We all know how important recycling is for the planet – it helps minimise waste and transforms old products into new packaging.
Recycling just four shampoo bottles saves enough energy to power a shower for five minutes, highlighting just how important reusing products is for the environment.
As consumers one of the big differences that we can make is encouraging companies to produce more recyclable packaging by targeting our money towards goods that come in it.
The problem is that whilst most of us want to recycle as much as possible, it can be confusing to know what items are recyclable and what aren’t. However, with the help of This is Money’s guide, you can identify the symbols that show whether products can be recycled and better target your spending towards the push for recycling.
It can be difficult to know whether all items of packaging are recyclable at home or not
Despite a clear shift in the desire to be greener in recent years, most of us Britons are still not recycling enough as currently. The UK uses a massive 35.8million plastic bottles every single day but only 19.8million of these are recycled – just over half.
But big business doesn’t help us out much. From supermarkets using unnecessary packaging, to giant consumer brands selling us crisps in bags that cannot easily be recycled, even if you do want to recycle it can be tough to do so.
It is not yet compulsory to have recycling labels on all packaging, although many do, which helps households identify which parts can or cannot be recycled and if they can, whether you can recycle them at home or if you have to take them to a recycling centre instead.
To help you understand what can and can’t be recycled, This is Money has put together a guide of what each symbol means – and how you can recycle more.
Most of us will be used to seeing these symbols on our packaging but some will not know exactly what each one means.
Some may assume that the symbols signal that packaging can easily be recycled but often it will actually be giving specific instructions as to how or where it can be recycled, if at all.
It can be difficult for households to know what each symbol means on their packaging
Widely Recycled: This label is applied to packaging that is collected by 75 per cent or more of local authorities across the UK, for example plastic bottles, meaning it is very likely to be able to be recycled.
Widely Recycled – Rinse: Again, products will likely to be recyclable but they will have to be rinsed first to get rid of any food residue. Clean packaging also helps keep vermin away.
The Green Dot: This symbol does not necessarily mean that the packaging is recyclable, will be recycled or has been recycled. It is a symbol used on packaging in some European countries and signifies that the producer has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging in Europe.
Mobius Loop: This indicates that an object is capable of being recycled, not that the object has been recycled or will be accepted in all recycling collection systems. Sometimes this symbol is used with a percentage figure in the middle to explain that the packaging contains ‘x’ percentage of recycled material.
Plastic resin codes: This identifies the type of plastic resin used to make the item by providing a ‘Resin Identification Code’. It is represented with a ‘chasing arrows’ symbol surrounding a number between 1 and 7 that defines the resin used.
Glass: This symbol asks that you recycle the glass container. Remember to dispose of glass bottles and jars in a bottle bank or in your household recycling and separate the colours.
Waste electricals: Packaging with this symbol means you should not place the electrical item in the general waste. They can instead be recycled through a number of channels.
Food waste recycling
It is not just plastics and cardboards that you can recycle but also food waste products.
Most food waste actually ends up in landfill sites where it rots and releases methane, a damaging green house gas.
Recycle Now says that by recycling just one banana peel, this could generate enough energy to fully charge a smartphone twice.
It added the peelings from six potatoes could be turned into enough compost to grow a brand new potato.
For the councils that provide this service, households can recycle things like coffee grounds, eggshells, fish and meat bones, mouldy and gone off food as well as fruit and vegetable peelings.
However, some residents who leave out food waste have said there is an issue with animals getting into the bins before they are collected and leaving rubbish out on the street.
Those who have food waste recycling bins are advised to line them with a newspaper to help stop bad smells and leaking. You can also buy special compostable bags to put food waste into before it goes in the bin – this can make a huge difference in containing mess.
Households have been asked to rinse their packaging before they put it in their recycling bin
What items can’t be recycled
Although we all want to recycle as much as possible, there are some things that aren’t possible to put in your bin at home.
This includes plastic bottles containing chemicals, for example, anti-freeze as strong chemicals can harm staff in recycling plants, as well as damage equipment.
Crisp packets, sweet wrappers, film lids from pots and trays, plastic toys and laminated pouches, such as for cat food and coffee, are also not currently recyclable from home.
Bathroom items such as cotton wool, mirrors, toothpaste tube and tissues are not recyclable from the home whilst drinking glasses, wet wipes and plastic toys should also be put in a normal bin.
If you are not sure if something is recyclable, check if it has a symbol on it.
It can be detrimental to put all packaging in a recycling bin as if non-recyclables get mixed up with items that can be recycled, it can contaminate the whole load.
Take advantage of a recycling service for tricky items
Terracycle is a company that aims to recycle commonly unrecyclable items. It says it can collect and recycle coffee capsules from households, pens from a school or plastic gloves from a manufacturing facility.
It has also set up public access drop-off locations across the country. To find your nearest drop off point, head to the TerraCycle website and access the interactive map.
Terracycle runs a free recycling programme partnering with different firms, including Bayliss and Harding and Hovis, where users are able to drop off various items relating to the firm they can’t normally recycle.
1) Households are asked to rinse packaging before they put it in their recycling bin as leftover food residue can ruin it and make it difficult to recycle.
2) It is possible to leave the labels on packaging but remove any plastic film and chuck in your rubbish bin.
3) Separate cardboard and paper from plastic packaging and put in the recycling separately.
This could include bread bags, beauty containers, old toothpaste tubes and crisp packets, for example.
For those not near a drop off point, they can opt to pay for a Zero Waste Box which allows consumers to recycle waste that Terracycle do not have a brand sponsor for. The boxes don’t come cheap, however, starting at £113.
Once the bin is full, the customer can send the box to Terracycle who will do the recycling. To recycle this waste, TerraCycle partners with a number of third-party processors who turn the waste into a reusable raw material.
The waste it sends for recycling is shredded, washed and turned into an agglomerate or pellets. These pellets can then be melted down and moulded by manufacturers into new products such as outdoor furniture, planters and playgrounds for schools.
Apps to help you recycle
Some county councils have set up apps for the locals which helps them determine what they can recycle. Users simply put in what they are looking to recycle and the app will tell you if it is possible to.
The app will also tell users the next time their recycling bins will be collected and information about your nearest recycling centre.
Contact your local council to find out if you have access to one of the apps.
Eco-Cycle is another app where users can search if an item is recyclable or how to dispose of it. Similarly, the Helpful app lets users find places nearby to recycle items.
How does recycling work?
After your recycling bins are taken away, they go to a recycling facility where the items go on a conveyor belt.
Everything is sorted through with items that shouldn’t be in there getting removed.
Steel and aluminium cans are removed separately by different magnets whilst cardboard and paper is separated with the different types of paper then separated again by hand.
Meanwhile, different types of plastic are identified and separated using optical scanners. Glass is the remaining material and this drops off the end of the conveyor into a large container.
Once all the items have been separated, they are taken for reprocessing at specialist factories.
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The best electric cars you can buy within your budget today revealed
A new motoring awards has named which are the best pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars on the market right now for all budgets.
The bests electrified models have been chosen by What Car? as it launched a unique honours list for chargeable vehicles following a surge in interest during lockdown.
To help this growing audience of eco-car buyers choose, it has listed the best choices in each price range…
On a charge: What Car? says it has seen a surge in demand for electric cars since lockdown. To help motorists choose the best models on the market, it has launched a set of awards for 2020
As lockdown restrictions eased in early July, a quarter (24 per cent) of panel of 6,000 primed car buyers told the publication they were more inclined to buy an electrified motor as a result of the changed environment they were living in.
Some 16 categories – and winners – have been devised to inform these motorists of every need and budget make the best choice for them, with the growing number of competitors fighting for sales across the market reflected by the fact that 12 different manufacturers won awards.
Only BMW, Kia, Porsche and Tesla won two prizes, while only Kia and Porsche have an electric and a hybrid winner.
‘The variety of electric and plug-in hybrid cars on offer is growing exponentially, which is great news for buyers, because it’s driving up standards,’ explains editor Steve Huntingford.
‘However, recognising that EVs and PHEVs still make up a minority of all car sales, these standalone awards give us the opportunity to highlight the very best models as the car industry swiftly adapts to meeting its environmental challenges.’
The awards have been launched in association with Myenergi – a British specialist in electric vehicle charging and domestic renewable energy, which has manufactured and shipped more than 50,000 charging devices in two years.
Here are the electric cars – and their prices, inclusive of the Government’s Plug-in Car Grant (PiGC), if they’re eligible for it – that took gongs in the 2020 honours list.
We’ve also listed the awards for plug-in hybrids in a table below.
Best value electric car: Seat Mii Electric 36.8kWn
Price: £19,800 (including £3,000 PiGC)
If you want a small city runaround that runs purely on electric power, the best model – considering performance and price – on the market is the Seat Mii Electric
The Mii is – according to the claimed figures – capable of 161 miles between charges, which is plenty for any city car – though What Car?’s Real Range suggests it’s closer to 111 miles.
While sub-£20,000 is relatively affordable by EV standards, remember that it’s twice the price of a Mii with a three-cylinder petrol engine.
Best small electric car: Peugeot e-208 Allure Premium
Price: £27,118 (including £3,000 PiGC)
Peugeot’s brand-new e-208 is a classy-looking small car, but with a price tag of over £27,000 is very expensive for not much vehicle
Peugeot’s new electric model has plenty of style and sophistication, if that’s what you’re after in a small zero-emission car.
With a claimed range of 217 miles, most city slickers would only need to charge it once a week. But at over £27,000 – inclusive of the PiGC – it isn’t cheap.
Best family electric car: Hyundai Ioniq Electric Premium
Price: £29,951 (including £3,000 PiGC)
The Inoiq is practical and spacious, but it’s also getting a little long in the tooth and has already slipped behind the latest models coming to the market at the moment
With a claimed range of up to 193 miles, the Ioniq should be more than adequate as a main family car. However, with longer journeys, owners would need to plan their stops to boost battery charge en route.
In terms of electric vehicles, it’s been around for a relatively long time and is starting to fall behind the competition.
Best family electric SUV: Kia e-Niro 64kWh 3
Price: £33,850 (including PiGC)
With a tested range of 253 miles, the Kia e-Niro can cope with most journeys in the UK
Kia says you can get up to 282 miles between charges in the longest-range e-Niro. However, What Car?’s Real Range measurement said 253 miles was more achievable for motorists.
That’s pretty impressive by any EVs standards. And at the price, it’s definitely a big step up compared to the cars listed so far.
Best luxury electric SUV: Jaguar I-Pace EV400 S
The I-Pace definitely feels a step up in quality compared to some other EVs previously mentioned. But that premium feels comes at a cost – and a cost that means it’s not eligible for the government’s electric car grant
We’re now into the realms of electric cars that surpass the £50,000 mark and therefore no longer qualify for the £3,000 PiGC. The I-Pace is one of those. Inside, it feel super premium and hi-tech.
The I-Pace is the best luxury SUV you can buy right now, with a claimed range of 292 miles, though What Car? suggests 253 miles is more realistic.
Best executive electric car: Tesla Model 3 Performance
During the first two months of lockdown, Tesla’s Model 3 was the best-selling car in the UK
The first of two Tesla vehicles in this list is the smallest car in the range, the Model 3. Incredibly, it was the best-selling car in the UK in April and May – though mainly due to showrooms being closed and the US firm delivering to customers’ homes.
Of the three variants on sale in the UK, it’s the Performance that What Car? has picked – which happens to be the most expensive with an official range of 329 miles.
Best performance electric car: Porsche Taycan 4S
The Taycan has been mightily impressive since hitting the market, and proves Porsche can work the same wonders with batteries as it does potent petrol powerplants
While many performance car enthusiasts will scoff at the idea of Porsche making an electric model, the Taycan 4S is a seriously impress piece of kit.
Not only does it have a claimed 287-mile range but also packs 563bhp and can accelerate from 0-to-62mph in less than four seconds.
Best electric seven-seater Tesla Model X (7 seat)
You’ll have to pay through the nose if you want a Model X, but it’s spacious, has a long range between charges and the coolest set of doors on an EV yet
The second Tesla in the list is the mighty – and massive – Model X SUV. If there was an award for the best doors on an electric car, it would win that gong hands down.
Ranges of the US firm’s biggest car to date are between 301 and 314 miles, though real-world measurements suggest drivers should expect to experience under the 300-mile threshold.
The best plug-in hybrid cars on sale
Best PHEV family car: Mercedes A-Class A250e AMG Line (£31,461)
Best small PHEV SUV: Kia Niro PHEV 1.6 GDi 3 (£29,843)
Best large PHEV SUV: Ford Kuga PHEV 2.5 PHEV Titanium (£30,836)
Best luxury PHEV SUV: BMW X5 xDrive45e M Sport (£66,235)
Best PHEV estate car: Skoda Superb Estate iV SE Technology (£34,196)
Best PHEV executive car: BMW 3 Series 330e M Sport (£39,940)
Best PHEV performance car: Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid (£83,788)
Best PHEV seven-seater: Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 Inscription (£63,263)
Source: What Car? Electric Car Awards 2020
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Classic hot hatches become hot property as old boy racers buy them up
Ageing boy racers have moved from the McDonalds car parks of their heyday to auction houses to get their hands on hot hatches that take them back to their youth.
That’s the suggestion from classic car insurer Hagerty, which says nostalgic collectors are scrambling to get their hands on unmolested performance cars they drove or lusted for in their past – and some models are just a decade old.
The news comes following the sale of a limited-edition 2010 Ford Focus RS500 last month.
It went under the hammer alongside more traditional classics including pre-war Bentleys and collectible Jaguars, with the winning bidder paying £56,560 for the Fast Ford – a startling 60 per cent more than powerful family hatchback cost new.
Hot hatch boom: Classic car experts say valuations of performance hatchbacks such as this Ford Focus RS500 have gone through the roof in recent years
Historics’ Windsorview Lakes classic car auction offered the ten-year-old Ford Focus, which had a mere 22,000 miles on the clock.
It was one of just 101 UK-delivered Focus RS500s, and the model – with a blistering 345bhp, 2.5-litre engine, 19-inch alloys and moody black matt wrap as standard – was a phenomenal success at launch in 2010, when the entire worldwide production of 500 cars sold out within 12 hours of its launch.
The stratospheric rise in value of this fast Ford isn’t an isolated case though: car valuation experts Hagerty have tracked the prices of hot hatchbacks as they soared in recent years.
This 2010 Ford Focus RS500 sold last month at Historics’ Windsorview Lakes classic car auction for £56,560
The price the winning bidder paid was 60% higher than the limited-edition Fast Ford cost just a decade ago. In 2010, it cost £35,750
Despite being a small run of just 101 UK cars, the rise in value of a Ford Focus is still pretty remarkable.
And it seems British drivers just can’t get enough of their small performance cars, even back to the original: the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk I.
The VW Golf GTI was a phenomenon when it was unveiled in the autumn of 1976, with a 1.6-litre, 108hp engine pushing the car to 60mph in a then-blistering nine seconds.
Have acquired legendary status since its launch some 44 years ago, values in the last five years have shot up, the insurer says.
Hagerty’s Price Guide says prices have almost doubled from £14,200 in July 2015 to £28,100 today.
Demand for hot hatches dates back to the original – the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1, which launched in 1976
Clean and very low mileage examples of the first iteration of the Golf GTI are selling at auction for prices around £30,000
Hagerty has been tracking the values of hot hatches, including the VW, Peugeot and Renault trio that are the most coveted
And it’s not just the Golf that’s generating huge interest.
By the mid-1980s, there was one pocket rocket that everyone wanted: the Peugeot 205 GTI, launched in 1984.
Compact, lightweight and featuring a rally-ready 1.6-litre motor with 104bhp, it was the cars petrolheads from the ’80s and ’90s craved.
A more powerful 1.6 litre engine and a top-of-the-pile 130bhp 1.9 litre version followed the initial models – fans remain divided over whether the 1.6 or 1.9 is best to this day.
Hagerty values of the best examples have nearly tripled from £10,400 in 2015 to £27,000 today, and in recent years two in mint condition have sold in France, each a shade under €50,000.
The Renault 5 GT Turbo – from the same era – has had a similar trajectory, moving from £11,000 to £24,600 in the past three years.
By the 1990s, the Renault Clio Williams was the hot hatch of the moment, and with its 2.0-litre engine pushing it to a top speed of 134mph, there wasn’t much that could catch it for its £13,275 on-the-road price.
Now, Hagerty says you’d need over £25,000 to buy a top example.
Other, smaller-engine sports hatchbacks have also started to take the buyer’s fancy – some of which you might not have expected to see garner so much interest.
For instance, a 1989 Vauxhall Nova SR was sold online for £11,000 just last month, and in 2017 an example of its souped-up homologation sibling the Nova Sport was shown to be sold on eBay for a staggering £65,900.
The Peugeot 205 GTi is another hot hatch that’s in big demand from nostalgic petrol heads
Concours-condition Renault 5 GT Turbos are becoming very collectible
Some cars you might not expect to see garner so much interest are now selling for incredible fees, including Vauxhall Novas
So, why are these high-power hatchbacks selling so well?
Hagerty thinks it’s a combination of factors and according to their head of valuations, Brian Rabold, this is the emergence of another generation of classic cars with more appeal for children of the 1980s than a 1960s convertible sportscar holds.
He said: ‘The car-mad teenagers who lusted after them back in the ’80s and ’90s now have the money to buy up the heroes of their youth.
‘They’re also really practical classics: there’s space for passengers, they’re much easier to drive than some older cars and they still offer a really exciting drive.
‘We’re now insuring them on classic policies, which tend to be much lower priced than standard car cover, too. What’s not to love?’
If you can’t afford £25,000 for one of these mighty machines, Hagerty says there are other cars that could be just as much fun for less of an outlay: an ‘excellent’ example of the Mk 1 Ford Fiesta XR2 is currently valued in their guide at £9,900.
‘It’s a great car,’ says Rabold. ‘Plus, we tend to see values of the first generation of models rise quicker than later ones, so prices have the potential to increase.’
Hagerty says fans from the Max Power and original Fast and Furious generation – spanning from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s – should consider getting their hands on motoring icons of your youth, as these are the models that are ripe to appreciate in value.
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Motoring insurer Hastings to go private in £1.7bn deal
Motoring insurance firm Hastings Group has seen its share price jump sharply today after agreeing to be taken over in a £1.66billion deal.
Finnish insurer Sampo Oyj and South Africa’s Rand Merchant Investment, which already own a 29.7 per cent stake in Hastings, have offered 250p per share in cash for the company.
This marks a 16 per cent premium on Hastings’ closing share price yesterday and is nearly 50 per cent higher than the price on 28 July.
FTSE 250-listed Hastings has seen its share price rise over 17 per cent or 37.6 points to 252.6p today, while a year ago the price stood closer to 189.5p.
On the up: Motoring insurance firm Hastings Group has seen its share price jump sharply today
Hastings chairman Thomas Colraine said the cash offer ‘represents a very attractive proposition’, with the premium above the recent price ‘in line with our focus of generating value for shareholders and reflects the quality of our business.’
Top brass at Hastings said they intend to recommend unanimously that shareholders vote in favour of the proposed deal.
Hastings’ shareholders will also be entitled to a 4.5p a share interim dividend after it posted a pre-tax profit of £63.5million for the first half, marking a 37 per cent increase on a year ago.
The firm’s gross written premiums increased by 3 per cent to £514million on a year ago, with the group reporting a drop in claims from customers involved in incidents during the height of lockdown when traffic levels plummeted.
Since the easing of certain lockdown restrictions, however, Hastings said claims frequencies had started creeping up again, but ‘remain lower than the equivalent period last year.’
The company said: ‘Claim severities continued to increase predominantly as a result of the underlying inflation in repair costs, combined with interruptions in the repair networks and supply of parts caused by COVID-19 and increased car rental costs, with repairs typically taking longer than anticipated.’
Hastings, which had been struggling with tough competition and price pressures in the UK motor insurance market, has nearly 3million live customer policies and a market share of 8.1 per cent.
Rising: The number of claims has started to rise since lockdown easing, Hastings said today
On the technology front, Hastings said: ‘There have also been further increases in digital adoption with 950,000 mobile app downloads and a 45% reduction in customer service calls per LCP.’
The company said its net debt remained ‘stable’ at £239.4million.
Earlier this week, rival insurer Direct Line hiked its interim payout and set a special dividend after reporting better than expected first-half earnings on lower motor insurance claims.
Data published by the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders today revealed that new UK car registrations went up in July for the first time this year.
Around 174,887 cars were registered in July, marking a 11.3 per cent rise on the same month a year ago.The last time there was an increase was in December last year.
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