Global Recycling Day is celebrated on March 18th every year. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and reducing waste. The theme for this year's Global Recycling Day is "Recycling Heroes," recognising the efforts of individuals, organisations, and businesses that have made significant contributions to recycling and reducing waste. At Change Agents we see every person who makes sustainable choices a hero so in this article we’re going to give you a helping hand with how you can be a recycling hero in 2023.
Recycling Conserves Resources and Protects the Environment
By recycling we reduce the consumption of natural resources. When we recycle a used product we stop the need for a new product to be made, reducing the amount of raw materials we need to extract or grow each year. By reducing our need for raw materials we can reduce the amount of quarrying, mining and logging carried out. Not only this but we can reduce the amount of refining and processing of raw materials, all of which create pollution and use up valuable water resources. It is currently estimated that more that 18 million tonnes of CO2 emissions are saved each year in the UK alone by recycling.
Recycling Saves Energy
Mining, refining and manufacturing all use considerable amounts of energy, especially when we consider the additional transport and other materials needed in the processing. Using recycled materials uses significantly less energy than starting from scratch.
Recycling reduces landfill
The UK sends millions tonnes to landfill every year, using up acres of our landscape and putting products into the ground which can take hundreds of years to decompose. Di you know that it can take up to 100 years for a plastic bag to decompose and up to 450 years for a disposable nappy! If we can reduce the amount of waste that’s sent to landfill we can reduce the amount or greenhouse gases, toxins and leachate that are released into the environment.
What can you do?
If you don’t already recycle, contact your local council for a bin and an information pack on what is recycled in your area. If you live in an area that isn’t supported by a council collection, sort your card, plastics, paper, glass and metals and take them to a recycling drop off. Better still reduce your waste by making some simple choices. Here are five tips to help you reduce your waste:
1. Use Reusable Bags, Bottles, and Containers
One of the easiest ways to reduce your waste is to use reusable bags, bottles, and containers. By using reusable items, you reduce the amount of plastic and other materials that end up in landfills and oceans. You can carry a reusable water bottle with you, use a reusable shopping bag, and buy re-useable containers for your lunch.
2. Say No to Single-Use Items
Single-use items, such as plastic straws, cutlery, and disposable plates, contribute significantly to waste. Instead of using these items, choose reusable alternatives or skip them altogether. You can carry your reusable cutlery, bring your containers when you order takeaway, or use metal or bamboo straws. You can also shop with this in mind and choose products which are sold in containers that are re-useable, or from shops/companies that take their packaging back to be reused.
3. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is another way to reduce waste. Instead of buying single-serving portions, buy larger quantities of items you frequently use. This strategy reduces the amount of packaging waste and can also save you money in the long run.
4. Compost Your Food Waste
Food waste is a significant contributor to waste in landfills. Instead of throwing your food scraps in the bin, consider composting them. Composting is an easy way to turn food waste into nutrient-rich soil that can be used in your garden check out this blog on composting.
5. Donate or Sell Items You No Longer Need
Instead of throwing away items you no longer need, consider donating or selling them. You can donate clothes, books, and household items to local charities or sell them online. This strategy reduces waste and helps others in need.
Global Recycling Day is a reminder that we all have a role to play in protecting the environment and building a brighter future for all. By reducing our waste and focussing on sustainable practices, we can help conserve natural resources and reduce pollution. Recycling’s like a dog though…..it’s not just for the 18th March, it’s for life!