Part 1: Recycling at Earthian

A guide to recycling with us at the shop.

Since the very first day we opened doors at the shop we have been a collection point for recycling. Earthian Zero Waste Shop is part of a network of drop off points in and around Winchester that are collecting difficult to recycle plastics, and other materials that don't usually go in the council collection bins, to save them from landfill and incinerators.


I am proud to say that the number of recycling programmes that we run through the shop has increased over the course of our first year in business. At the point of writing this blog we have 5 types of collection here. I've detailed those programmes in this blog, including the rules for each collection and where the materials go.


What do we accept at the shop?


The first two collections that we took in when we opened doors were plastic milk bottle tops and bread bags. These are sent to a company called Terracycle, where they will be pelleted to make new useful plastic. In exchange for the recycling that is collected, Terracycle give money to a collectors chosen charity. For our hub of collectors, money is raised for Kicks Count Charity, more on this important cause below.


We also accept old inner tubes from bikes, which we send to a company called Cycle of Good. They turn the inner tubes into new and useful things such as belts, bags and wallets. I wrote a blog about Cycle of Good and the great work they do earlier in the year when we bought our shop bike from them.


We also have a bra bank here at the shop, which collects and recycles old bras to raise money for Against Breast Cancer. One tonne of donated bras can raise as much as £700 for the charity who are pioneering research into earlier diagnosis and advice to reduce secondary spread.


The final recycling programme that we have at Earthian is for our plant-based toothbrushes. The Ecoliving brushes that we stock have bristles made from 100% Castor Oil. The bristles can be pulled out, or the head can be cut off, to be recycled through Terracycle as well.


An introduction to Terracycle and where your recycling goes:

The Terracycle Logo, 2021

Terracycle was set up to tackle the growing problem of waste and the lack of suitable recycling systems. They partner with small, independent collectors like us, as well as with larger businesses, manufacturers and retailers.


To date, Terracycle has recycled billions of pieces of waste material, supported by over 202 million people in over 20 countries who diligently collect and send their recycling. As a result, they have also raised 44 million dollars for charity.


They provide a number of free recycling programs that have been funded by brands and corporations to allow collectors to send materials without charge. They also provide zero waste boxes that can be purchased for offices, schools or just at home. These boxes can take almost any kind of waste, which will be sorted and recycled at the other end.


Some of the products that our recycling goes on to make includes personal safety equipment, large shipping containers, water butts, outdoor decking and garden furniture.


Who are Kicks Count Charity?


Kicks Count Charity is a leading UK charity that raises awareness about baby's movements during pregnancy and how important it is to monitor and understand the changes that happen.


The charity was originally set up by Sophie Wyatt, whose daughter Chloe sadly passed away 3 days before her due date and was stillborn. Kicks Count aims to provide necessary education and resources that can prevent these family tragedies. When a baby is in distress in the womb their movements will reduce, by learning about the warning signs and early reporting of reduced movements so many little lives can be saved.


Kicks Count works with the NHS, the Department for Health and the Royal College of Midwives to ensure that resources and help is more widely available to expectant parents. They have also helped to change outdated information that is misleading and inaccurate. On their website you can find a full list of the resources they provide and the support that they give.


Rules for the different recycling programs we take:


I'm delighted that a year into the shop being open I've been able to collect, sort and deliver over 20kg of recycling! I look forward to this continuing over the next year with the possibility of expanding what we take.


Apart from the individual program guidance that can be found below, there are also three general rules for collections at the shop:

  1. Only drop to the shop DURING OPENING HOURS. Do not leave recycling on the doorstep or posted through the letterbox. If you can't come during opening hours, please contact me.

  2. Recycling must be CLEAN and DRY. It takes time to build up enough material to meet the minimum weight for Terracycle. Dirt or water that is left will go moldy and smelly.

  3. Lastly, recycling MUST BE SORTED. Please see below for comprehensive rules for each program.

In the early days of running the shop I spent tens of hours going through and sorting recycling. I now check the recycling when it is dropped, so please don't run off!


Some of our collected and sorted recycling, 2021

Milk Bottle Tops -

This is only the plastic milk bottle tops, not the foil tops from glass bottles. The collection only accepts tops that have a 2 in the recycling triangle symbol. The number indicates the type of plastic and mixing plastics can cause contamination and weakness in the final recycled material so please do not include any other bottles tops, even if they look similar. We cannot take squash or drinks bottle tops, tops from TetraPaks or from yoghurt drinks.


Bread Bags -

The rules for the bread bag program can be found here. This collection is funded by Hovis and they only accept sliced bread bags, they do not take any other kind of soft/stretchy plastic. We cannot take bags from vegetables, bagels, croissants or the bakery section of the supermarket.


Inner Tube Recycling -

They can be any size and any shape, including skinny tubes from road bikes, chunky tubes from mountain bikes and small tubes from children's bikes. Do not bring inner tubes that have slime, it is too messy and they can't be reused. Patched over holes are fine, as are valves.


Bra Bank-

Only bras please, this collection is not for general clothing, or any other kind of underwear. Bras can be in any condition, if they are not redeemable they will be careful dismantled and disposed of properly.


Toothbrush Bristles -

We only accept bristles or toothbrush heads from the Beechwood Plant-Based Toothbrushes that are made by Ecoliving and sold at Earthian. Both the adult size and child size are accepted. Please do not bring any other type of toothbrush heads or bristles. You can also save them up at home and send at least 10 in an envelope by free post to: Ecoliving, FREEPOST ECOLIVING


I hope that this introduction to Terracycle and other recycling collections at the shop has been helpful. If you have any questions at all, please do get in touch with me and I'll be happy to help.


This blog is part 1 of a mini-series on recycling. The second will focus on other recycling options and drop off points you can find in and around Winchester and will be released during Winchester Green Week, which is coming up very soon!


Take care,

Katie

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