Putting it simply, the reason we need to recycle is to reduce the impact we have on the environment through the excavation and use of the earths non renewable materials and to prevent carbon emissions through landfill and incineration.
Each household produces about one tonne of rubbish annually, amounting to approximately 27 million tonnes for the UK each year. That equals the weight of around the same number of people who live in the Greater Manchester area!
The amount of rubbish we throw away is increasing for a number of reasons:
- new, more complex packaging materials are being developed;
- lifestyle changes, for example a greater reliance on convenience/fast food;
- increasing affluence, leading to greater consumption of goods;
- increasing population; and
- the need to get the latest gadget or latest style of goods.
Today's rubbish compared to pre-1960s rubbish, contains more products that don't break down when they're put into the ground. Packaging waste makes up about a quarter of all the rubbish you put in your bin, most of this could be recycled.
We need to increase the amount of rubbish that is recycled because we cannot carry on burying and burning rubbish forever. We also need to reduce the amount of virgin raw materials we use such as oil and metal. It is recognised by the government that we need to reduce the amount of rubbish we produce and increase the amount we reuse and recycle.
However, these changes will not happen overnight, to increase recycling we need to:
- collect more rubbish through bring banks and on doorsteps;
- build more reprocessing plants;
- educate people about recycling;
- make sure there are enough transport infrastructure in place to collect the recyclable materials; and
- find ways of using the recycled material by making it into useful items.
Did you know some fleece jackets are made from recycled plastic bottles?