Happy Global Recycling Day!

The missions of Global Recycling Day, as set out by the Global Recycling Foundation are: 

  1. To inform world leaders that recycling is important and therefore needs to be a global issue, and that a common, joined-up approach to recycling is urgently needed.
  2. To ask people to think ‘resource, not waste’ when it comes to the goods around us.

The exploitation of resources, such as plastic and paper, has sparked global concern. Since becoming a UN-recognized day in 2018, millions of individuals and hundreds of thousands of businesses have raised their voices in awareness of Global Recycling Day. 

four assorted-color trash bins beside gray wall

Every year we produce 2.1 billion metric tons of solid waste. However, only 16% of that is recycled, this 16% saves 700 million metric tons of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere. This percentage is not enough for our environment: education, legislation, and action are needed to fight this growing environmental and humanitarian crisis.  

Global Recycling Day is a day that highlights and celebrates the importance that recycling plays in preserving our natural resources and sustaining our planet. 

Let us have a look at how recycling affects our world and how we can help it… 

How recycling affects the ocean…. 

  1. Recycling Reduces Petroleum Use

 One of the main components of plastics is petroleum, which is extracted from crude oil. This oil comes from the ocean and is extracted through drilling. If mistakes occur during this process an oil spill may happen, polluting the water and causing considerable damage to the ecosystem of the ocean. By recycling more, we are reducing the amount of new plastic products that must be made from raw materials. If we can make more products from recycled plastic, our dependency on crude oil and petroleum decreases. 

  1. Recycling Helps Protect Wildlife

 Protecting the ocean is crucial for maintaining biodiversity, as most marine plants and animal species. Plastic pollution within the ocean threatens the safety and survivability of the animals in the ocean due to ingestion of straws, plastic debris, and other things. Even if the animals do not eat them, they can get caught in them and become trapped. Both ingestion and entrapment can result in death. 

  1. Recycling Lowers Ocean Acidification

 Another problem that is affecting sea life is ocean acidification. This is caused by the increase of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.  The ocean is becoming more acidic, this interferes with corals, plankton, and other ocean life. Furthermore, this interacts with their ability to detect predators and so disrupts the food chain. 


How recycling affects the land… 

  1. Conservation of natural resources

 Natural resources are in short supply, they are not infinite. Supplies of sand, the most sought-after raw material after water, are starting to run out. With the UN estimating that we produce 4.1 billion tons of cement every year. Amsterdam and Zurich are focusing on the movement of recycling the resource, with Amsterdam committing to become 100% circular and aiming to halve their use of natural resources by 2030. Looking ahead, industrialization, population growth and urbanization are all trends likely to fuel explosive growth in the demand for sand that we do not have. 

The UK uses 12.5 million tons of paper each year and only 67% of this is recycled. Implementing a recycling policy is essential too for the conservation of the environment. Recycling paper uses 70% of less energy that creating new paper, the reduction in energy also means there will be a reduction on air pollution also! The Environmental Protection Agency also states that recycling one single ton of paper saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space as well as saving 17 trees. 

  1. Protecting ecosystems and wildlife

Recycling reduces the need to grow, harvest or extract new raw materials from the Earth. This decreased the amount of harmful disruption and damage happening to forests and rivers. As well as this, fewer wild animals are harmed or displaced – which also reduces the disruption of the ecosystem in place. 

  1. Recycling Maintains Oxygen Levels

 Recycling paper is an effortless way to help maintain oxygen levels around the world, necessary today as there is currently a dramatic increase in global warming. One tree produces over 260 pounds of oxygen, making paper from recycled products increases the oxygen levels in the air and minimizes the depletion within forests. 

person sitting on black car tire

 How can you help? 

  •  Think before you toss.

 Figure out if an item is recyclable by looking at it, cleaning it, and keeping a list handy of what’s recyclable in your area, throwing items that cannot be recycled into the recycling bin may mean that none of it ends up being recycled. 

  • Clean out containers.

 Dirty or food-soiled containers do not get recycled. Washing out items is essential before placing them into the bin. 

  • Look for the number on the bottom of plastic

Plastic containers have a triangle of arrows on them, if the number are 1 or 2, they are commonly recycled. The plastics that are not recycled can be reused or placed into the normal waste bin. 

  • Enclose small bits of paper

If you have shredded confidential information, or torn up paper to be recycled, place the scraps into a paper bag so the individual pieces can be contained and later disposed of correctly at the recycling center.

Global Recycling Day 2019: “Recycling into the Future” | Waste360