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Single use plastics and recycling

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Single use plastics and recycling

Rubbish and recycling:  

Every day, everyone has lots of rubbish to dispose of, and what people do with their rubbish is very important. There are lots of different types of rubbish, including food, plastic or paper waste, as well as general waste which cannot be recycled. Carefully considering what to do with your rubbish depending on the type is really important.  

This is because putting your rubbish in the wrong place can be harmful to habitats and animals, especially if the rubbish is a single use plastic.  

Single use plastics:  

Single use plastics are used once and then thrown away. This can include things such as water bottles and plastic bags.  

These are not very sustainable. Sustainable means something that can be carried on for a long period of time with little or no harm to the environment. Single use plastics are not very sustainable. 

Plastic rubbish which gets washed into the sea can trap different sea creatures meaning that they get stuck and cannot swim any more. This might mean that the animal dies if they cannot be saved.  

The same can happen on land too.  

Plastic can also enter the sea and be broken down into ‘micro-plastic’ which sea animals can eat accidentally. The plastic then builds up in the animal’s stomach and can make them poorly. 

Using reusable things instead, such as reusable water bottles, can really help to reduce the amount of single use plastic that gets left in the environment. You can also sort your rubbish into the right bin.  

What can you do with your rubbish?  

It is important that humans put their rubbish into the right bin so that it can be destroyed properly to help stop these problems.  

Once rubbish has been put into a general waste bin it goes to somewhere else called a landfill site. The rubbish is buried at the landfill site and takes many years to rot away. Rubbish that is rotting also adds greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. 

To help prevent rubbish from going to landfill, we can use different bins for different types of rubbish. 

This is called recycling 

Recycling means that less new materials need to be made or used, which is better for the planet. It also reduces the amount of rubbish in landfill sites.  

Materials that can be recycled include paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, cans, glass, wood and metal. You can put garden waste into compost bins or special garden bins if they exist in your area too.    


The same considerations apply to the use of medicines. 

You may have seen the packets that some tablets come in. These are called blister packs. 

A lot of people throw their blister packs into plastic recycling bins but this is wrong. As the top of the blister pack is made of metal, it gets separated from the rest of the recycled rubbish in sorting factories.  

To help with this problem, some companies are looking at introducing more sustainable medicine packaging which can be easily recycled, or packaging which is made of recycled materials. For example, Takeda is a company who makes medicines, and they are aiming for at least 50% of all paper packaging to made from recycled paper or be Forest Stewardship certified by 2025.  

Forest Stewardship Council Certification means that the materials which are used to make the packaging have come from forests which are protected. 

Help Ellie sort her rubbish!

Ellie the Climate Champion has been asked by her Mum and Dad to sort the rubbish into different recycling bins. Ellie is busy with her homework though!

Can you drag the rubbish to the right bin to help her?