Playing our part: recycling more

Recycle sign

As a family we’ve always been conscious of recycling and the impact that our actions have on the environment. We talk about it and read about it with our boys regularly. We love to watch Blue Planet 2 and this series brought it home to us even more. It is so important that we take responsibility and play our part in the future wellbeing of our world. This is clearly beginning to sink in. On a recent trip to Cornwall I noticed two things. Firstly, Chief was able to accurately spot and correctly identify sea creatures such as Bobbits. When taking a closer look at crabs and shrimps he treated them with absolute respect and care. Meanwhile Munch and The Loud One independently chose to use their grabber toy and bucket to clean plastic up from the beach.

On the beach

It’s sad that our environment is paying the price for our lifestyle choices and dare I say it lazy ways. I read in the news this weekend about the theme park in France where crows have been trained to pick up litter and put it in the bin. Quite cute until you consider that crows are being taught to do something that we should be doing ourselves. We create it, we should surely take responsibility for it.

Did you know that the average UK household produces over a tonne of rubbish every year? One tonne! In total that means that we create around 30 million tonnes of rubbish annually. Approximately 5.9 tonnes of that is packaging (source: Recycle More). Another astonishing fact is that there is on average 600 million tonnes of products and materials entering the UK each year, but only 115 million tonnes is recycled (Source: Recycle More). So where does the rest go?

Some goes into landfill. Some is recovered and recycled (only 1% according to most recent government data). Other waste is incinerated.

Rubbish bins

It is clear to see why recycling is so important when you consider that 81% of our household waste is being sent to landfill.

Here are some more facts for you: according to a government paper, an incredible 13 billion plastic bottles are used in the UK every year of which only 7.5 billion are recycled. The remainder go to landfill, are littered or incinerated. Those that go to landfill or are incinerated produce around 233,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions each year. So it’s not just buried and forgotten about, it still has a direct impact. Greenpeace UK says that plastic that is littered can get directly into our oceans through blowing away, or being left on a beach or near a river and being washed away. Some is thought to blow out of landfill sites too.

Did you know that every tonne of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees (source: Recycle More). Think of what that could do for our environment. For the impact not just on oxygen and the water cycle and soil, but on the life that relies upon those trees. Making small changes can make big differences. Take paper cups for example. They need to have a lining to prevent liquid from seeping through, such as polyethylene (PE), but despite this they can be recycled. Companies like Glasdon (uk.glasdon.com/recycling-bins/cup-recycling-bins) can provide specialist bins to put these cups in which can then be taken to be recycled. So no more chucking them away in the office waste bin. If you don’t have a dedicated point already why not start a workplace scheme to get a suitable bin for them. If you’re at home and have picked up a hot drink on your way somewhere, keep hold of the cup until you find a suitable recycling bin to put it in. Check your local coffee shop. Most UK coffee shop chains offer recycling points. Due to the way that we drink from such cups on the go, it is estimated that only 1 in every 400 of these cups is currently taken to a recycling point (source: Glasdon eBook). We can change that! We can add to the tonnes of paper being recycled and actively save trees.

Another thing that you can do to help is to consider where you are buying things from, and the commitment of that company to supporting environmental initiatives. Look for takeaway vendors who are working hard to provide recycling points and putting the environment on their agenda. Where possible don’t buy from places that only offer polystyrene cups for example, as these can’t easily be recycled and take hundreds of years to break down.

Staying with the idea of cups, you might choose to provide your own reusable one instead. You can even buy reusable straws now if you like to use a straw with a smoothie for example. There are always options!

Recycling area

What do you do to look after the environment and play your part in caring for our world? Please leave your top tips in the comment section below!

N.B. This is a collaborative post. Please see my disclosure page for more info.

12th August 2018

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