Recycling often just seems like another one of those jobs we have to do, in order to ‘do our bit’…and avoid a telling off from the council.
However, it may be time that we understood just how important this job of ours that we most likely do every day out of habit. We’ve taken a look at some of the reasons why recycling is so important for our planet, to hopefully make people feel a bit more positive as they head to the recycle bin, and to even encourage people to go that little bit further with it.
Recycling helps protect the environment
The most obvious reason is that recycling is of course really great for the planet. Recycling reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining and processing raw materials all of which create substantial air and water pollution.
It helps to reduce landfills
There are over 1,500 landfill sites in the UK alone, and a staggering amount of the wastage that’s in them could be recycled. It’s not just the everyday items you throw away that end up in landfills, either. Around 1 million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste are generated every year. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations came into force in January 2007 and aim to reduce the amount of this waste going to landfill and improve recovery and recycling rates. You can read more about that here – www.serviceforce.co.uk/services/recycling/weee-directive. Landfills also produce a dangerously high level of methane, which is a harmful greenhouse gas that is 20 times more damaging than carbon dioxide.
It saves energy
Even when comparing all of the associated costs with manufacturing new products (including transportation), using recycled materials in the manufacturing process uses considerably less energy than that required for producing new products from raw materials. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which helps to tackle climate change. Current UK recycling is estimated to save more than 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year – the equivalent to taking 5 million cars off the road.
It preserves raw materials
Making new products out of recycled materials reduces the need to consume precious resources. So recycling helps protect raw materials and protect natural habitats for the future. You can find out more about critical and precious raw materials here, and what you can do to help conserve them even further.
It saves you money
A personal and huge advantage of recycling is that it helps to save you money, as well as helping to save the environment. If we are to avoid the heavy fines and the landfill taxes that are being imposed by central government on councils that exceed their landfill allowances, we need to dramatically reduce the amount of waste we send to landfills. Increases in your council tax or service cuts in other areas would be the only way of paying these penalties. Reusing old items is another great way to save money, too. There’s a great article from RecyclingGuide.org regarding reusing items that you may find useful.