The EU target for the UK’s household recycling rate is 50 per cent by 2020. However, it is currently unknown if the UK will meet this, based on the most recent statistics.
45.2 per cent of household waste was recycled in 2016 and 45.7 per cent in 2017. While there was an increase, it wasn’t significant.
Recycling and the disposal of waste have become a hot topic of late, and it’s easy to understand why when you delve into the benefits of recycling.
This blog post outlines all of those benefits and explains why recycling is so important.
Most waste can now be recycled, meaning it is diverted from landfill — either temporarily or indefinitely. Every item saved from landfill is an item not sat degrading for hundreds of years, giving off greenhouse gasses and contributing to climate change.
Recycling saves items from ending up in landfill and gives them another life, which means fewer new products are produced. Fewer natural resources are then used, which is positive because these resources are limited, with some rapidly on their way to running out.
Making brand new items uses far more energy (electricity, water, etc.) than recycling used items. Every time you recycle, you are helping to conserve the planet’s resources. To give an example, recycling an aluminium can uses 95 per cent less energy than that used to manufacture a new one. Even better news — aluminium can be recycled indefinitely.
The cost of recycling old things into new ones is much less than creating new products from scratch. Whether you’re the end consumer or a business, this is an enormous benefit.
Not only that, but new deposit schemes are being tested out in the UK whereby there is a financial reward for the return of glass bottles and aluminium cans. This idea was recently tested out as part of Leeds By Example, and worked well, returning a high recycling rate.
By recycling your rubbish instead of placing it in your general waste bin, you are helping to reduce the amount of natural resource being used for the manufacturing of new products. Recycling equals fewer trees being chopped down, less pollution taking place, and fewer animals displaced through human action involving their natural habitats.
Not only this but recycled waste is kept out of the environment, meaning it doesn’t end up as litter. Animals, both on land and in the sea, can and are harmed and killed by litter. It has been suggested that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.
In the same way that the manufacturing of new products can affect animals, it can also affect humans. People who live in areas where natural resources are found — often poor and vulnerable people — are finding themselves displaced or otherwise exploited by industry.
As with animals, humans are also affected by litter, and we eat thousands of bits of microplastic every year.
In summary, the above six benefits outline why recycling is absolutely essential for human life, animals, and the planet.