Recycling is the first step, and often the easiest, to achieving a more planet friendly lifestyle. Almost every piece of plastic ever made still exists today, and by 2050 there will be more pieces of plastic in the sea than fish. It’s so important we get recycling right! Most people know to do their recycling – but are you doing it effectively?
Why do we recycle?
Recycling has seen a big push in recent years, but why do we do it? Well, it gives items another use, diverts waste from landfill and uses fewer resources than making the same item again from scratch. However, there’s a reason reduce and reuse come first. Most recycled items will eventually head to landfill, particularly plastics. Going zero waste is always the best option.
Wales is leading the way on recycling
In December 2017, Wales was named the second best recycler of household waste in the world. A pretty exciting fact, although I felt incredibly let down seeing Welsh waste being pulled out of giant piles of waste in Malaysia on War on Plastic. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a clip:
How to recycle our waste more effectively
Get your recycling station in order. In my house, we have a regular kitchen bin for recyclables which is a different colour to our general waste bin. We sort this out once a week, which saves us from having to navigate four recycling boxes/bags all the time.
Find out what you can already recycle kerbside. Your local authority will already take some waste for recycling. Get in touch with them to find out exactly what you can put out for collection in your recycling bin. If you need to clean your recycling first, then make sure it’s clean. Contaminating your recycling could result in whole batches of waste being rejected.
Find out what can be taken to your local tip. Some things that can’t be taken at the kerbside might still be easily recycled. You should be able to take larger items to the tip, or arrange a bulky item collection through the council. If you can’t recycle small electrical items kerbside and they still work, try putting it out on Freecycle or in your local Facebook selling group.
Check Terracycle. Terracycle partners with brands to take items that aren’t readily/easily recycled. You can collect individually or use a public drop off point. There are loads of different items to recycle, and Terracycle are adding new items all the time.
What’s left over? Those are the materials you should work on reducing. Try taking a general waste audit to find out what to reduce first. After that, go after what feels easy. The more you do, the easier it gets – for you, and for our planet too.