How the Coronavirus has affected the Zero Waste movement

From plastic bag charges to the promotion of reusable coffee cups, these were the steps included in the action plan for the UK public to be less wasteful. That was until 2020 hit the entire world with an unexpected health crisis, the Coronavirus.

At the beginning of March 2020, Starbucks made the decision to temporarily pause the use of personal cups or tumblers in their stores across the UK, as a precaution to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Many cafes and restaurants have made the switch to takeaway and delivery services, which too comes with its effects on the environment too. With food which would usually be served on a plate, now in takeaway packaging, and food waste rising due to unpredictable ordering patterns making it easy to prepare more food than is needed leading to an increase in food waste.

If you use an online grocery delivery service from supermarkets, you may have also noticed the plastic bag charge has been temporarily suspended by the Government and is expected to end on 21st September 2020. According to the Government, the change will speed up deliveries and reduce the risk of contamination. People have also taken it upon themselves to stop using their reusable shopping bags in stores, and start using the single-use plastic bags which they can then dispose of once they have finished with them. Indeed many delivery companies like Ocado have suspended their carrier bag takeback schemes.

For many Governments and Organisations across the world containing the virus is currently a greater priority than environmental concerns. But, no one truly knows how long these temporary changes will need to last. Can the zero waste movement survive the Coronavirus?

 

   

Thank you for the thank you’s

As isolation continues across the UK to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, people across the country have left their thank you messages for key workers who are continuing to provide vital services.

Along with the clap for the NHS and care workers every Thursday at 8pm, people have been leaving heart warming messages for refuse collectors who are also in amongst those classed as essential workers. From sticking notes to their bins, to writing on the pavement in chalk on collection day, which our Finance and Operations Administrator Helen, did to show her gratitude. The messages don’t go unnoticed and are certainly appreciated.

Waste collectors are vital to avoid the overflow of rubbish which if left to mount up, can cause a spread in diseases, attract vermin, harm the environment and ruin our community reputations. You can read more about this in our blog about fly tipping here.

If you have rubbish which you can’t put in your wheelie bins, perhaps you’ve had a clear out or it’s simply just over flowing, you can read about our on demand waste collections here or get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.

 

   

Staying Safe During Covid-19

It’s been over a month since the UK Government announced the official lockdown, some of you may have been in self-isolation for longer. This is to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and protect everyone around us, including our NHS. We’ve outlined in this blog some tips to help you stay safe and well, and keep occupied.

Tips for staying safe at home

The Government have told us to only go outside for food, health reasons or to work if you cannot work from home as you can spread the virus even if you don’t have the virus. This means that we’re spending more time at home. But, how do you stay safe even whilst you’re at home?

The first tip is washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with either soap and water or an alcohol-based hand gel, this kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth because your hands touch many surfaces, they can pick up viruses and touching your eyes, nose and mouth, these viruses can enter your body.

If you cough or sneeze, it’s important to follow good respiratory hygiene such as covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue which you then dispose of immediately.

We also recommend that you wash your hands after pulling in your bin when it’s been emptied, your refuse collector could have emptied up to 2000 bins before touching yours.

Tips for keeping busy at home

They’re loads of tips we can suggest to keep busy at home from reading a book to taking up a new hobby.

It seems that home improvements have been keeping people busy lately, when B&Q opened it’s doors here in Nottingham on Thursday 23rd April, hundreds of people turned up to get their hands on their stock. Just a couple of weeks before that almost 400 cars turned up to use the click and collect service at the Riverside Retail Park, which resulted in the Nottinghamshire Police having to assist staff.

Maybe you could try an upcycling project, check our blog here for some fun ideas, and to see even more ideas follow us on social media by clicking the icons below.

One method of keeping busy that has been popular has been clear outs, from wardrobe clear outs to garden clear outs. However, with this, we’ve seen a rise in flytipping. So, if you’re struggling to manage the waste your producing, which naturally you will be producing more, we can help. From on-demand waste collections to skip hire or even just help with overflowing rubbish. We can even provide you with pallets so you can keep busy with your garden work.

Staying safe when you have to leave the house

If you do have to leave your house, they’re several ways that you can stay safe, such as ensuring you always stay 2 meters away from people.

The World Health Organisation are also urging people to use contactless payments, the contactless limit on your bank card has been raised from £30 to £45. WHO claim that as physical cash changes hands multiple times, it’s much more likely to pick up bacteria and can cling onto the virus.

You can read many more tips to staying safe while out here: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11320568/coronavirus-stay-safe-leave-house/

   

 

Clearing out your work space?

Like many of us across the country, you may have reduced business due to the restrictions in place while we tackle the Coronavirus. That doesn’t mean the time has to be spent being unproductive, it’s time to get those jobs done that you’ve been meaning to start but just haven’t had time for in normal business. Maybe that’s clearing out an old office, or sorting your archive cupboard, or maybe even disposing of redundant products. Now is the time to get those jobs done that you keep putting off, so you’re ready to bounce back once this is all over. And to help you during this process we’ll act as a single point of contact for all of your waste disposal needs, so you don’t need to waste time finding different companies, you can focus on clearing out your workspace.

Can you really collect all types of waste?

Our clearance teams are on hand to safely collect and recycle pretty much any type of waste product you have, but if you’re unsure what type of waste we’ll collect, here is a list of common items we remove from clearance jobs. Don’t worry if your items aren’t on here, get in touch with us and we’ll try our best to help!

Pallets – you can download our helpful resource on the types of wood pallets here.

Oil Rags

Tyres

Cardboard and Paper – Do you produce cardboard on a regular basis? Find out about our cardboard collection service here.

Baled Waste

Hard and Soft Plastic

Old Furniture

Rubble

Soil

Wood

Fabric

Newspapers and Pamphlets

We can provide a variety of services to suit your needs from skip hire, you can find out what size skip will suit you here, or we can offer on-demand waste services. Our on-demand waste service is a fast, and efficient all in one rubbish collection that we can offer nationwide. Get in touch to find the right option for you.

 

   

On demand waste collection

What to do with your waste during Covid-19

We’ve been in lockdown for some time now and with it being unknown when we will see it come to an end, more of us have been trying to keep busy by doing work around our homes. From giving the garden some TLC to giving your living room a makeover or even just having a good clear out, maybe you’ve done all of those! As we’re seeing more people getting stuck in with their DIY projects, we’re unfortunately also seeing a rise in fly-tipping up and down the country. In fact, The Countryside Alliance reports a 300% rise in fly-tipping in some areas after local authorities closed recycling centres, allowing them to concentrate on kerbside collections.

We do have a solution for you because we know how important it is to some people to keep busy during these challenging times. It’s a solution which means you don’t need to illegally dump your waste, you don’t need to stop your projects, you don’t even need to leave your home.  Our solution is our on-demand waste collection service, all you have to do is get in touch with us and we’ll come out to collect your waste. Whether you’re overflowing with rubbish, had a garage clear out, or maybe you’re looking for an alternative to a skip. Well, our man and a van collection service may be the answer for you.

We’re here to help you, no matter how out of ordinary your enquiry is for us. We have been helping people nationwide with their waste collections, and have even provided a delivery and collection service. We had someone reach out to us who couldn’t get their sofa delivered. So we arranged for one of our on-demand waste collectors to go and pick it up and then deliver it safely to their door.

Our customers are one of our top priorities and we will always do our best to support you, more so now than ever during this difficult time.

Get in touch, we’ll be happy to help.


   

Plastic bottle washed up on a beach

How does plastic actually harm the environment?

You see it on TV, you read it online, you can’t escape hearing about how bad plastic is for the environment. Over the years people have started to cut back on plastic consumption, and although many people are aware that plastic is bad for the environment, many people don’t actually know why.

What are the types of plastic?

They’re lots of different types of plastics. You may have noticed the little triangles on your plastic packages, a lot of people think they mean the item can be recycled but actually they represent the type of plastic that has been used. Here our chart explaining each triangle:

Is all plastic recyclable?

Nearly all types of plastics can be recycled but this depends on a lot of factors such as economic and logistics. The most recycled plastics are the two used to make items such as milk bottles, PET and HDPE. However, there is a limit to how many times plastic can be recycled, you can read more here.

Why is plastic so bad?

Plastic debris can be found everywhere from the Arctic to Antarctica. It kills millions of animals each year, from fish to birds and many others, whether it’s from entanglement, blocked digestive tracts or pierced organs. They’re many reasons why plastic is bad for animals, but it isn’t just them who are affected by plastic. It clogs street drains in cities, litters parks and has been found piling up on Mount Everest.

Plastic is also one of the main products of fracking which is bad for the planet for many reasons, it pollutes water, soil and air with toxins.

How plastic pollution can be reduced

They’re many ways we can reduce plastic pollution, such as buying reusable cups/bottles, purchasing metal straws to carry around with you, shopping at zero waste stores, here are our two favourites in Nottingham Shop Zero and The Good Weigh. Supermarkets like Iceland have an aim to be plastic-free by 2023 and Lidl has made lots of changes to reach their goals to reduce plastic.

And finally, recycle the plastic you have, get in touch with us for any advice or questions you might have. We can provide services tailored to you.

 

   

Flame UK are key workers

Amid the ever-developing Coronavirus situation and following Boris Johnson’s announcement on the Monday 23rd March 2020, Flame UK reassure you that we are all taking responsible actions during this time to support our key working industry. As the waste sector is included in the ‘key worker’ status, this means us here at Flame UK are classed as key workers.

The health of our partners, customers and our team members is our highest priority. As a business, we are closely following the government guidelines, as well as following the advice of Public Health England and the World Health Organisation by introducing a variety of measures to minimise the impact to public health. Please see our continuity statement for more information.

Recycling and waste sector employees have been granted ‘key worker’ status by the government during the crisis, meaning they will continue to provide you with your usual service. If you would like your services to be paused, please let us know by calling 0115 896 5460.

Why will we continue?

Collecting material is key for our future markets. We must continue to produce packaging for vital medical supplies and food, meaning we must continue to collect and convert materials in the most environmentally safe and economical way during such uncertain times.

If your business operation has been affected by the most recent government announcement, please contact our team as we are available and ready to help you and your business.

 

   

How many times can that be recycled?

Do you know that some recyclable materials have a life expectancy? Some materials can be recycled multiple times, even an infinite number of times and others have a limit of maybe once or twice.

Paper – 5 to 7 times

Paper’s ability to be recycled is lowered each time it gets reused. Paper is made up of long fibres and every time it goes through the recycling process these fibres get shorter and shorter. The shorter they get the harder the paper is to recycle. On average printer paper can only be recycled 5 to 7 times, beyond this point the fibres will be too short and can’t be turned into paper anymore. They can, however, turn the paper into a paste which can then be used for things such as egg cartons.

Plastic – 1 to 2 times

On average plastic can only be recycled once or twice before it’s no longer recyclable, meaning it gets recycled into something else such as material for clothing like a fleece sweater. Whilst the items made from plastic can’t be recycled and will eventually end up in landfill, it’s much more energy-efficient to use reused plastic to make these items then it is to use new materials.

Glass – Infinite

Glass can be recycled an unlimited amount of times. Although, different types of glass have different melting points which means that they can’t be recycled together as they wouldn’t both be done at the same time when melting. Recycling glass is 33% more energy-efficient than it is to create it from scratch.

Metal – Infinite

Metal is categorised into ferrous and non-ferrous, but all metals have an infinite amount of times that they can be recycled without degrading. The difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals is that ferrous metals contain iron and non-ferrous metals don’t, meaning that they each have different qualities and uses.

Aluminium – Infinite

Finally, aluminium, which also has no limit to how many times it can be recycled because it doesn’t lose any quality.

Contact us for more information or advice about how you can recycle and become more sustainable.

 

   

Image of litter in bin

School Waste: Where does it all go?

It’s estimated that on average 4.2 million tonnes of good food produced by schools is wasted each year. That isn’t including any other types of waste, which we’re going to discuss in this blog. If you’d like to find out more about where food waste goes head over to our blog Food Waste: What happens when it’s collected. Schools produce such a wide variety of waste types, and we’re going to look into all of them.

Paper and Card

Paper and card can both be recycled (as long as it doesn’t have any sort of glitter, foil etc on that you would usually find with Christmas or Birthday cards, so make sure you try to pull any off before recycling). When they have been collected, they’re taken to a recycling plant where they get separated by type and grade. It then gets washed with soapy water to remove ink, plastic film, staples and glue. This then is put into a large holder and mixed with water to create “slurry” and by adding different materials, different paper products can be created from newspaper to cardboard. The slurry then gets spread into large thin sheets using large rollers. Once the paper is dry it is ready to be cut and sent back to shops. However, the paper is made up of long fibres meaning, each time it is recycled, those fibres are shortened so, therefore, paper cannot be recycled indefinitely.

Plastic Waste

Some plastics can also be recycled, once collected it gets taken to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and plastics are sorted into polymer types, because not all plastic items are made from the same form of plastic, some are also mixed. Once the materials have been separated they get transported to reprocessing facilities to be recycled by plastic-type. The plastic will either be shredded into flakes or melt-processed to form pellets, which can then be moulded into new products such as water bottles.

Unfortunately, a lot of UK plastic recycling is exported abroad due to the labour cost and infrastructure in the UK waste industry, and while some of it is still recycled into new products it’s hard to track exactly what happens to it once it has left our borders.

Garden Waste

Garden waste gets taken to a composting site where it then gets turned into a nutritious soil conditioner. Once it arrives at the composting site any material that isn’t compostable gets removed, usually by hand, and the remaining waste is shredded, and then left to decompose. The last part of the recycling process is to screen the compost to remove any remaining contaminants and grade the material for various end uses. This process can take between 8 and 16 weeks.

Another process that is available is in-vessel composting, this is the same however is under pressure and microbes are added to the material to speed the process up.

General Waste

General waste is waste which can’t be recycled such as non-recyclable plastics, polythene, some packaging, etc. 10 years ago, This waste would have been disposed of in landfill sites but with the advances in technology and space in the landfills decreasing rapidly, it means that there are different ways that we can deal with general waste, such as recovering energy from waste. Non-recyclable products are taken to an incinerator which burns the waste and collects the gasses, the gasses produced are then treated and converted into Gas and Electric that powers your home/business.

Metals

Waste metal is segregated down into types and is sent to a furnace to get melted down into ingots, a mass of metal shaped suitably for further processing, and can be sent to manufacturers and production companies. These ingots can be shaped and moulded into a variety of products, one of the most common uses for recycled metals is packaging such as cans or even computer components.

Glass

Once glass waste has been collected and taken to be reprocessed it gets crushed, and contaminants are removed at this stage. The glass then gets melted in a furnace and moulded or blown into new bottles or jars. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be endlessly reprocessed with no loss of quality.

We can provide services for any of these waste types and will work with you to find the best sustainable solution for you.

 

   

Food Waste: What happens when it’s collected?

The topic of food waste has started to pop up more and more as we are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact we have on the environment. Food waste can come from a variety of different outlets. From pubs, restaurants, cafes or food manufacturing sites, where ever it’s generated, we all have a part to play in reducing food waste.

Is separating food waste from general waste, actually worth it? Yes. Here is what happens to food waste once it’s collected, and why it’s worth separating.

What happens to food waste after it’s collected?

Food waste bins for commercial properties are around the same size as the bins we have at home. The services available are very flexible, both packaged food and uncooked food can be accepted within the collection. The bins come with a heavy-duty liner to ensure they remain clean and food waste from the prep area can be bagged and dropped into the bins at the end of the day. When these bins are collected, the truck driver will tie up the bin liner, put it straight on the collection truck, lift, tip and replace the liner when the bin has been emptied. The collections are flexible and based on the requirements of each customer.

Once the truck arrives back at the anaerobic digestion plant they tip into a specialised de-packaging area. Anaerobic digestion is the process of breaking down food waste to produce biogas and biofertiliser. During the process, bacteria break down the material and reacts to give off methane gas which is captured within the dome of the AD holding tanks. The methane is then captured and used as a fuel to power generators which feed electricity back into the National Grid. The remainder of the material can then be used as fertiliser, local farmers collect the fertiliser and spread it back onto their fields creating the perfect closed-loop approach.

It’s really important for businesses that produce food waste to consider this approach. Many waste processors are opting for energy from waste, however, leaving wet food waste in your business waste means that energy from waste facilities don’t want it. Leaving landfill as the only option even after the waste has been sorted.

Food is now a recyclable, just as card and plastics are. We pride ourselves in giving our customers a flexible service and offering a route of disposal for all materials, to suit every business need.