Our first visit to England in 2008 one day involved, before a lovely Sunday pub lunch, was a stop off to leave bottles at a bottle deposit depot. Green glass in one bin, brown glass in another, clear glass in another.
Our Friend in Japan has to micro sort her recyclables before putting them out for collection.
What do we do in Australia? We chuck anything that is recyclable into one big bin and much of it was exported to China for sorting. China paid us for the recyclables with the money going to whichever company sent them, who in turn paid a modest amount to our local councils who are responsible for the collection of recyclables.
Pollution of recyclables is when there is something in the recycling that should not be there; say used disposable baby nappies, or plastic bags. I can't vouch for these figures but off the top of my head, I think China likes the incoming recyclables with a pollution rate of no more than 8%. What was arriving from Australia had a pollution rate of around 13%. Is it any surprise that China said, no more! We will no longer pay you money to take your polluted rubbish.
Why is this so? Most people here take recycling seriously. We certainly do, but not everyone does. These photos in our building's basement were taken a few years ago and used in a previous post.
Later more signs were added saying 'no plastic bags' and the number of plastic bags did drop. Each time I take the walk of shame down to the basement with the contents of the plastic bag clinking away, I remove any plastic bags from the general recycling bins. I don't go through all the bins, about 14 are filled each week, just if I happen to notice any bags. I tip out the contents, which is normally appropriate for the bin, and put the plastic bag in the plastic bag bin. Why do people do this? It would be better if they just dumped the bag down the rubbish chute on their level.