I’m Hayley Pearce and, like most people, I rely a lot on plastic.
Most of my day-to-day items like shampoo and shower gel, make-up
and even the takeaways I order contains some form of plastic.
It can’t be recycled.
That’s mad. No!
Now I’m on a mission to make my social life a bit more eco-friendly.
Plastic in cigarettes?
So I’m just finishing off, now,
my final touches before I go out to Swansea!
I love a night out, I bloody do.
But plastic on a night out is just not something
me and my friends think about.
Welcome to Swansea, everybody!
For the first time ever,
I’m going to try having a zero-waste night out.
So I’m off to meet Ella, an eco-friendly Swansea student.
How much plastic do you think we all use on a night out?
I think it’s probably more than we realise.
I brought some examples, these guys. Yeah.
The disposable shot glass.
I mean, they just go straight in the bin.
Some places do still serve in plastic cups.
I mean, how wasteful is that?
So, in place of plastic cups,
we’re going to be taking our own along
and asking bars if they’ll put our drinks in these for us.
And then metal straws.
Seeing as we’re here, we might as well ask the student union
to be the first one to try it out. Let’s see if they’ll say yes.
Could you pour us a drink with our own glasses, please? Yeah.
What would you like to drink? Two vodka Diet Cokes, please.
OK, cool. Have you ever had anyone come here before with their own cup?
This is the first time.
Let’s hope we get the same response
in some other bars we go to now, then, eh? Mm-hmm.
We brought our own cup,
so if we could have it in that, that’d be great. What?
I’ve left it in the last pub.
Your cup? Oh, my God, guys,
I’ve left it in the last pub. I’m sorry.
Oh, my God!
Having found that most of the bars that are on board with us
using our own metal cups,
Ella and I tackle a less well known plastic culprit, cigarettes.
And to help the Swansea partygoers dispose of their butts properly,
we’ve brought along our own bin.
So sorry, this is so random, I know,
but what are you going to do when you finish that cigarette?
To be truthful, I’d probably flick it.
Where are you going to throw your cigarette tonight?
Hopefully in the bin.
Down the drain, probably, yeah. Down the drain? OK.
Globally, more than 4.5 trillion cigarette butts make their way
into the environment every year.
Where would you put it out? On the floor.
Why would you put it out on the floor?
Where else are you going to put it?
But only 38% of UK smokers know there’s plastic in cigarettes.
Did you know there’s plastic in the filters? I didn’t. I didn’t, no.
I didn’t know it contained plastic.
Not going to lie, I did not know that.
I knew exactly that it was plastic. I don’t care.
Cheers, buddy! Nice one. Have a good night. And you, bye-bye.
When you think about it, it’s mad.
So many people throw them on the streets and pavements, on the road.
I mean, come on.
So I’m on my way to London with my big ciggy.
I’m going to see a company called TerraCycle.
Apparently, they’re going to recycle my used fag butts.
These guys specialise in things that are hard to recycle,
and were the first company in the world
to find a way to make new products out of old cigarette butts.
So this is a type of plastic.
It’s the same material that you’ll find in my glasses frames,
in playing cards and also in things like camera film.
What we do, we separate them out and then we shred them.
I mean, we get a flake like this and then that can be turned
into weather-resistant board material. So if you smell that,
you’ll see it still smells a little bit of cigarette waste.
The other thing that we can do as well is
we can kind of mix that material with other recycled plastics
and it turns it into this little kind of pellet
that we can use that to injection mould into new products.
So that, for example, has been used to make these cigarette ashtrays.
I didn’t know you could recycle cigarettes,
so I’m baffled by it all.
We always say to people, you know,
if you’re recycling something with us,
tell other people that you can recycle it.
You know, you need to start with yourself
rather than expect someone else to do it. Yeah.
Show other people that it’s something you’re taking seriously.
But it’s not just smoking
and drinking that contributes to plastic waste on a night out.
Takeaways have also become
an integral part of our social lives.
So Ella and are gate-crashing a friend’s night in to find out
how much plastic our favourite fast foods come in.
I want you to order something
that you think will come in the least amount of plastic.
Yeah. Let’s get ordering.
The problem is, as soon as you say, Hayley, “takeaway”,
I don’t really care about the packaging cos I just want the food!
So none of you actually think
about what your food comes in when you order it? No.
I can’t blame you.
When you’re hungry, you’re hungry.
That’s all you care about, is the actual food.
Time for Ella to rate our takeaway packaging.
So the first thing is obviously the plastic bag.
It’s a very pretty plastic bag.
Lovely, but they aren’t recyclable.
One, two, three, four plastic pots and then two smaller ones.
Is that a bit excessive?
We’ll have them later. Exactly!
Well, you know, they’re handy to have round the house.
And if they are reused, there’s really nothing wrong with them.
So cardboard is recyclable.
However, when it’s been contaminated with food oils,
it can’t be recycled.
That’s mad. No! Yeah, I know.
These are actually so bad because if you put this in a bin
with other paper that wasn’t contaminated with that,
the oil can then go through all the other paper and ruin all of that.
What do they expect people to do, then?
I was going to say. It’s like a hidden nightmare.
People don’t know this stuff, you know what I mean?
No, I would not have known that.
Chopsticks and a plastic fork.
Who doesn’t like options?
Not everyone can eat with chopsticks, though.
And then these two, they look like cardboard,
but anything that’s designed to carry food
will have to have been waterproofed in some way.
Which means you can’t recycle it. No.
What you and me ordered, Hayley,
just look at the state of this.
So everything is individually wrapped in cellophane,
which is completely non-recyclable.
Polystyrene pot, completely non-recyclable.
So we really did atrociously.
OK, Ella, you’ve told us some interesting facts,
but I think it’s time to tuck in. Yes!
I am going for it.
While a lot of our takeaway packaging
isn’t as recyclable as we think,
some businesses are trying to minimise their plastic footprint.
Hello! Hi, how are you doing? You must be Matthew.
I am, pleased to meet you. Nice to meet you.
I can’t wait to try your famous chips.
First of all, you have to get changed and do some work. All right!
That’s it, down and then throw it away from you.
There we are. That looks pretty good to me.
Why am I so excited about battering a fish, like?
Matthew, tell me why you started to eliminate plastic
from your chip shop.
This year, we made a mission statement.
We were working towards 0% plastic
and I believe if everybody does a little bit,
the world will become a better place.
Grab the tongs, very gently. Don’t snap it.
Nice and gentle, now. Hiya, buddy, how can I help you?
Could I please have a small chips? Yeah. Small chips, please!
Fish, chips and a pea fritter.
Where’s the pea fritter?
We used to use polystyrene,
but we moved into the biodegradable packaging.
It’s a lot firmer.
And what we do as well,
we put stickers on our packaging to educate our customers.
We put on these, “Please put me in the food waste”. Right.
We use this greaseproof to stop any grease from touching the box.
This then can go into the recycling
rather than going into normal general waste.
So what do you think about the packaging in here, then?
I think it’s good for the environment.
Very good for the environment.
Probably get sacked for eating on the job.
Sit the fish in very gently, now, be careful. Look at that.
That’s what you call a fish supper. Fair play.
So, never ever gone to a fish shop
and come out with packaging like that.
I know. It’s fantastic. We try our best. It’s amazing.
I walk out of my door at the end of my day,
I press my shutters down
and I know I’ve done the best I possibly could
for my environment, for my community and for my future.
My look into the plastics we use in our social lives
has been a real eye-opener.
I would never have thought to take my own cup on a night out.
As for the cigarettes, it’s blown my mind that they can be recycled.
But there does need to be a change in attitude,
as we can’t keep throwing them on the floor.
The amount of plastics in our takeaways
was never going to shock me,
but I thought I was clued up on recycling until I met Ella.
I think what it comes down to is businesses need to sort it out
and provide the correct packaging and just stop all the confusion.
She got the job!
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