Global Recycling Day
Annually in the UK, households produce approximately 26 million tonnes of waste. Importantly, only 45% of this is recycled. If every individual in the UK recycled correctly, this would save 62,240,722 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. For comparison, this is the equivalent of 34,771,353 flights from London to Australia.
On Saturday 18 March 2023, Global Recycling Day took place and got us thinking as a firm about how we can improve our recycling habits. Global Recycling Day seeks to highlight the ongoing issue of recycling globally and encourage individuals to think about how they can reduce the amount of waste they produce.
How does waste contribute to the production of CO2 emissions?
The production processes involved in sourcing and refining products and packaging results in resources being taken from natural environments such as forests and mines. This is incredibly energy intensive and releases greenhouse gas emissions (including CO2) into the atmosphere. As a consequence, global warming increases, leading to sea levels rising and extreme weather conditions becoming the norm. Evidence of this was seen last year in the UK when we recorded our highest temperature ever of 40.3 degrees.
How does recycling help?
Recycling reduces CO2 emissions because using recycled materials to manufacture consumer products and packaging decreases the need for resources to be taken from natural environments. By reusing materials, less energy is used to procure and transport materials during the manufacturing process.
What can I do?
Countless ideas of ways to improve your recycling habits can be found on the internet, some really easy ones to incorporate into your daily life can be found below:
- Donate don’t Deliberate – sorting, packing, and delivering unwanted items to a charity shop or listing them on websites such as Depop, Vinted, and eBay might seem like a mammoth task but this is such an easy way to reduce your waste (and potentially make some profit!)
- Reuse don’t Lose – most items have multiple secret uses, get creative and find new ways to use them before throwing them away. From transforming jam jars to storage containers, or using old bottle caps to make tea light holders, the list is endless.
- Buy a reusable coffee cup – the UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year. We all love a lunchtime stroll around the Bay to grab a coffee, so what better way to reduce your waste than to get your own cup that you can reuse? Lots of businesses also now offer discounts if you BYO so it’s a win-win.
- Choose plastic-free packaged foods – not everyone has the time or can afford to visit a refill shop, but making a conscious effort when doing your weekly food shop to select goods with less packaging is a really easy way to reduce your waste.
- Go paperless with your bills – most energy providers, councils, and banks allow you to opt for bills to be delivered to you via email or through an app. Not only does this enable you to centralise and easily keep track of your spending, it also significantly reduces your paper consumption, consequently saving trees, water, and cutting pollution.
As a firm, we are always looking to improve our recycling habits, including delivering a workshop alongside Planet Mark to encourage employees to get involved in important discussions and come up with ideas to reduce our waste and more generally our carbon emissions. Planet Mark is a sustainability certification that allows businesses to strengthen their ESG strategy and recognises continuous improvement and action to reduce carbon emissions.