September 20th-26th is national Recycle Week and this year's theme is Step It Up.
We want to encourage everyone to join us in building new recycling habits that will last a lifetime and help our communities take one step closer to living more sustainably. In this piece, our Sustainability Graduate Business Partner, Steph Quinn, shares lots of information all about what we can do to recycle more and protect our planet.
What's the issue?
The Climate Crisis is a tough subject. But we’re a resilient nation, which we've shown throughout the last 18 months. While we've not had control over lots of the things that have happened over the last year, the Climate Crisis is something we can actively do something about. Every one of us, every day. Most of us already do, through small but powerful habits – like recycling.
Recycling helps to slow down the spread of landfills, helps to save energy and emits far less greenhouse gas emissions than making something from scratch. Around 95% less energy is used to make products from recycled materials than using raw materials and small changes really do make a big difference. Recycling just one drinks can could save enough energy to power a TV for four hours.
By recycling more, we also help to conserve natural resources and protect the environment. When we reduce the amount of new materials we extract from the earth from farming, mining, logging etc., we protect vulnerable but extremely valuable ecosystems from harm, allowing them to exist for generations to come.
With this in mind, many countries around the world are considering how to become more sustainable in the way they manage resources and waste. The UK Government has confirmed its targets to achieve a 65% household recycling rate by 2035, in line with the EU’s Circular Economy Package.
We're making good progress, with recycling rates in England quadrupling from 11% to 44% between 2000 and 2020. However, most of that increase happened before 2010. We know environmental concerns are still on the increase, so we need to do more and we need to do it now. Importantly, we need to act together.
It’s time act on climate change and Step It Up this Recycle Week.
What can be done?
Do your bit by taking part in the Recycle Week Challenge. It's quick, easy and doesn't cost a penny.
- If you haven't got your recycling bins/box or you need more, speak to your local council.
- Go around each room in your house and make a list of all things you usually put in the general waste bin.
- Check whether any of the items on your list can be recycled. Most council websites have a list of household waste and recycling items.
Amber Valley: Household refuse and recycling
West Northamptonshire: Waste and recycling collections
Visit the Recycle Now webpage for information about what can be recycled: What to do with | Recycle Now
And check out this video for tips on recycling in all rooms around the home: Recycling around the home
More information on recycling
Recycling can be confusing. Some objects have recycling symbols while others don’t, and many are labelled in misleading or unclear ways. Others refer to the packaging but not the contents, leading things to be placed in the recycling, like nappies, that really shouldn’t.
Here are some simple tips for sorting your recycling at home:
- Collapse cardboard boxes and crush plastic bottles to make space in your recycling bin
- Ask your friends or neighbours how they recycle and see if you can try it too. Maybe you can set up a children’s clothes swap once they’ve grown out of them?
- If you have something that you’ve got no idea how to dispose of, you can refer to your local councils website or have a look at food and item sharing apps like Olio, Trash Nothing or Freecycle as well as Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree. What’s no longer useful to you could be a lifeline for someone else, especially in the case of old clothes, furniture or kitchen equipment Plus, they’ll probably come and collect, saving you a trip!
- Don’t try to do too much at once. Pick one manageable habit a month and see how it fits in with your routine - whether it’s rinsing empty jars, bringing empty shampoo bottles from the bathroom, or collecting batteries to take to a recycle point. Once you’ve integrated that in your routine, take the next step on your journey to being a recycling hero!
Check the Recycle Now website to find recycling information in your area and for useful guidance from recycling symbols to food recycling and more!
Sustainability is one of our key corporate plan objectives - find out more here.