Here are some recycling facts to think about:
Some of these figures should really make us think about what we’re doing now and how we can do more to further improve our recycling efforts.
Recycling is one of the best ways to have a positive impact on both the natural environment as well as ourselves. The amount of waste that we create is increasing all the time and this is due to the following reasons:
So how important is recycling to our environment? There is no space for waste. Our UK landfill sites are filling up fast, and harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are being released from l sites, so recycling is needed to reduce pollution caused by waste. Huge amounts of energy are used to make products from raw materials, whereas recycling requires less energy, which helps to preserve natural resources. So let’s break this down even further to product level, and the environmental impact on each.
Paper is taken from to the recycling plant where it is separated into types and grades. It’s then washed to remove any ink, plastic film, staples and glue, and put into a large holder where it’s mixed with water to create ‘slurry’. By adding different materials to the slurry different products such as cardboard, newsprint or office paper can be created. The slurry is then spread out into large thin sheets to dry out, rolled up and then sent out to suppliers.
Our aluminium tins and foil are taken to a recycle treatment centre where it is sorted and cleaned ready for reprocessing. It then goes through a melting process to be turned into molten aluminium which removes coatings and inks. The aluminium is then made into large blocks - each block or ‘ingot’ contains around 1.6 million drink cans.
The ingots are then sent to mills to be rolled out, which gives the aluminium greater flexibility and strength, and then more aluminium products are made such as cans and ready meal packaging. Following this process (which can take as little as six weeks) the recycled aluminium products are sent back to shops ready to be used again.
Once glass is picked up from bottle banks and glass recycle bins, it’s taken to the glass treatment plant where it is sorted by colour and washed to remove any impurities. The glass is then crushed, melted and moulded into new glass products such as jars and bottles. This end product can also be used for brick manufacture or for decorative purposes, and as glass doesn’t degrade it can be recycled over and over again.
We use as many as 50 different types of plastic, some of which we are able to recycle in the UK. However there are some plastics that unfortunately still go to landfill, or are shipped abroad for recycling.
The process of recycling plastics includes sorting, shredding, washing and melting before they are then compressed into pellets. Recycling plastic is completed through a two step process; the first step is sorting, which is mainly done automatically but then includes a manual sort to ensure all contaminates are removed. The plastic is then either melted down and moulded into a new shape, or shredded into flakes before being processed into granulates.
Waste wood is processed to produce wood chip which can be sent to manufacturers to produce new board, or can alternatively be used as wood fuel for biomass plants and boilers. At LSPS, we recycle wood waste on site producing wood pellets which are used for animal bedding or cat litter. For further information, you can read about how we recycle wood and about skips suitable for wood waste.
Composting is the decomposition of materials originating from plants and animals. Organic materials such as plant trimmings, vegetable cuttings, eggshells and teabags can be including in the composting process, which when broken down produces dark, crumbling matter that can be reused as fertiliser in soil. So if you’re clearing out garden waste, find out which skips are suitable for your job.
You can add the following to your compost pile:
Building and DIY waste is made up from many materials, such as metal, wood, glass and brickwork, all of which can be reused or recycled. Find out what skips are suited for building and DIY waste.