At Single Use Alternatives we are committed to providing ethical, sustainable alternatives to single use plastics. Therefore helping the circular economy by significantly reducing the amount of waste in landfill from disposable items.
Be aware that not all plastics are created equal. As new innovative products come to market, the challenge on the circular economy is increasing. With many different options for extracting the resources from these products. This is further compounded by each local authority in the UK having slightly different methods for collection and processing these materials.
To help close the loop, we are working with partners and local authorities to provide a solution.
We like to keep things simple here. We have broken down all the different sustainable material types used in our products into three main recycling types. As each local authority is different, we provide guidance only on exactly how these materials are to be processed.
Recyclable materials can be recycled by your local authority in the standard way. These are sorted (mechanically and by hand), shredded, washed, melted into pellets and then made into new products. These plastics can be either made from fossil-based or bio-based materials. Just because something is bio-based, does not mean it will biodegrade. Only non-biodegradable materials can be recycled. In fact mixing in compostable or biodegradable materials can impact on the recycling process.
Some materials can break down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass in small pieces in about 90 days. It is a fully organic process and as such can be done either in your home composter or done at an industrial scale by your local authority. All our compostable products are certified compostable, meaning that they will break down within 90 days under industrial composting conditions. These compostable materials can go in your food waste but you may need to check with you local authority. These can also be home composted but may take longer than the certified 90 days depending on your composter and conditions. You can read more about composting here https://www.recyclenow.com/reduce-waste/composting.
Even though some compostable materials may look and feel like plastic, these must not be placed in with your plastic recycling.
In theory every material is technically biodegradable. In landfill, plastic can take up to 1000 years to fully biodegrade. Our biodegradable materials take considerably less time than this. The biodegrading process, much like composting, requires oxygen however. So these items require special industrial scale composters to fully biodegrade in a timely manner. Not every authority has this capability so you will need to check exactly how these materials are to be disposed of. As with compostable materials, these must not be placed in with recyclable materials as it can degrade the final recycled plastic.