Lets celebrate recycling efforts (and pledge to do even more)
How businesses, schools, and households are upping their recycling efforts (and why we should all strive to do more).
Climate change. We hear about it everywhere and it’s brilliant to see how many of us are keen to “go green”.
The world is waking up to the importance of taking action and it’s no secret that recycling is one of the best (and easiest) ways to do just that. Recycling can be integrated into everyday life to save energy, minimise CO2 emissions from landfills, and reduce deforestation – all minimising environmental impact.
In fact, according to a study conducted by the Bureau of International Recycling, global recycling can save over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions in just one year – the same amount generated by the aviation industry in the same timeframe. It’s fantastic to see people coming together to step up their recycling efforts and play their part in protecting the planet.
Here are some of the ways they are helping and you can too.
Initiatives such as Global Recycling Day and movements like the Extinction Rebellion highlight the urgent need for action against climate change, and allow anyone and everyone to get involved in the cause to raise awareness both locally and globally.
In the UK, this has helped our commitment to recycling continue to grow. 93% of us now agree that everyone has a responsibility to help clean up the environment – a higher percentage than ever before.
Collectively, we can raise more awareness and our recycling efforts can have a bigger impact.
Do you shop for recycled products where possible?
When retailers use recycled materials in the manufacturing process, it directly prevents the depletion of natural resources and greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels which are used in the making of many everyday materials.
Did you also know?
Producing items from recycled plastic instead of raw materials reduces energy and emissions by over 50%.
For other recyclable materials like paper and aluminium, this rises to between 75 and 80%.
Another way to improve your shopping habits is to take your rubbish to in-store recycling points and shop at zero-waste supermarkets. By introducing these programs, retailers are making recycling easier than ever and helping customers shop more sustainably.
But while it’s great to see manufacturers promoting energy efficiency, there’s still a long way to go. By opting for recycled or zero-waste products as much as possible moving forward, we can collectively contribute to a rise in demand, which will undoubtedly make a big difference to suppliers’ priorities.
Schools and workplaces are incorporating visual prompts for staff and pupils, and dedicating lessons and meetings to raising recycling awareness. These encourage everyone to be proactive in their everyday recycling decisions. Feel like more needs to be done at your place of work? Consider leading by example – you can do this without even trying.
Research has found that when one person makes a sustainable change, others copy.
Someone is much more likely to make more of an effort to recycle if they work in an office where their colleagues are already helping to make a difference. When we see our peers behaving in a certain way, we feel more compelled to take the same actions. That’s why raising recycling awareness in schools and the workplace is so beneficial.
A report by WRAP, published in July of this year, showed that over half of UK households have recycled more in the last year than ever before.
This includes the disposal of recyclable items that were previously regularly placed in general rubbish containers, and those that were switched to from non-recyclable alternatives. If you’re keen to step up your recycling efforts, one of the quickest ways to do this is to ensure that you too are recycling consistently and correctly at home (and work) to keep waste out of landfills.
Every year, we produce 26 million tonnes of waste in the UK alone. A huge 14 million tons of that ends up in landfill while just 12 million tonnes are recycled. This gives us an average recycling rate of 45%. Why isn’t it all recycled? Well, putting the wrong materials in recycling bins can result in an entire container being deemed as landfill waste rather than recycling.
Our aim should be to send as little waste to landfill as possible, so check labels and make sure you know exactly what can and can’t be recycled in your local area.
Preventing climate change is a monumental task. And while much of the focus remains on big contributors such as cars and planes, recycling should not be overlooked. Our small actions are key in making big changes.
But there’s still much more to do. Despite improving our recycling efforts, a whopping 80% of the things we throw away could be recycled instead. It’s time to brush up on your knowledge, spread awareness, and help where you can.
The fight to save our planet is one that needs action right now and together, we can make a real difference.
So, are you ready to up your recycling game?