Highlighting the importance of plastic recycling

TJ Waste is committed to diverting waste from landfill; they are recycling-focused and particularly passionate about finding new routes for one of the trickiest material types to recycle – plastic. TJ has formed a partnership with local charity The Final Straw Foundation, who champion the fight against plastic waste. Their work revolves around highlighting the impact of plastic pollution on our environment, local seas and wider oceans. 

TJ has supported them by providing free waste removal for several beach cleans they carried out last year, as well as emptying their huge plastic bottle bank – a metal fish called Nellie – when no one else would help.

Limited plastic recycling continues to be one of the biggest concerns in the recycling industry. TJ is always investigating new possibilities in this area and has plans to get a plastic recycling trial underway soon.

This year has proved challenging for most organisations and The Final Straw Foundation has faced their own share of issues as many of their usual activities have been unable to take place due to lockdowns and social distancing restrictions.

The pandemic has also caused other environmental issues such as the amount of disposable PPE – mainly masks and gloves – that is not being disposed of correctly and is finding its way into the sea.

In 2019, the charity organised two-four beach cleans per month, with local businesses and the public getting involved to lend a hand. Since March, no events of this type have been permitted due to the 2 households / rule of 6 restrictions being in place for most of the year.

This is a huge blow to the local beaches, which will have undoubtedly been affected by this. It is hoped that the restrictions of lockdown prevented some of the usual plastic pollution as less people should’ve been out and about potentially polluting.

2019 also saw The Final Straw Foundation visiting 65 schools in the local area to run assemblies and educate children on the importance of plastic recycling and reducing plastic usage. Although these were unable to take place post-March 2020, The Final Straw Solent provided a range of online resources for parents to download and children to utilise.

The founders of this innovative organisation have been putting their time to good use this year none-the-less. The charity is run by Lissie Pollard and Bianca Carr and despite the challenges of lockdown and having children at home for five months, they still managed to achieve a lot this year.

The break in events allowed them the time to get ahead with plenty of planning activity and paperwork. One important process they were able to finalise was their application to become an official charity. They were previously a Community Interest Company (CIC), but since getting the paperwork completed and approved, they have now gained charity status from the Charity Commission.

This will be a huge advantage going forward as being a charity will open up many more funding opportunities as well as the ability to link up with other organisations as a nominated charity.

Lissie said:

“We are thrilled to have gained charity status. It carries more weight than being a CIC, means we can claim back gift aid and gives us access to more grant pots that we can apply to. It will hopefully give us greater cashflow to be able to do even more fantastic things for our local beaches and seas.”

“We’ve been so disappointed that we haven’t been able to carry out our usual large-scale beach cleans this year; not only is it a shame for the environment, but we’ve also missed the atmosphere of being in a large group of people who want to help! We have been getting out in small, socially distanced groups or within our family units to do small cleans, so we’re hopeful we’ve had some positive impact.”

The Final Straw Foundation would like to encourage supporters and interested parties to get out in their family units and get litter picking! It’s great exercise and the chance to get some fresh air during a period when we are spending extended time indoors. Go out equipped with plenty of bags, litter pickers and plenty of hand sanitiser. You can use gloves too, but be sure to dispose of them properly.

Lissie added: “Remember to opt for reusable plastics wherever you can! Although COVID has presented some challenges to the logistics of using reusable items, such as coffee cups, compromises have been found and it’s important to keep going in the fight against plastic pollution!”

TJ recycles up to 100% of the waste that comes through their doors.  TJ’s recycling efforts have led to an excess of 250,000 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill through recycling routes. TJ has four materials recycling facilities dotted along the south coast in Southampton, Portsmouth and Yapton, where all waste is taken for sorting and onward recycling.

TJ processes all materials in line with WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) protocol. WRAP’s mission is to accelerate the move to a sustainable, resource-efficient economy by re-inventing how we design, produce and sell products, re-thinking how we use and consume products, and re-defining what is possible through reuse and recycling.

Another way in which TJ is doing their bit to aid plastic recycling is with one of their clients, Jude’s Ice Cream. When TJ established a new recycling process for certain types of plastics, they soon realised that Jude’s unwanted plastic ice cream tubs and offcuts would be ideal for it. The plastic tubs are made into a new product – pellets – which can be moulded into new plastic products. The latest equipment for recycling plastic materials is used in this recycling process to ensure that the highest quality products are maintained.

Discover the services TJ Waste provides and find out more about their involvement with The Final Straw Foundation.

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Luke Haskell
14 December 2020