Recycling lessens the requirement for raw materials. In turn, the environment and health damaging operations undertaken to obtain these materials are also reduced. Transportation and manufacturing processes of these raw materials uses fossil fuels. Another resource is thus reduced and still further environmental improvement made.
Use of recycling products within manufacture can also use less energy than using raw material, and result in lower emissions.
Most rubbish is either buried (landfill) or burnt (incineration). There is limited space available for landfill and both these forms of disposal effect our environment.
What happened to that old saying 'waste not want not'?
The overall amount of waste is increasing as we buy more packaged and disposable products.
Domestic UK households produce about 1 tonne of rubbish annually. This amounts to around 27 million tonnes of waste in the UK each year and approximately a quarter of this is packaging waste.
Recycling therefore needs to increase. Recycling services need to get much better and everybody needs to recycle much more.
What is recycling?
Recycling gives no longer wanted or useful items a new lease of life. Occasionally things can be made back into the same, or similar, item whilst others into something completely different.
Glass bottles can be recycled and manufactured into new ones. Plastic vending cups can be made into pencils and plastic bottles into clothing.
What can be recycled?
A great many materials could be recycled but what can be recycled in practice is dependent on economics.
Products suitable for recycling are being marked with symbols detailing what they are made of to assist with both collection and reprocessing.
In the UK many kerbside collection schemes are now in place to collect items such as tins, cardboard packaging, newspapers, plastic bottles etc and also recycling sites/banks for glass, clothes, shoes and organic garden waste.
Once recyclables have been collected, or are taken to a recycling site/bank, they will be sorted into the various materials ie paper, plastics and transported to appropriate reprocessors. Then they are broken down e.g. into chipped plastic and used by manufacturers to make a new usable product.
The economics of recycling improves if there is a market for goods made with recycled raw materials. So buying recycled promotes recycling.
See our pages to buy recycled business gifts and recycled promotional products
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