Global Recycling Day, created in 2018, is a day which focuses on bringing awareness to sustainable solutions and the importance of recycling. It highlights important topics such as plastic pollution, global warming, and sustainability. All of which need to be discussed as we are faced with a global warming crisis, and increasing pollution levels that endanger the earth and all its inhabitants – including us!
By 2050 the effects of climate change will be irreversible. However, its not too late to change. Solutions like recycling, although small, create a substantial difference. Slowing down the effects of global warming and pollution. Let’s find out more about how we can join the celebrations and make a difference to our planet.
Why is recycling important?
Recycling, reusing, and repurposing objects reduces the need for extracting materials from the earth.
Although you may not realize it, reusing that jar to store spices helps to reduce waste. By doing this you are preserving our environment as we don’t need as many materials, we’re using what we already have. Recycling saves energy and reduces gas emissions; ultimately helping to tackle climate change.
In 2017, the recycling rate for households in England was at 45.7%. Wales, however had the highest recycling rate at 57.6%. They were the only country to exceed the EU’s target to recycle at least 50% of waste from households by 2020. Unfortunately in 2020 the recycling rate for UK households was 44% which meant a decrease in recycling by 1.7% since 2017 which of course is 1.7% too much if we want to go in the direction of sustainability.
How can you Celebrate?
To be able to celebrate you first need to achieve something, so to make a difference on Global Recycling Day..
Firstly, just recycle! Recycling just five plastic bottles creates enough insulating fiber to fill a ski jacket! Cans, plastic, glass and paper are all widely known recyclable materials. However if you are not sure if something is recyclable, just check the packaging. Correct disposal of ‘waste’ is key in aiding recycling.
Secondly, wise up to consumerism to reduce the need to recycle in the first place. We have all fallen into the trap that has us buying things we don’t actually need; usually to fulfil an impulsive whim or a desire to have the same as our peers. Now, we’re not saying to stop shopping, however you can alter your buying habits to make conscious and sustainable purchases.
Buying from and donating to charity shops is a great option – one persons trash is another one’s treasure, right? Repurposing furniture or clothing, breathes life into your existing items whilst also reducing waste and recycling all at the same time!
Sustainability isn’t about doing it all at once. It’s about taking it step by step and incorporating it into your existing lifestyle, its stopping and thinking before throwing something out, or purchasing something new. It’s thinking and educating ourselves better to help save the earth and its resources.. which is what Global Recycling Day celebrates.
Since Global Recycling Day was first celebrated, it has always had a theme to focus on. This year the theme is: recycling heroes. Recycling heroes are people, places, or businesses and activities that have attempted to continue to make recycling efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ten winners will be chosen globally for a prize of $1000.
Ranjit Baxi, who is the Founding President commented ‘’We want to recognise Recycling Heroes for their outstanding contributions during these unprecedented times’’.
Recycling is projected to save over one billion tons of CO2 emissions by 2030. It has been and continues to be a key method in helping save the planet from environmental crisis. In addition to being a crucial factor in reducing our waste by seeing it as an opportunity instead.
Many businesses globally have recognized the environmental crises. They have begun to take leading roles in helping slow down the process and in reducing their carbon footprints. Implementing green agendas and recycling and/or reducing where possible. Global Recycling day’s website have been praising business who are making these efforts, and encouraging others to join in.
Adidas are leading by example and have began to create a ‘loophole product’ using recycled ocean plastics to produce their footwear. They also donate used goods to those in need and have their own ‘Take back’ program: taking undesired products and extracting the raw recyclable materials to make a new valuable source of sustainable material. With big brand names like this making the right choices, it makes buying sustainably, a lot easier than you may think!
The 7th Resource
Out of the resources on the earth we tend to view oil, coal, minerals, natural gas, air, and water as the most important 6. We use them every day, they represent the foundation for our existence. All our belongings, food, and sustenance come from these elements of the earth. We cannot survive without these and once they are gone, they are gone!
As we continue to carelessly use these up, we don’t tend to think about how they will be replaced. In comes the 7th resource: Recycling. An infinite solution to the problem surrounding our other 6 finite resources.
It saves 700 million tons of Co2 emissions and offsets all of the co2 emissions generated by the aviation industry annually, all whilst providing us with raw materials. This is why, global recycling day continues to push recycling to the forefront, and champion it as the crucial resource it is.
Recycling doesn’t just lower emissions; it creates jobs. Approximately 1.6 million people are employed worldwide due to recycling, their jobs consist of processing the recyclables. The annual contribution of recycling towards the global gross domestic product value is projected to exceed $400 billion over the next 10 years! $20 million dollars is invested annually by the industry into job creation alone. This helps to improve the efficiency of recycling and its environmental impact.
In the past 50 years humans have consumed more resources than in all previous history. Whether this is due to rising population rates or consumerism, consumption of these resources is on the up. Based on the study conducted by the Bureau of International Recycling, the 7th resource currently helps to supply 40% of the world’s raw material needs. Proving that the economy doesn’t have to suffer in our quest to be kinder to our planet.
You Better Recognise!
After everything we’ve learned about ‘global recycling day’ it may come as surprise that, its not recognised as an official United Nations Day.
The Bureau of International Recycling along with UNIDO have been trying to get it recognized since 2018. Ranjit S. Baxi, the Founding President of the Global Recycling Foundation stated. ‘We are delighted to be working with UNIDO in our efforts to have Global Recycling Day recognized as an official UN day. We are determined with UNIDO, to build on the momentum we’ve sparked since launching Global Recycling Day in March’.
Whilst they may not have made it official just yet… Given the obvious benefits of promoting a renewable resource, surely it soon will be! In the meantime you can show your support by using the hashtags: #globalrecyclingday #recyclingheroes.
It is all well and good knowing what recycling is and what it does, but how do we implement it? Global recycling day have a challenge to help you with that!
The 7 questions below are designed to challenge you to be more aware of your habits surrounding waste. To encourage you to stop and think, and guide you towards what more you can do to make a positive change this global recycling day.
Have a go, and if you’re not satisfied with your answers the global recycling day website has a host of resources available to help you along the way to becoming your own recycling hero!