Do you spend time at home separating your plastics from your paper, from your cans, from your bottles? All to help reduce plastic pollution, believing it will all go to be recycled into something new?
Sadly, in the UK and the US, and across most of the world, less than 10% of the recycling collected is actually recycled.
The main reason is the sheer volume of throwaway plastic being produced
The UK is even shipping it to other countries to deal with, which only ends up polluting their own land and waterways.
So, should we stop recycling? Absolutely not – without the recycling service, there would be even more waste polluting the planet. Recycling is vitally important – our systems just need to get better at handling it.
One of the main benefits of home recycling is the reduction of waste going to landfills, which can become overfilled with severe negative environmental impacts.
Another benefit of recycling is the conservation of natural resources. The production of new products from recycled materials uses less energy and fewer raw materials compared to producing new products from virgin materials.
For example, producing aluminum from recycled materials uses 95% less energy and generates 95% fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to producing aluminum from raw bauxite ore.
Recycling also creates jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries, which can have a positive impact on local economies.
It also helps to reduce the demand for new materials, which can help to conserve finite resources such as forests, minerals, and petroleum.
However, it’s important to note that recycling is just one aspect of a larger waste management system. The success of home recycling depends on a well-functioning waste management infrastructure, including efficient collection and processing systems, as well as well-informed consumers who recycle properly.