One aspect of this design challenge is to design an item can go inside the home to help people separate plastics bottles, pots tubs, trays, and plastic bags and wrappings from their home.
In County Durham, plastic bottles, pots, tubs, and trays can be recycled at home and collected through their fortnightly household collection along with other materials such as paper, cans, and cardboard.
In County Durham glass is collected separately in an open plastic box.
Plastic bags and wrappings need to be taken to large supermarkets to be recycled in store and cannot go into the home recycling.
Nationally, people recycle more drinks bottles than bottles from other areas of the home such as the bathroom or bottles that require cleaning. People also recycle less than half of the plastic pots, tubs and trays that come with the food they buy such as yoghurt pots, margarine cartons, ice-cream tubs and fruit and vegetable trays than they buy. Individuals tell us they are reluctant to clean and sort plastics and prepare for recycling before placing into their recycling wheelie bin, ready for the local council to collect.
UK residents often find it difficult to recycle from other rooms in the house and it is a challenge to sort, clean and prepare plastics for recycling. You may wish to take this into account in your design.
At the moment plastic bottles are collected for recycling in all Local Authorities across the whole of England. However, when we are away from home i.e., at work, school, college or playing sport, we may not be able to recycle our plastic bottles or packaging due to the lack of recycling bins at the location or in the area we are walking or enjoying an activity.
It is expected that a Deposit Return Scheme will be introduced in England, in the not-too-distant future, to encourage the recycling of plastic bottles, and cans. This would see a deposit paid on plastic bottles and cans on purchase and the opportunity to redeem (get your money back) either by taking back to larger stores the empty bottles and cans, OR through an app on your phone which would enable people at home to scan the label on the bottle and can and get their deposit back via a digital credit system before placing in their household recycling. This may mean that residents would have to separately sort and collect their bottles and cans in order to take back or scan to get their deposit back. You may wish to include this aspect in your design.