“Biodegradable” – the Attractive Word for “Landfill”

Hydropac eco credentials

With more and more companies rolling out either ‘less plastic’ or ‘no plastic’ products, “recycling” continues to be the new buzzword, both in the UK and further afield. It has been hard for some companies to shift their product range to be more environmentally friendly and we’ve seen the word “biodegradable” popping up a lot of late! It sounds good, but it is really just a better way of saying “still goes to landfill”.

Products that are biodegradable are obviously better than products that aren’t, but they are not recyclable. It’s important to make that distinction, as some products labelled as biodegradable can still take up to 500 years to fully break down, and still end up in landfill as opposed to being recycled into something else! Take plastic nappies or wipes for example – we all know they make up a huge part of our landfill problem, so big brands such as Huggies have made the biodegradability of their products clear on their website – however, that doesn’t mean they will degrade any quicker than brands who haven’t, and nor are they are more recyclable.

Obviously, there’s always going to be products that do not break down or cannot be recycled (such as most mobile phone batteries, and you wouldn’t want to be without that), although this will decrease over time as new, innovative solutions and materials are found. Continuing on the nappy front, brands such as Mothercare and Sainsburys have also invested in eco-friendly disposable nappies and inserts for reusable nappies, which not only gives them an environmentally friendly edge of competing brands but also goes a little way to reducing our landfill burden for the future.

Latest Landfill Stats

The latest UK statistics on waste from February 2018 (released y the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) show that the amount of UK biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) sent to landfill in 2016 was similar to the figure released from 2015 – approx. 7.7 million tonnes per year. Figures from 2017 are still to be released later this month and we’ll update this blog accordingly when we can. Whilst there has been a clear and significant decrease in the amount of BMW sent to landfill in recent years – this figure totalled 25 million tonnes in 2010 – it will be important for companies to keep evolving and pushing their innovation as we move forward, especially with this figure plateauing in recent years.

Hydropac Ethos

We are passionate about reducing waste and sending less to landfill; to that end, our products are long lasting and will stand the test of time!

  • 99% of our products are 100% recyclable AND reusable.
  • The other 1% – Our Reflective Air Bags. These ARE made entirely of recyclable materials, but the recycling centres in the UK are not quite ready to separate the materials for recycling. However, due to the very low weight ratio compared to other systems, the effective disposal costs are minimal.
  • Our Polystyrene Systems (EPS) can be recycled at any one of the EPC Recycling centres throughout the UK – see link for further info: http://www.eps.co.uk/sustainability/eps_recycling_points.html
  • We use closed cell, non-cross-linked polyethylene for our Foam Liners – this is fully recyclable through normal household recycled collections as well as being almost indestructible, waterproof, wipe clean and totally reusable.
  • Our Thermal postal pockets and Ice Packs are made entirely of LDPE materials – these can also be recycled through normal household collections
  • Our water Ice Packs also contain the purest water there is, and it’s been independently certified as safe for human consumption, so either you, your pets or your plants will love it!
  • Our are also totally recyclable through household recycled collections.
  • Our Carry Home Bags are also totally recyclable through household recycled collections
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