Brilliant Brita – bringing recycling to the Channel Islands!

The sun is shining, the weather is hot’ to quote a famous song,  And it is!  Summer is definitely here with a bang. I don’t know about you but at this time of the year my water jug is always full to the brim and sits inside the fridge – filled and ready to leap into action to mix up a a tall glass of elderflower cordial or home-made lemon juice at a moments notice.

The work jug, in solemn and sensible work-like colours

We also have one at work, and it this is where this particular story starts.  I love how life gently unfolds itself around you, a word or action causes an effect that has ongoing ripples. The domino effect of that takes you off on a whole new tangent.  Earlier this year I started a new job, obviously a Very Important Job, and one of the tasks I took upon myself was to order some new Brita water filters for the water jug we use a work.  But I’m kind of inquisitive (Nosy? Me? No…..).  So, before I ordered some new water filters I decided to find out a bit more about how they were made and what the end-of-life processes are for them.

Brita water filter uncovered

I must say I was floored!  Brita waters filters are 100% recyclable.  The white outside containers are made from plastic which is pre-cleaned and then ground down, with the resulting granules supplied back to the plastics industry to be recycled into other types of plastic products.  Inside the white cartridge are two mixed components – activated carbon and ion exchangers.  These are firstly separated and then the activated carbon is returned to the manufacturer, where it gets re-activated and it used in waste water treatment centres.  The ion exchangers are re-processed by Brita at their plant, putting them through a chemical and thermal purification process which is then tested to ensure the resulting resin fully meets the requirements before being used again in water filters. You can read more info about the process here.

Four supermarket shelves, heavily laden with bottles and bottles of plastic, filled with water.

Plastic mayhem

Are you a bottled water user?  I’m always surprised when I go to the supermarket at just how much of the isle is taken up by the vast quantity and different types of bottled water. With nearly every single one sold in a single-use plastic bottle!

Queens Valley Reservoir

According to the Mintel store report (here) ‘Taste and quality of tap water influence demand for bottled water’.   I definitely would agree with this statement in relation to the the local water.   Islanders have a love/hate with the quality and taste of local water, and I think that this is one of the main drivers for bottled water demand.

According to the Water Vital Statistics from British Bottled Water (here), the UK bottled water production stood at more than 2.7 billion litres in 2016, and bottled water exports amounted to 125 million litres.  Let me just run that bit passed you again – 2.7 billion litres of bottled water.  Although a small amount of that figure could be attributed to glass bottles, or the 18litre polycarbonate re-usable bottles used in water coolers, the vast majority of this water is housed in single-use plastic bottles.  2.7 BILLION LITRES WORTH???? And that’s just the UK production, it doesn’t take into account the water imported from other countries.

Brita water jugs, ready to go.

But there are alternatives to the single use bottle!  If you use a water filter system the jug is used over and over and over again for years – and you only need to replace the filter inside.  There would be an initial outlay to purchase a water filter jug, new or second hand (I saw 3 for sale at Durrell charity shop recently). After that the only cost is the filter.  Based on the price I obtained from a local outlet and the fact that one filter lasts for 100 litres of water – I can make one litre of filtered water for five pence.  So not only can you save yourself a significant amount of money every time you use a filter instead of purchasing 100 single-use plastic bottles – you are saving the earths resources from being ravaged for a product that is casually tossed away.  And with the newer Fill and Go system, you can have a re-usable water bottle with a built-in filtration system at the same size as a single-use plastic bottle, an a fraction of the price.

Plastic Free July banner

It’s the month of #PlasticFreeJuly (This is the link http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/.) Joining the challenge is really quite simple – all you have to do is choose to refuse single-use plastic during July. It can be a day, a week, the whole month, or forever more. It’s about becoming more conscious of the amount of single use plastics that there are in use in your every-day life, and taking an active stance against using them.   We are one at the end of week two of #PlasticFreeJuly – Are you willing to ditch the single-use plastic bottle and make the change?

Jersey Energy from Waste Plant

In Guernsey, whatever plastic isn’t recycled gets added to the landfill.  In Jersey, whatever plastic isn’t recycled gets added to the Energy from Waste plant. There has to be a better way, surely?

 

The Brita logo

And so we come full circle to the news that I wanted to share with you today!  Once I realised that Brita water fillers were 100% recycleable, I casually wrote to them to praise their green credentials in setting up recycling points all over the UK to collect the used water filters ready for recycling.  I also casually asked them if they might consider setting up points in Jersey and Guernsey, given the large number of people using the Brita water filters already, and the even larger amount of people who currently use single-use bottled water because of the taste of local water, and might be persuaded to change.

AND THEY SAID YES!  I just needed to find partners to host the collection bags and they would be happy to set up recycling points in both Jersey and Guernsey.  How awesome, I was absolutely thrilled.

La Colette Household reuse and recyling centre, Jersey

I made contact with Fay Gibaut,  Business Development & Change Manager at the Department for Infrastructure, who weaved her magic in the background and came back to confirm that they had the space at the La Colette household reuse and recycling centre and would be delighted to host the Brita recycling points.  One down!

Plans for the new Longue Hougue Recycling centre

Next I spoke to States of Guernsey’s waste prevention and recycling officer, Tina Norman-Ross, at the Longue Hougue Recyling Centre.  Without any hesitation they came straight back to me – Yes, absolutely!  Even though they are in the throes of massive change as they build their new household waste recycling centre, they still managed to make room for us to set up this initiative.  Two down and the game is on!

Look out for the Brita recycling boxes at your household waste centres

I am now delighted to tell you that the Brita water filter recycling points in both islands are up and running and ready for you to use!

I must say a huge thank you to Wendy Vanns and to the forethought and vision of Brita who have provided the recycling facilities, and meet the cost of shipping the waste product from the island.  Also a huge thank you Tina and Fay, for invaluable help in ensuring the prompt set up of this facility, and to both the States of Jersey Infrastructure Department and the States Trading Assets in Guernsey for embracing the move.

For more information on Brita please visit their website – http://www.brita.co.uk/brita/en-gb/cms/cpd.grid.  Brita water jugs and fill and go bottles can be purchased at Jersey Electricity and Le Lievres in Jersey, although many supermarkets stock the filters as standard.  In Guernsey these can be sourced from Valpys and Aladdins Cave.

For more information on what you can recycle at the La Colette household reuse and recycling centre please see more details on the States of Jersey website – https://www.gov.je/Environment/WasteReduceReuseRecycle/AtHome/Pages/La-Collette-household-reuse-and-recycling-centre.aspx

For more information on what you can recycle at the Longue Hougue recycling centre please see more details on the States of Guernsey website – https://www.gov.gg/recycling

See you down at the recycling soon!

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