First News: Is Recycling a Load of Rubbish?

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told First News and young JPIMedia newspaper readers that recycling plastic doesn’t work.

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    Speaking to the children at a Downing Street press conference just before COP26, the prime minister said: “Recycling doesn’t begin to address the problem. It doesn’t work. You can only recycle plastic a couple of times, really… We’ve all got to cut down on our use of plastic – I think that’s the only answer… If people think we can recycle our way out of the problem, I think we’ll be making a huge mistake. We need to reduce.”

    A row of recycling bins in different colors at a recycling station. (photo:iStock)

    So, do the experts agree with him?


    “I don’t disagree with everything he said,” says Professor Dr Stefan Krause from the University of Birmingham. He’s part of the Birmingham Plastics Network, a team of more than 40 experts looking at how we can make the future of plastics sustainable. “He’s correct that recycling isn’t a solution alone but, like every complex problem, there are no simple solutions. To say that recycling doesn’t matter is very dangerous because it definitely has to be part of a mix of solutions.”

    For an in-depth report on whether recycling is a load of rubbish, see this week’s First News. Then you can make up your own mind.


    Young people! Send us your news and photos to [email protected] and have your story published on this page and, perhaps, in First News too.


    By Freddy Gordon


    I was very happy to take part in the 26th Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge tournament and play ‘over the board’ again.

    During lockdown, I’d been playing chess online, and this was one of the first chances for me to meet a lot of players from online and become friends in person.

    Freddy with his trophy for winning the under-12 category

    The location was Blenheim Palace, which is the birthplace of Winston Churchill, and very fancy. There was lots of space to play football in the breaks between games.

    These breaks were fun and long enough to chill out, which was important, especially because we played six games on Saturday and five on Sunday. I like that we played round robin, so I had a chance to play against everyone in my age group. When I entered I didn’t think that I would win, but I was really happy to play well against some very tough opponents.

    Everybody here was kind, and I’d like to go again, although next time I’d love to stay in the palace!




    5 November

    It’s better for the environment (and safer) to go to an organised bonfire and fireworks display, but whatever you do, have fun, stay safe and make sure someone checks under the bonfire for hedgehogs before it’s lit!



    8-21 November

    This annual event encourages everyone to save energy and do their bit for the climate.


    11 November

    This day marks the end of World War One, and is a time to remember all soldiers and civilians who have died in wars.

    Sunrise as viewed from a poppy field near to Bewdley. (photo: iStock)



    Animal poo is being used to heat a building at Marwell Zoo, Hampshire. The zoo poo powers a boiler that heats a tropical house on the site. There are plans to connect the boiler to more zoo buildings in the future.

    Animal poo is being used at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire (photo: Paul Collins)

    Australian footballer Josh Cavallo has come out as gay, becoming the only male footballer in any of the world’s top divisions to do so. “I’m a footballer and I’m gay,” announced the 21-year-old in a video on social media. Reaction to his decision has been hugely positive.

    Josh Cavallo (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)



    Last week's puzzle answer: recommend