Why recycle?

Ducks in a polluted river

We all need to improve our habits drastically when it comes to becoming more eco-friendly and recycling is one way that we can all make a big difference to the planet. Although strides forward have been made in recent years to increase the amount of household recycling we produce, unfortunately, our overall rates are still far below the 50% target set by the EU.

In the UK, our recycling rate for plastic bottles is only around 45% - far short of Sweden and Germany’s rates of over 90%. With this in mind, it’s important to be aware of the various recycling benefits and how increasing the amount of waste we recycle can help enormously to improve the world around us. Read on to discover some of the benefits that recycling can bring us all.

Why Is Waste Increasing?

We are all producing far more waste than ever before for many reasons:

  • We are all becoming wealthier and this means that we buy more products which ultimately create more waste.
  • The population of the Earth is increasing, which means more people are living on the planet and creating waste.
  • New developments in technology and packaging means that many products now contain non-biodegradable materials.
  • There have been changes in people’s lifestyles that mean additional non-biodegradable waste is being created in bulk.

For all these reasons, finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle couldn’t be more important for all of us.

Conservation Of Our Natural Resources

The natural resources of our planet are finite, with some being in short supply. If we recycle wood and paper we can save forests and trees. While it’s possible to plant brand new trees it’s impossible to replace ancient woodlands and rainforests once they’ve been lost. If we recycle plastic, that means there is less need to make new plastic from polluting fossil fuel hydrocarbons while recycling metal means that the need to mine and extract new metal ores at vast expense and harm to the environment can be avoided.

Protection Of Wildlife And Ecosystems

If we recycle more, that means there is less need to extract, harvest or grow new raw materials. In turn, this reduces the harmful damage and disruption that is being caused to our natural environment. Fewer forests will need to be cut down, less animals will be displaced or harmed, and less air, soil and water pollution will occur.

Energy Can Be Saved

When products are made from new materials, more energy is required than that needed to make the same product from recycled material. For example, making new aluminium from recycled foil and cans will use 95% less energy compared with making aluminium from scratch.

When paper is made from recycled paper, 40% less energy will be used compared with making paper from new wood fibres, while recycling just a single glass bottle saves enough energy to power an old-style 100W lightbulb for four hours.

Cutting Carbon Emissions And Averting Climate Change

Recycling means that less energy is needed to source and process raw materials and this, in turn, reduces carbon emissions while keeping waste that could potentially release methane out of our landfill sites. This can have a powerful impact on stopping climate change.

Reducing Costs

It’s six times more expensive for councils to dispose of general refuse than recycled waste. Therefore, the more you can recycle, the more money can be saved which, in turn, is good for public services, businesses and households alike.

Top Household Recycling Tips

If you’re wondering how you can recycle more within your household and do your bit to reduce carbon emissions and save the environment, here are a few tips to point you in the right direction:

  • Invest in more bins – putting a bin in each room of your home will enable you to more effectively collect recyclable items rather than putting them all in one general kitchen waste bin. For example, putting a bin in your bathroom will enable you to easily collect toilet rolls, product containers, packaging and pill bottles.
  • Recycling old appliances and technology – the next time you buy a new smartphone, laptop, printer or washing machine, consider recycling your old one. Many stores now offer recycling options for old devices and appliances.
  • Recycling food and water – think about pouring the water you used to cook your pasta onto your flower beds rather than watering them direct from the tap and turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth to conserve resources. You can recycle food waste as compost to nourish your garden.
  • Purchase recycled items – when you buy toilet roll, paper or clothes, make sure that you’ve chosen items that have already been produced from recycled materials.
  • Wash and reuse – every time you finish a container, wash it out and reuse it so that you don’t put it into landfill.

Once you get the hang of recycling in your home, you’ll never look back and you can look forward to a cleaner, greener future.

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