Cobalt Environment

Is your eco alternative really that good?

All Areas > Environment > Save the Planet

Author: Louise Williams, Posted: Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 09:00

I recently went to an event showcasing the upcoming products due to hit our shops in the run up to Christmas. It may come as no surprise to you that the most popular products were reusable coffee cups and water bottles, with cutlery and straws everywhere you looked too.

The question is, are these wonder products, billed as environmentally friendly, really all that good?

There was an enormous variety of different cups and bottles available – patterns, metallic, bright colours, folding – and there certainly seem to be different trends, making the humble reusable product a fashion item, encouraging shops to bring out more and more designs. So why isn’t this a great thing?

Well it can be, but you have to think about one important thing before you buy – can this be recycled? The issue is that many of these items can’t be, and when the inevitable happens and there is a new, shinier cup that catches your eye, or you forget it one day and instead of having a paper cup, you try to do your bit and grab a new one at the counter of your favourite coffee shop, what happens to your old one?

What do you do with them if they can’t be recycled?

The same applies to water bottles. They are absolutely brilliant in theory, and I myself use one often, but I can’t tell you how many my children have lost or broken at school, and then what do you do with them if they can’t be recycled?

Often they are made of materials that aren’t accepted at the plants in the UK and so they end up in landfill and the chances are, they will take even longer to break down than thin plastic, resulting in an issue we are very familiar with. They may not be single use items, but they end up being just as bad for the planet.

Do your research

So what can you do? Well, it’s a brilliant thing to have reusable items, but make sure you do your research first. Is it made of a material that can be recycled? Is part of it ok but the lid isn’t?

Check before you buy

I was caught out by an amazing sounding bamboo cup, but it turned out that due to the melamine resin it is in, it can’t be recycled at all. There are some that are completely compostable out there, and some that are able to be fully recycled, so just make sure that you check before you buy and make sure you do actually recycle it after.

While it’s better to keep a product for as long as you possibly can to get the most use out of it, it’s ok to be swayed by the latest fashion or to simply get bored, as long as the item you’re bored of doesn’t end up making the problem worse.

 

For more from Louise, visit her blog here: Pink Pear Bear

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