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Recycle on at home
We have all heard the 3R’s – reuse, reduce, recycle – so many times it’s practically a mantra. However, despite the catchy alliteration being ingrained into our collective psyche most of us are guilty of not putting our waste into the correct bin. Many of us are disconnected from the journey our waste goes through and it’s more exciting than most people think! You can be a good environmentalist while staying connected and maybe have a little fun too.
Not a pretty picture
Every year, most households throw away at least 40kg of plastic. Nationwide, we use 7.7 billion plastic bottles per year. That’s an average of 117 bottles per person, per year. 50% of this is single-use plastic and only 9% has ever been recycled. This leads to 8 million pieces of plastic finding its way into our oceans daily.
Why the 3Rs?
With global warming, pollution, diminishing forests and limited supply of natural resources, people are becoming more aware of the importance of protecting the environment. The 3Rs provides an environmentally-friendly way to reduce the negative impacts of the growing amounts of waste. Here are some of the overall benefits of recycling:
- By manufacturing less it saves energy
- Recycling diminishes air and water pollution
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions which help tackle climate change
- Expands local circular economy initiatives
Start making a difference in your own home
Be proactive and reduce the amount of waste produced, a meal plan is the perfect way to cut down on your food waste. Become organised and simply spend 10 minutes on a meal plan and shopping list for the week, guaranteeing that you will not over purchase on foods, which will either not be eaten, or will go off and eventually end up in the bin. You can even go one step further and prep your meals to ensure that you don’t buy plastic-packaged foods when you’re out and about.
Before recycling an item consider if it has any life in it. One of the handier reuse items are food jars for storage and refills. Every time you buy something in a jar form the shops, wash it out, sterilise it and re-use it for something new. Jars are good for storing foods in cupboards, as well as in the fridge. Other ideas are; making your own candles, a pen holder for your desk at home and even using the jars to drink water from.
One of the more obvious tips is to use reusable water bottles or coffee cups instead of plastic bottles or single-use cups. Bywaters have found that by eliminating single-use plastics from our offices, we have managed to save up to 400kg of plastic from disposal in one year, equivalent to saving 1.4 tonnes in the Co2 emissions associated with the production and disposal of these plastics.
Another way to reuse items is rather than purchasing plastic bags when shopping, each time you go out bring your own from home. In addition to this, you could build a compost bin and use food waste and tea bags to make your own compost for your plants.
Recycling is the process of converting waste into new, usable materials. At Bywaters we like to think of ourselves as somewhat experts on the subject, and encourage all homes and businesses recycle effectively to reduce reliance on our finite resources. This can be done by becoming your own green guru at home and making the overall recycling system more efficient. Here are some of our tips to make recycling better:
- Make sure materials are dry, that means avoid putting wet paper towels or damp cardboard into the recycling container; otherwise they spoil the recycling process. If you can, avoid putting recycling out on a rainy day.
- Screw lids back onto bottles. On their own they are too small to make it through the sorting machines.
- To save space in your recycling bin, remember to squash bottles before you put them in. It not only gives you more space, it minimises the amount of times your waste gets picked up.
- Empty and rinse any residual food waste in cartons or tins, they don’t need to be sparkling but a half-full baked beans tin could end up contaminating other recycling such as paper and cardboard.
Now breathe and say the 3Rs
Reduce: purchase products with less packaging or cut down on waste production
Reuse: use reusable water bottles and avoid single-use bags
Recycle: paper, plastic, glass, magazines, electronics and more can be processed into new products while using fewer natural resources and less energy
Using the 3Rs at home is a simple and easy way to remember that you can make a difference. Always keep in mind that one quick decision could define the journey of your waste. As responsible citizens we should acknowledge our roles in the community and the state of the environment. By mindfully reducing your waste, reusing items and recycling – you can do your part to protect the environment. Every little thing you do will make a difference.
If you need help, advice or want additional materials to support your recycling programmes, please get in touch to find out about the support Bywaters provides to help you on your recycling journey.