The UK produces a lot of waste. In 2016, the UK generated 222.9 million tonnes of waste, with England being responsible for much of it. 41.1 million tonnes of waste in 2016 came from commercial and industrial sources. However, the country is making strides to improve recycling. In 2017, the rate of recycling for UK households was 45.7%, with a target of 50% for 2020. Biodegradable municipal waste has also fallen, and the majority of packaging waste (70.2%) was recycled in 2017.
One thing that can be a challenge is the recycling of certain materials. However, many companies are making strides with their innovative solutions for recycling, such as those below.
Bio-Bean recycles used coffee grounds, something that many businesses throw away a lot of. Bio-Bean says the UK consumes 95 million cups of coffee a day. Once they collect the wet grounds, which saves businesses money on their waste collection, they dry them out and condition them so they can be used again. The dried coffee grounds can be used as a raw material. They also extract residual compounds from coffee, and make biomass solid fuels.
Nappies can be a dilemma for eco-conscious parents. Reusable nappies offer an alternative, but they're not as convenient as disposable ones. NappiCycle helps to tackle this problem, helping to reduce the 3 billion nappies thrown away each year. They provide collection for all Local Authorities in Wales and extract the cellulose fibre from nappies, which can be used for a variety of purposes, such as in construction.
Many people compost or recycle organic food waste, but not all of it is easy to recycle. Brocklesby specialises in recycling used edible cooking oil and fatty food waste, which can be particularly challenging to recycle. As experts in their field, they process the waste they receive in a variety of ways and it is used for a number of different applications. For example, by extracting oils and fats from food, it can be used in biodiesel.
Cars are a larger item than most to recycle, but it can definitely be done. The different parts and materials can be used in various ways. Rewarding Recycling specialises in recycling cars and can even pay people for their vehicles. Their End-of-Life Vehicle services help more than 4,000 dealerships all over the country. They're also the official recycling partner for a number of manufacturers, including BMW, Toyota, Mini and Mercedes-Benz.
TerraCycle is a UK company specialising in the recycling of materials that are difficult to recycle. They have a range of free recycling programmes run with partners, which make it possible to recycle everything from pet food packets to bread bags, crisp packets and nitrile gloves. They also have large-scale recycling, and they offer Zero Waste Boxes for items that can't be recycled through their free programmes.
These innovative companies are making it possible to recycle materials that have been difficult to recycle, helping to reduce waste across the country.