Most of us are guilty of not recycling enough, and unfortunately this is a global issue. An issue that is progressively getting worse, and the damage caused is becoming almost irreparable.
Society has become accustomed to living a consumer driven lifestyle. Meaning that we buy products with the view of throwing them away once they are no longer of functional use. Although the UK recycling rate is (currently) gradually increasing, since a majority of our environmental laws derive from EU law; there is much scepticism as to whether the UK Government will prioritise recycling once we exit the EU. The UK recycling rate for Waste from Households (WfH; including IBA metal) was 45.7% in 2017, increasing from 45.2% in 2016 (DEFRA, 2019).
Five Top Tips to Contribute Positively
Read our tips below on how to recycle more effectively;
1. Re-use or Renovate
Initially, before you consider purchasing new items, consider if the item can be re-used or renovated? For example, electronic items can often be returned to manufacturers or fixed. In terms of renovating unused or broken items, this allows you to get creative. A good example is using old magazines to construct storage boxes. You can search YouTube tutorials on renovating redundant items, like the link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFy5p3axGZI
2. Don’t Buy for The Sake of Buying
Secondly, before making new purchases, ask whether you need the item in question? Not only will this thought process help to reduce your waste, but financial outgoings too. Especially when it comes to food, (although you can recycle the biodegradable bits). Over-buying means more plastic packaging, and consequently more waste.
3. Read and Educate
Each local council have their own rules for recycling. You should have a guide on what your local council can and will collect, and how often. Ensuring you are putting the correct items in for recycling will reduce plastic misuse.
You can also research online which organisations will accept unwanted furniture and such items; which is a better alternative to them winding up in landfill.
4. Conscious Lifestyle Decisions
There are small steps you can implement into your daily routine which constitutes as recycling. For instance, if you boil pasta, the water can be re-used to water your garden or house plants. Even stale water that has been left on the side or Tea (unsweetened) can be re-used in the same way, (Care2, 2019).
Generally being organised and conscious of your lifestyle decisions will help to improve recycling habits. Another good example is to keep a bag for life in the boot of your car. That way you do not need to pay for a bag each time you go food shopping. Consequently, saving you additional money and reducing plastic intake into your home.
5. Implement Throughout
As well as having your recycling bins in the kitchen (this is where they are most commonly situated!), make sure the bins in all other rooms do not end up with recyclable items being thrown in (Compact Appliance, 2019). As well as implementing a routine throughout your house, you can take your initiatives to the world. For example, you can suggest ways to increase recycling at your work office. Question them on whether they are recycling all the printed / shredded paper?
In addition to the workplace, you can even extend your new found expertise to the greater world. Educate friends and family on how they can make greater positive impact. You could also attend protests, and events which either raise money or awareness (or both) of recycling.
18th March 2019 (today) is Global Recycling Day, and this article has been written in order to raise awareness. We would like to inspire everyone to recycle, and hope that this article has been insightful.
Michelle Whitney, BA (Hons)
RRC Digital Marketing Assistant, Blogger & Writer