6 simple ways you can help make a difference on Global Recycling Day

As Global Recycling Day approaches on March 18, there is no better time to remind yourself of the overwhelming value that the conscientious act of recycling can have on our planet.

Best of all, almost anyone can take part and there are always ways to boost your own input with the slightest of ease while making a real difference to the future of the planet.

In fact, sometimes, as little as changing your shopping habits could have a positive impact on the way you recycle which, once people join forces in doing so, can make a significant contribution to preserving the health of the Earth.

So, in preparation for Global Recycling Day, read these six ways you could help make a difference today.

The numbers show that recycling works, but we need to do more 

Some regard the act of recycling as the planet’s “seventh resource”, along with:

  • Water
  • Air
  • Oil
  • Natural gas
  • Coal
  • Minerals

As a result of earth’s finite supply of our most-useful commodities, recycling has to be considered on par with the other six. Without recycling, the resources that allow the modern world to tick would be likely to soon run dry.

This is especially true when you consider that the planet’s precious raw materials are being used up at a faster rate than ever before. 

In fact, the Global Recycling Day website reports that humans have used more natural resources in the last 50 years than in our entire history. 

The lack of recycling is a cyclical problem –  since synthetic materials began being manufactured in the 1950s, according to figures published by Global Recycling Day, only 9% of the total 8 billion metric tonnes of plastic waste has been recycled.

The good news is that we can still make a tangible difference through committed recycling. 

Plus, recycling currently offsets 700 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, which is enough to offset the CO2 production of the entire aviation industry! And, according to data from Virago, this is expected to climb to 1 billion tonnes by 2030.

Although a lot more needs to be done to secure a sustainable future, it’s exciting to know that recycling can and does make a real difference to offsetting harmful habits.

Some of the steps to improve your recycling habits are easier than you think

Doing your bit to help maintain healthy, global levels of recycling isn’t as difficult as it may sound.

Here are some useful tips you could use to become a better recycler.

1. Be creative and adopt inventive repurposing techniques 

Avoiding throwing anything away is the most ideal situation, even if it’s recyclable. Wherever possible try to reuse or repurpose any goods you can. This is a great way to reduce your waste.

Examples of items that you could repurpose include:

  • Clothing
  • Food containers
  • Plastic bottles
  • Carrier bags 

2. Recycle with precision 

A crucial step of the recycling process is cleaning out your receptacles and putting in them the correct, designated bin.

Just one dirty jar, bottle, or tin could be enough to contaminate your entire bin’s worth of recycling, rendering all your effort useless.

This is especially relevant when you stop to consider that 79% of plastic produced since the 1950s is sitting in landfill or has been littered.

3. Take extra care with products that use materials that are not easily recycled 

Some goods may use packaging that is comprised of multiple materials, making it harder to recycle. Meanwhile, they may simply use materials that are not widely recycled.

In this case, a lot of supermarkets have recycling points that allow you to responsibly dispose of them. These products may include things like squeezy tubes, wrapping paper, and sandwich cartons.

4. Avoid disposable or single-use plastics 

When doing your regular grocery shop, keep a keen eye out for single-use plastics. Wherever possible, opt for plastic that is recyclable.

You can check the recyclability of the packaging on the reverse of the product.

5. Consider giving away unwanted items or pieces of clothing 

Although food packaging is an important step of the recycling process yet to be conquered, its remit goes beyond groceries.

Clothing is another area of consumerism that send materials to waste unnecessarily. 

Repurposing your clothes or donating them to others is one of the best and immediate ways you can successfully recycle.

Just because you no longer use a coat, jumper, t-shirt, or jeans, it doesn’t mean that others won’t value your unwanted clothes.

6. Act as a community to reduce greater levels of waste

By creating a discussion, forum, or community of like-minded recyclers, you could inspire a circuit of reuse and help prevent more products from going to waste.

The more people that know you have something going spare, the more likely it is you’ll find a taker.

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