Click on the sections below to learn more:
Simply put, recycling involves breaking down an item so that it can be used as materials in making new item(s). Reuse means using the item again, as it is.
For the Reusables concept there's a bit more to it. Recycling of plastic degrades the quality of the plastic each time. So each time it is recycled the item ends up being used in different item that doesn't require plastic of as high quality, until after about 4 to 6 cycles it becomes unusable. It ends up as general waste at that time.
For Reusables UK we reuse the item repeatedly for its original purpose - collecting, washing and returning to the manufacturer to be refilled with the same product. We're stressing that point as reuse can mean using an item for a new purpose - such as turning a bottle into a flower vase etc. For Reusables UK its about creating a circular economy with minimal waste, especially minimal plastic waste.
We will collect:
Glass and plastic bottles of all sizes
Plastic tubs - for butter, sweets, takeaways etc
Glass and plastic jars
Paint, glue containers.
We also expect to collect products that aren't being used yet, once the infrastructure we set up encourages their creation. So reusable envelopes, reusable plastic wrap for food. And we expect new products we haven't thought of, that will be created once designers realise they can receive their packaging back.
What we won't collect:
Paper and cardboard packaging. We can't wash such packaging or maintain it's shape, therefore we can't reuse it.
Tin cans. The current system works well and our system would not be as efficient or effective as the current process.
Deposit Return Schemes involve paying a deposit for the bottle, which is paid back to the purchaser when they return the bottle back to a DPR machine. These have been used for many years in the USA, Germany and many Scandinavian countries. So we are able to judge the effectiveness of these schemes with actual data and there are obvious and not so obvious issues.
Obvious - DRS are limited in what they can accept, namely bottles and cans. This leaves a wide variety of plastic packaging which isn't taken in by the scheme, such as tubs, shrink wrap, bubble wrap, etc.
Not so obvious - Studies have found that once the public get used to the concept of having the deposit returned to them they become aware there is no actual punishment for using plastic bottles if they return them. It was found in Germany that the public became more concerned at the logistics of returning bottles than the environmental impact. They began using more single use plastic, instead of glass, because it was lighter and therefore easier to transport back to the DRS machines. Plastic usage increased.
With Reusables our emphasis is on making the use of returnable packaging as simple as possible. We collect from the same place as your other bin collections, there is no charge to the public for collection and we can collect any packaging that can be reused without further manufacturing processes.
For the public the service will be free, the costs will be recouped by selling the collected packaging back to the producer.
For packaging producers we will negotiate a price per unit based of weight, dimensions and cleaning requirements of the product. But as a rough guide, if we can fit around 20 items in one bag the price will be around 10p per unit.
You can't sign up for this service as an individual. We are offering the equivalent of a local bin collection service for reusable packaging, so we'll be opening into new areas when we have the agreement with the local council, and the finances are in place for an expansion to a new area.
But please contact us to register interest. Provide us with the name of your town, city or county and we'll prioritise expanding into those areas showing the greatest interest.
If you like what our company plans to do and want to help there is one simple thing you can do.
Spread the word.
We're raising capital through selling advertising space on our bags. The more publicity we attract then the more attractive the space becomes to potential advertisers. So tell your friends about us. If you work for a large organisation that would like nationwide positive publicity, drop a line to your marketing department to let them know about the opportunity of sponsoring us / advertising with us. If you think of an organisation that would benefit from switching to reusable products, contact them to let them know about us.
Contact your local council to ask them if they're signing up to work with us - both because it would help the environment but also save them money through reduced refuse collections. A useful link to find out who your local councillors are and how to write to them is included here. Find my councillor
As stated above, spreading the word is enough, but I am aware people may want to support us more directly. I have set up a go fund me page, link below. This will be used to purchase the automated bottle washing machines, ship them over from our suppliers, and pay for training of maintenance engineers.
Go fund me for Reusables UK
Nowhere, yet. The location for the first centre will be based, to be honest, on whichever local authority makes us feel most welcome. We'll be making local authorities aware we're looking for a location soon.
The location will also be determined by where we think we can do the most good. The processing centres will provide a lot of unskilled jobs but with good rates of pay. We'll be looking at areas with high youth unemployment and/or high long term unemployment, to provide those people with a way into employment.
On a more practical level the location will need access to the rail network and good road connections.