This week is Recycling Week, and businesses across the UK are trying to improve their environmental efforts. Rachael, our Marketing Assistant, takes a look at recycling – and explores how we can all be a bit greener.
The notion of recycling isn’t a new one. I remember the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ campaigns at school. But, fast forward 15 years and we still treat recycling as a personal bonus point if we remember to do it.
This week marks the 14th year of recycle week organised by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme). It’s a great time to stop and think about the importance of recycling and how we can encourage more people to do it.
We’re a society of disposable consumers, with a throwaway culture. We use disposable razors, cameras, nappies, cups, gloves, napkins…the list goes on. We now discard items that we would’ve once reused and reused until we had to retire them to the bin. As consumers, we buy clothes as fashion items that find themselves abandoned at the back of the wardrobe after the season – to eventually be thrown in the bin. The effects of this type of consumerism can be seen across the globe.
In the North Pacific, there is a swirling whirlpool of ocean currents that collects plastic debris – scarily named ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’. It’s estimated to be twice the size of France, and is predicted to double in size in the next 10 years – unless we change the way we purchase, use and dispose of products. The centre of the garbage patch around 1m sq km (386,000 sq miles), with the outside spanning a further 3.5m sq km (1,351,000 sq miles). You can find out more about the impacts of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch here. According to research, approximately 5000 items of marine plastic pollution are found per mile of beach in the UK, and 1 in 3 fish caught for human consumption now contains plastic. In Wales alone, we use roughly 725,000 plastic bottles a day – but we’re still only recycling 50% of them.
In a world with a growing population, we produce more items – and more waste. We need to stop thinking ‘make, use, dispose’, and start thinking in a more circular way. By recycling, we can save energy, protect the environment, reduce landfill and help conserve resources.
So many of the items we use daily can be recycled: from cleaning product bottles through to jam jars. Milk bottles, toiletries, fruit and vegetable punnets, cardboard sleeves, cereal boxes, and toilet roll tubes can all be given a new life as something different. Even your pesky junk mail can come back as something more useful. These days, egg shells and fruit peels can come back to life as electricity. Empty aerosols can be recycled into parts of a brand-new phone, and shampoo bottles as your favourite team’s football shirt.
There are some great resources out there to help with recycling, like Recycle for Wales and Keep Wales Tidy. By doing something as simple and easy as recycling, we can make a huge difference to our impact on our planet.