Every year the UK sends million of tonnes of plastic to landfill. Worse still, scrap steel and other materials are even exported overseas at huge cost. This wasteful system is not only expensive, it is a travesty. Plastic is a valuable resource and should be treated as such because 'waste' as our short-sighted society calls it, is a valuable commodity.
Everyone knows that glass, paper and steel can be recycled, but plastic can be transformed in numerous ways, with untold mainstream uses from building materials to railway sleepers. Plastic can now be recycled into a revolutionary material that is a direct replacement for concrete, steel and wood. Its applications are wide and varied from decking, kerbstones, furniture, flooring and railway sleepers.
The potential of this so-called 'waste' is huge. Unused plastic is a commodity, not a waste, and this is the core of the matter. Waste needs a public relations agency. Even the name has negative connotations. Look up the word waste in a thesaurus and the words 'impurity', 'dross', 'excretion' and 'fumes' are its bedfellows. These are not words often associated with value!
So why, then, does society still send plastic to landfill, or, worse still, export it to another country to be taken care of - at great expense in a monetary and environmental sense?
Society knows that we can't continue using limited resources, but neither the incentives nor the education is in place to motivate us as a global community. There are plenty of disincentives, such as tax and legislation, but there is less in place to help motivate society to change to recycled materials.
Until we wake up to true value of materials, we will continue sleepwalking towards a point of huge market correction, where the true price of being wasteful with non-renewable materials will have a dramatic economic cost to us all, as prices of everything rise in a rush to meet the challenges we face from scarce resources.
So the message today from Greengates Builders Merchants, Lancashire is:
"recycle materials to help make a change to our future world!"