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Local recycling co-op teams up with eco laundry brand to tackle tonnes of laundry plastic

An independent eco laundry brand and Brighton recycling co-operative are teaming up to launch a ‘plastic amnesty’ to help recycle some of the almost 100 tonnes of laundry plastic that local households get through each year, following recent news that Brighton and Hove City Council had once again missed key recycling targets.

One of the UK’s fastest growing laundry brands, smol, has been fighting the 109 million plastic laundry packs sold by supermarkets annually with plastic free alternatives. Research conducted by smol found that local households in Brighton and Hove are producing almost 100 tonnes of laundry plastic annually; the UK produces almost 11,000 tonnes each year. Despite this, Brighton and Hove’s recycling rates are the worst in Sussex, with just 29.4% of waste being recycled, well below the national average of 45.5%. Greenpeace recently found that, of the 100 billion pieces of plastic collected for recycling by UK homes each year, only 12% is actually being recycled in the UK with the majority of waste being incinerated or sent to landfills or abroad.

In light of this, smol is joining Magpie Recycling, a local eco cooperative established to tackle the limited recycling offering in the local area, to set up Brighton’s first Big Laundry Plastic Amnesty, offering to collect laundry plastic from the community and transform it into something useful, as well as offering Brighton and Hove free eco friendly alternatives.

Brightonians can take part in The Big Laundry Plastic Amnesty by donating their empty single use laundry plastic to smol on Saturday 10 September via home collection, or on Sunday 11 September at Brighton’s Jubilee Square, between 11 am and 4 pm. The collected laundry plastic will then go on to be transformed into benches for the local community.

smol is calling on locals to sign up via The Big Laundry Plastic Amnesty webpage to be a ‘smol star’ and help collect empty laundry plastic from their community to win free laundry capsules for friends, family and neighbours, as well as goodies for themselves.

Those who can’t make it at the weekend will be able to drop off their plastic at local collection points, such as Bird and Blend Tea Co, before or after the weekend. smol will be updating these locations on their website and social channels.

Rob, from Magpie Recycling, said: ‘Failure to re-negotiate a 30 year PFI contract for Brighton and Hove Council has meant locals have been unable to recycle a wide variety of plastics, including laundry plastics which account for almost 100 tonnes of the plastic waste Brighton produces annually. As a result, communities have been stepping up to fill the void and tackle the plastic problem themselves.’

Nick Green, co-founder of smol, said: ‘Brighton is just one example where systems and infrastructure are failing people who want to make a difference and help the environment. People have been taking matters into their own hands for long enough; it should be laundry giants – the likes of P&G and Unilever – that should be footing the cost and doing their part in reducing waste by switching to readily available sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging that are more easily and widely recycled.

‘Home to the country’s only Green MP, the people of Brighton and Hove have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability that made it the natural place to start for our Plastic Amnesty. However, we hope to take similar initiatives around the UK to help show even more communities the power of going plastic free with their laundry.’


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