tips, highlighters, toothpaste tubes & caps (yes, really!), plastic toothbrushes (honestly!) and their outer irritating plastic packaging (but not the cardboard - pop this into your kerbside box), electric/battery toothbrush heads. That's a big list. Find out about the fantastic work they do here. And you'll see from their website that you can also drop off all of the above items at Heima (Gillygate) and The Bishy Weigh (Bishopthorpe Road). It's that easy!
If you're fed up of plastic toothbrushes, why not invest in a bamboo version from the shops mentioned above, Alligator (Fishergate), or Rise and Shine Living (Fossgate)? When finished, remove the bristles and compost the handle. Time to add that wormery you've been hankering after to your Christmas list.
At OSMP we are now collecting all our biscuit wrappers and Dr Beach's empty crisps packets for recycling at St Nick's.
Our main supplier, Yorkshire-based Dene Healthcare are committed to reducing their plastic, and they already use scrunched up paper to protect our deliveries, rather than than bubble-wrap.
And finally, if you can add to this list of excellent local shops and businesses who are trying to help York reduce plastic, please comment below or speak to Reception so that the details can be added here.
Next week we tackle prescription bags...