To: Scottish Government
Force supermarkets to act as collection points for Terracycle
I propose that the Scottish Government legislate to force every supermarket in Scotland to collect materials for the Terracycle programmes where these are not covered by kerbside collections (i.e. Pringles tubes, writing instruments, bread bags). They should then arrange delivery to the plants where the resources can be recycled. Supermarkets are convenient places that every household already engages with and they have the logistical networks that would make collecting the packaging relatively straightforward. They could set-up drop-off points for each of the specific waste streams with clear pictures showing exactly what is accepted. Given the profits they make from feeding the demand for these products, surely they should take some responsibility for what happens with the leftovers?
Why is this important?
Following a successful campaign to ensure that it is at least theoretically possible to recycle Walkers crisp packets, we believe more action is urgently required to ensure that we make the most of this potential to reduce Scotland’s waste mountain.
In fact, Terracycle (the company Walkers partnered with) actually have a rather wide range of recycling programmes (https://www.terracycle.co.uk/en-GB/brigades) that include:
- air and home care products
- bread bags
- toothpaste products
- crisp, biscuits and snack packets
- Pringles tubes
- writing instruments
Obviously, none of these are included in kerbside recycling in Moray (or across Scotland, as far as I am aware). Local Councils are already struggling with cuts to services so do not have the capacity to help, so supermarkets seem ideally situated. We still only recycle 45.6% of waste generated in Scotland (www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-45638111), which is an appallingly low number when we consider how long we've been exposed to the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" mantra.
Even though each of the Terracycle programmes is initiated by specific brands (i.e. Colgate), they do not just take their own particular brand (i.e. any kind of toothpaste tube) and each could significantly impact the amount of waste going to landfill. This could be a huge benefit to our environment, enabling us to truly become "Zero Waste Scotland".
Sadly, all the initiatives currently seem to have hardly any representation in the places like the Highlands and Islands. For example, the nearest Pringles tube drop-off is in Inverurie (AB51). The "writing instruments" programme has Central Primary School in Inverness (which is only accessible to those with children at the school or staff members) and another in the rather obscure location of "Milton of Rothiemay" (a forty minute drive from Elgin). They are currently closed to new participants.
It's great that we seem to have the technology to recycle so much but this current approach just seems ridiculously piecemeal. I understand that the brands are keen to burnish their green credentials and Terracycle offer a means for them to tick the "doing something about it" box. Yet how much is actually being recycled and how accessible are these programmes, particularly in rural locations?
That's why I am petitioning the Scottish Government to legislate to force every supermarket in Scotland to collect materials for the Terracycle programmes. We need to have proper processes in place to reduce our waste and safeguard Scotland's future socio-economic prosperity. This seems a common-sense measure that everyone can support. However, we need to show the Scottish Government how passionately we care about this issues, so they take action and don’t get distracted by other objectives.