Why should I twin my bin?

Two billion people in the world’s poorest countries are living and working among piles of waste, because they don’t have their rubbish collected. They have to burn their rubbish to get rid of it, or throw it in waterways, or live among it. That means they’re breathing toxic air, drinking polluted water and battling sickness. Up to a million people in the world’s poorest countries die each year from diseases caused by mismanaged waste: that’s one person every 30 seconds.

And each day the waste mountains are growing. In cities in Africa and Asia (many of which lie in coastal areas where rubbish ends up in the ocean), municipal solid waste is expected to double in the next 15–20 years.

By donating £45 to twin a household bin, or £150 to twin a commercial bin, you are supporting a rubbish and recycling project in one of the world’s poorest communities.

What is single-use plastic?

Single-use plastics (SUPs) are plastic materials that are disposable and generally used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. Plastic water bottles, plastic cups and plastic bags are the most common SUPs.

How can I reduce my own plastic use?

The first thing we can all do is to reduce our use of SUPs such as plastic bags, coffee cups, plastic plates, cutlery, bottles of water and soft drinks. We can also use products without plastic packaging, such as bars of soap or shampoo bars. Reducing our use of SUPs will make the biggest difference. Sometimes, this can mean just going without them or choosing non-plastic options, or if that’s not possible we can use reusable products instead. If you can’t reduce or reuse, then recycling your plastic is the next best thing you can do.

If I reduce my plastic use, what impact does that have on people overseas?

We live in a world that is driven by consumption. When we demonstrate by our actions that we want to live in a less wasteful world, we are sending a powerful signal that we want decision-makers to act. We have the opportunity to use both our voices and our choices as citizens and consumers to urge governments and companies to make changes that will help people in poverty.

And our actions do have an impact. Each single-use plastic item we save is one less thing in a landfill site, ocean or incinerator – or one less thing shipped overseas for another country to dispose of. By choosing longer-lasting products rather than disposable ones, we are saving precious resources.

Is it true that plastic ‘recycling’ from the UK gets shipped abroad and dumped?

Many high-income countries – despite having more developed waste management systems than low- and middle-income countries – have exported their waste to poorer countries as a key strategy to deal with domestic waste.

Since China closed its borders to other countries’ recycling waste in January 2018, the UK has exported plastic waste to other countries in Asia, where concerns have been raised over inspections to ensure correct treatment of this waste. The UK’s Environment Agency has embarked on a major investigation into claims of fraud and corruption, including allegations that exported UK plastic waste is not being recycled. High-income countries must minimise their export of domestic waste. Under the Basel Convention, international legislation has recently been amended so that importing countries must agree to receiving shipments of plastic waste. When plastic waste is exported, we believe that source countries must ensure appropriate recycling facilities are in place in the receiving countries.