Many people feel that recycling doesn’t make much of a difference, and continue to throw things in the bin that could otherwise be recycled. Although not everything can be recycled, preventing the amount of waste sent to landfill is crucial to reducing our impact on the environment.
The average household in the UK produces more than a tonne of waste every year, throwing more than 6 trees worth of paper in their household bin in a single year, contributing to a nationwide total of more than 100 million tonnes of waste.
Conserving Natural Resources
The world’s natural resources are finite, and humanity is using them at an alarming rate. Many products today use an obscene amount of packaging, particularly due to the high demand for courier and parcel delivery all over the world, and this doesn’t look like it will be slowing down any time soon.
Paper, Card & Wood
To create paper, card, cardboard & wood it takes trees. Cut down on your consumption and recycle when you can to prevent more ecosystems being destroyed than necessary.
Plastic is made from hydrocarbons which are usually derived from crude oil, natural gas or coal. The vast majority of plastics used in everyday products are created from synthetic materials, meaning they are both harmful to produce and slow to degrade.
Make a conscious choice to switch to ‘biobased’ plastics. These can be made from renewable products such as carbohydrates, starch, vegetable fats and oils, bacteria and other biological substances.
Although they can still contribute to deforestation, the impact of biobased plastics that biodegrade quicker than synthetic plastics means that less waste goes to landfill, less plastic clogs up the oceans and causes damage to habitats and wildlife.
Mining operations to extract new metals are one of the most destructive to landscapes and wildlife, no to mention the emissions produced during the smelting of ores into useful metals. Limit environmental damage instead by recycling metals that can be reformed into something new.
Raw materials like sand, although a main feature of the Sahara, is not an abundant material in the UK and we need to import much of it to create glass here. Glass produced from recycled methods reduces related air pollution by 20% and related water pollution by up to 50%. Space in landfills is also freed up by recycling glass.
Batteries & Electronics
A United Nations study reported that only 20% of e-waste was recycled in 2016. E-waste includes discarded electronic appliances such as mobile phones, computers, televisions batteries and even larger household appliances. Often e-waste contains toxic substances such as lead and cadmium, which when disposed of irresponsibly can seep into the soil and enter the food chain, having a knock-on effect for all life.
A report published by Friends Of The Earth calculated that 50,000 new jobs could be created by 2025 if the UK can reach the target of recycling 70% of its total household waste. An ambitious project with the rate currently at 45%.
30,000 jobs would be created directly due to new recycling plants and sorting facilities, and another 20,000 would be created as a knock-on effect of the new supply chains of the recycling process.
Reduce The Amount Of Landfill
There are over 1,500 landfill sites in the UK, and in 2001, the decomposition of waste in these sites produced a quarter of the UK’s emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and you reduce the amount of methane gas given off into the environment.
Use a Food Waste Bin
Every year, about 7 million tonnes of food waste is thrown away in the UK, and most of it could have been eaten. This gradually adds up over time, with the average family throwing away £700 in food shopping in a one year period. Lots of wood waste is unavoidable, and things like peelings, cores and bones are an inevitable by-product of some of our favourite dishes.
Separating out waste can help the decomposition process, as the necessary organisms required to break down food and organic waste struggle to thrive in conditions created by landfill sites. Instead, methane is given off, which is highly flammable and a contributor to global warming.
Many councils already do offer food collection in the UK, but it is a good idea to keep your own method of food compost if not, and this can help to reduce methane produced by landfill sites, increase the space in your black bin, and can also help you to be more conscious of the amount of food you are throwing away.
If you run a business, you will understand that anything you require to be disposed of in landfill costs you money. Separating out your rubbish can help to save you money in the long term. A food waste bin and recycling bins at your business will be a visual indicator of the types of waste being used, it can help to make people aware of their behaviours and work to reduce their waste.
In the food industry, having a food waste bin can help to understand what’s being thrown away, work to reduce waste accordingly and therefore increase profit margins.
As environmental issues have become more prevalent, governments are now beginning to increase new measures to help tackle the mounting climate concerns. Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious and are shaping the way we shop by seeking businesses that offer a more sustainable approach. Becoming more environmentally friendly through recycling and green initiatives is a potential marketing opportunity to help your business connect with those consumers with a conscience.
In the UK, precious green belts and luscious countryside views are some of the most beautiful things about living here. The more space used for landfill, the less areas that will be available for housing and nature parks. Habitats are destroyed to make way for more landfill sites, whereas recycling will reduce both the environmental impact of creating new materials and of the landfill space needed to break them down at the end of their product life.
Less Waste Shipped Abroad
Much of the UK’s harmful waste is disposed of abroad, which saves costs and space in the UK but causes a harmful build-up of waste abroad. Almost two-thirds of plastic waste in the UK is sent overseas to be recycled, but much of it may actually end up in landfill. Companies such as China, Malaysia, Singapore and Turkey import millions of tonnes of waste from countries such as the US, the UK, Canada, Saudia Arabia and Australia. The UK doesn’t have the infrastructure to recycle all of its own waste, so it sells plastic to be recycled abroad. Often waste is sent abroad under the false pretences of it being ‘used goods’ however much of it non-functional and will be sent to landfill.
TV’s, mobile phones and computers are being replaced more quickly every year, the lifeline of products is shortening and people are discarding old electronics at an alarming rate, resulting in increasing amounts of electronic waste year on year. According to the European Environment Agency, between 250,000 tonnes and 1.3 million tonnes of used electrical products are shipped out of the EU every year, mostly to West Africa and Asia. But due to less stringent environmental restrictions, much of the waste is disposed of in inefficient conditions, harming the health of local people and consequently damaging the environment.
Brewsters: Responsible Business Waste Management
We strive to ensure that as little waste as possible pollutes the environment in landfill, as per our zero-landfill policy. We are committed to preserving the natural environment as part of our commercial waste services for customers around London. With many clients in all different sectors, from construction companies, individual tradesmen, retail outlets, hospitality and more, we offer first-class waste management and full compliance. Get in touch today if you require our commercial waste services in London.