Recycling rates are anywhere from 0% to 56% in Germany. But does plastic get recycled, really?
Pick 10 random objects around you and check the label, are any of them made from recycled materials? Not sure?
More than likely, you didn’t find evidence of recycled material in any of the products you have just picked up, right?
Which begs the question, if recycled material is not being used in new products (Or being reported as being used) then where do all the recyclables that we throw away really end up?
Some materials are recycled but at varying degrees. Glass, paper, aluminium and steel being amongst the most common. However, the truth about plastic is almost none of it is actually recycled.
The vast majority ends up as landfill, is incinerated or makes its way into the environment to slowly degrade over time, poisoning our wildlife in the process.
What to Do?
In a perfect world, we simply wouldn’t use things once and then throw them away. We would make the most of what we have. We would repair or improve for as long as we could.
But this isn’t a perfect world and we aren’t going to give up our “need” for convenience that easily. So, what to do if we are unwilling to give up the conveniences of the modern world?
Well, the next best thing we can do is to put a value on the waste we do throw away. When you buy recycled or upcycled products, this is exactly what happens. When a value is placed on waste, it becomes a commodity.
It gets TRADED not WASTED.
I have been organising beach cleaning events for over 5 years now, all around the world. If I was to guess, more than 100 tonnes of plastic and other trash would have been picked up and taken away from the oceans. I have given impassioned pleas at schools and businesses, talked about facts and figures and everyone agrees, it is a terrible thing.
But still, it continues…
Education and awareness is a good thing and I have no doubt that it works but it is slow. What needs to happen is for industry to take responsibility for the mess it made. Petitioning your local counsellor or representative to help is a good start but this is slow too. I wanted to make a bigger difference but I was getting impatient.
In 2017, a friend of mine Paul McNeill came to me with an idea for a business. I loved what I saw but I also saw an opportunity to help change our idea’s about waste. So we agreed to team up together and put into plan both of our idea’s. We named this company WRAPTIE™ and started selling our products worldwide.
The idea for WRAPTIE™ was simple. Take an innovative product that is genuinely useful and make it as sustainable as possible, whilst still making a profit. It is important to make a profit because without profit we cannot scale and become more successful. The more successful we are the better the planet gets.
Every single one of our WRAPTIE™ tie-down straps contains the equivalent recycled plastic you would find in 1 coke bottle. In 2018 we diverted more than 10,000 coke bottles from landfill!
As we grow and add new products we hope to reach our target of diverting 1 million bottles from landfill. Something I could never have achieved by cleaning beaches alone.
The Next Steps
I still continue to work on my One Brown Planet project, cleaning beaches, educating, spreading the word about plastic pollution. But with WRAPTIE™ I hope that I have found a way to amplify my voice and my efforts.
Recycled products shouldn’t have to be kitsch like a t-shirt or yet another drinking bottle that no-one needs. They should be useful products, designed to be durable. Extending the life of a single use plastic over and over again.
Is it the perfect answer? No, but for now it is the best I can do.
My tip for you is to BUY recycled products and not just recycle.