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10 Simple Ways To Kickstart Your Recycling Habits This Recycle Awareness Week

October 2023

Recently, studies and surveys have found households unsure and sometimes unaware of how to properly recycle. This uncertainty comes at the worst time for humanity, which continues to face a battle against climate change. Recycling significantly affects society's environmental footprint, especially in Western culture. 

This is where this week comes in.

Recycle Awareness Week is an excellent opportunity for people to learn more about recycling and improve their recycling habits. Here are ten simple habits individuals can take during this week and beyond to enhance their recycling efforts:

  1. Educate Yourself: Start by learning about what can and cannot be recycled locally. You may presume it's obvious or easy to guess - think again. Different places have different recycling guidelines, so knowing what is accepted and what isn't is essential. This information is usually on your local government or recycling program's website. Not only do you face fines from your local councils if you consistently incorrectly recycle, but you are also responsible for polluting recycling sites.
  2. Reduce and Reuse: Before recycling, reduce waste by buying minimal packaging (especially plastic) products and reusing items whenever possible. For example, you can use reusable bags, containers, and water bottles to cut down on single-use items.
  3. Set Up a Recycling Station: Create a designated area in your home for recycling. A clearly labelled recycling bin or bins for different materials like paper, plastic, glass, and aluminium can make recycling more accessible for you and your family.
  4. Check for Local Recycling Programs: Some materials, like electronics, batteries, and hazardous waste, may not be accepted in your local roadside recycling program. Find local collection centres or special collection events for these items.
  5. Composting: To reduce waste further, consider starting a compost pile or using a composting service for organic waste. This reduces the amount of food and yard waste in landfills.
  6. Spread the Word: Encourage your friends, family, and neighbours to recycle and educate them about the importance of responsible waste management. Share information on social media and participate in local recycling awareness events.
  7. Reduce Contamination: Contamination is a significant issue in recycling. Be sure to keep non-recyclable items out of the recycling bin. Contaminants can disrupt the recycling process and lead to recyclable materials being sent to landfills.
  8. Stay Informed: Stay updated on recycling policies and developments in your community. Participate in local meetings or initiatives related to recycling to have a voice in shaping recycling programs.
  9. Reduce Single-Use Plastics: Reduce your use of single-use plastics, which are often not easily recyclable and can significantly impact the environment. Opt for reusable alternatives.
  10. Donate or Repurpose: Before discarding items, consider donating them to charities or finding creative ways to repurpose them. This extends the life of products and reduces waste.

How does recycling help the environment?

Recycling is a fundamental part of a sustainable and environmentally responsible lifestyle. When done correctly, it conserves resources, reduces pollution, and contributes to a healthier and more balanced ecosystem. However, it's important to note that successful recycling requires the active participation and commitment of individuals, communities, and industries to maximise its positive environmental impact.

Just in case you weren't sure how effective recycling directly helps or benefits the environment, here are some examples of how correct recycling practices assist our fight against climate change and help the environment. 

Conservation of Resources: Recycling reduces the need for extracting, refining, and processing raw materials from the Earth. This conserves valuable natural resources such as timber, minerals, and fossil fuels. For example, recycling aluminium cans saves energy and resources compared to producing new cans from bauxite ore.

Energy Savings: Recycling generally requires less energy than manufacturing products from raw materials. These energy savings can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impact of energy production.

Reduced Landfill Waste: Proper recycling reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Landfills can release harmful greenhouse gases, leachate, and toxins into the environment. By diverting materials from landfills, recycling helps mitigate these negative effects.

Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions: When you recycle materials like paper, glass, and plastics, it often results in fewer emissions of greenhouse gases. For example, recycling paper instead of making it from virgin wood pulp can significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Preservation of Biodiversity: Mining and logging for raw materials can lead to habitat destruction and ecosystem disruption. By recycling, we can help protect natural habitats and preserve biodiversity.

Reduction of Pollution: The manufacturing of new products from raw materials can release pollutants into the air, water, and soil. Recycling reduces the need for such manufacturing processes, leading to lower levels of pollution.

Economic Benefits: Recycling can create jobs and stimulate local economies. It promotes the development of recycling facilities, collection systems, and technologies, which can contribute to economic growth and stability.

Extended Product Lifecycles: Many materials can be recycled and reused multiple times, extending the life of products and reducing the need for constant production of new items.

Water and Energy Conservation: In industries like paper and glass production, recycling consumes less water and energy than raw materials extraction and manufacturing. This helps reduce the strain on vital resources.

Promoting Sustainable Practices: Recycling fosters a culture of sustainability and responsible consumption. It encourages people to be more mindful of their environmental impact and make eco-friendly choices.

Reducing the Need for Incineration: Some non-recycled waste is incinerated, which can release pollutants and greenhouse gases. Proper recycling can help reduce the amount of waste that needs to be incinerated.

Innovative Technologies: The recycling industry promotes research and development in new technologies for recycling and waste reduction, leading to more efficient and eco-friendly methods.

Recycling is a small but essential step in addressing environmental concerns. The key is to make it a habit and continually seek ways to reduce waste and minimise our impact on the planet. Recycle Awareness Week reminds us to reevaluate and improve our recycling practices for the betterment of today and for the health of tomorrow. 

Discover Britain's problem with waste, take a look at our blog.

If you or your organisation want to cease the opportunity of environmental enhancement, we strongly recommend taking a look at a environmental health and safety course, several are showcased below. Environmental health safety training courses have been seen to have a dramatic, positive influence on a organisations carbon footprint and overall environmental impact. 

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