In the kitchen, the office, or the supermarket, recycling has become part of everyday life. But why is it so important to recycle waste materials where we can? Let’s explore exactly why we should all be recycling as much as possible, and why we are encouraged to recycle certain items.
What ‘Recycle’ Means
Recycling is the process of converting waste into reusable materials, which can then be turned into new materials and objects. Many of us are familiar with the concept of recycling from curbside collections at home. We regularly dispose of reusable household materials in a dedicated bin or box organised by the local authority, who are responsible for collecting and processing items that would otherwise be thrown away as trash.
Benefits of recycling
Without recycling, usable materials would be disposed of as rubbish and sent to landfills. Recycling also helps to;
- Conserve natural resources by reducing the number of new materials that need to be made from the earth’s limited supplies.
- Protect wildlife by reducing harmful disruption to ecosystems caused when raw materials are sourced, and cutting plastic waste that can pollute oceans, coastlines and waterways.
- Preserve communities and land where raw materials are found by reducing demand for these materials.
- Save energy, as making products from recycled materials uses less energy than manufacturing from raw materials.
- Cut carbon emissions by reducing energy use and diverting waste from landfills where it could release methane, a greenhouse gas that affects the earth’s climate.
Why Recycle Aluminium?
From fizzy pop to beer, all of the drinks cans produced in the UK are made from aluminium. When drinks cans are recycled, they are melted down into aluminium ingots, which are then used to make new cans.
Using old cans to make the metal for new ones is an example of closed-loop recycling, and means that a recycled drink’s can could be back on the shelf as a new one in just 60 days. So, by recycling your can, you will be helping to create a new one without damaging the planet.
Why Recycle Plastic?
The main problem with plastic is that it is made from oil, fossil fuel and finite resource that will eventually run out. In the UK, around 8 billion plastic bottles are thrown away every year, with many ending up in landfills.
Recycling plastic bottles cut the use of fossil fuels to make new plastic and can help reduce plastic waste that pollutes the oceans and poses a threat to wildlife. Recycled plastic bottles can also be used to make a variety of different items, from clothing to kitchen cupboards.
Why Recycle Food Waste?
Buying too much in the supermarket and binning our food scraps puts pressure on supplies, creates unnecessary waste, and is easily avoidable. Food waste can be prevented by shopping smart, distributing excess food to those in need, or taking waste and transforming it into a new food product. Any remaining waste can be processed through Anaerobic Digestion (AD), which turns it into energy and natural fertiliser.
Why Recycle Batteries?
Each year in the UK we throw away around 600 million batteries. Left in landfill, batteries begin to erode and leak dangerous chemicals into the ground, causing soil and water pollution. This can pose a threat to the health of humans, animals and can be avoided by recycling batteries once they run flat. Many supermarkets have battery recycling points, so you can safely dispose of old ones while picking up a new pack.
Why Recycle Clothes?
Our desire for the latest trends has accelerated the rise of fast fashion – inexpensive clothing produced by mass-market retailers. Making cheap clothes quickly uses an unhealthy amount of raw materials, chemicals, water and electricity, and often involves questionable labour practices.
Recycling clothing and buying second-hand not only reduces demand for fast fashion but helps cut the number of items sent to landfill, where waste clothing contributes to greenhouse gases and damages the natural landscape.
Clothes that are in good condition can be donated to charity, giving someone else the opportunity to enjoy your old favourite outfit. You could also make money by selling second-hand clothes – so you get to feel good about helping the planet, and earn some extra cash too.
Why Recycle Glass?
Recycling glass reduces the use of raw materials like sand, a limited resource which in some areas is running low. Glass is a versatile material that can be recycled to make many different items, reducing the space required in landfill for cumbersome bottles and jars.
At a recycling plant, glass is broken into smaller pieces called ‘cullet’. This melts at a lower temperature than is required when making new glass from raw materials, so making products from recycled glass uses less energy.
Why Recycle Paper?
Paper is both biodegradable and recyclable. This means that, although it will break down in landfill, it can also be used to make new paper for books, newspapers, notepads, and more. Recycling paper also helps cut greenhouse gas emissions, as it requires less energy and water to recycle paper than make new paper from trees. Most importantly, reusing paper saves trees and forests across the globe, protecting one of our most valuable natural resources.
Recycling & Reducing Landfill
As part of our waste disposal service, LSPS has an on-site waste transfer station which enables us to recycle as much material as possible, reducing the amount sent to landfill. That means, when you dispose of waste or hire a skip from us, you can rest assured that the rubbish you throw away will be sorted and recycled.