While most of us recycle, it is not in itself an answer to the effect our waste has on the environment.
While recycling is, of course, better than throwing things in the bin, it is much better to stop things from becoming rubbish in the first place.
Take plastic. The more it is melted down and reprocessed the weaker the plastic becomes, meaning that it eventually becomes a waste product anyway. It also uses a lot of energy in the recycling process.
So while recycling can help reduce the strain on our natural resources it should not in itself be considered the answer to our waste problems. That’s why it’s good to remember the three Rs; Reduce, (then) Reuse and (then) Recycle.
The three Rs formula sees recycling more as a last step in what you can do to minimise your effect on the environment, rather than a first step. If you can find ways around the need to recycle, you will be helping the environment more.
You can do this in many ways, from being more aware of the packaging your goods come in, to choosing reusable items rather than disposable ones. Here are some simple things you can to make a difference:
- Compost your food waste
- Use reusable containers
- Reuse, repair or renovate instead of buying new
- Recharge your batteries
- Stop junk mail
- Don’t leave lights on and use energy saving light bulbs
- Donate your unwanted items instead of throwing them away
- Insulate your home
- Use reusable shopping bags
- Buy CFC free products
- Buy in bulk, as it saves on packaging and money!
- Shop locally and buy local ingredients
- Walk or cycle when possible
- Use public transport
- Car pool
- Avoid taking unnecessarily short journeys in the car.
- Keep your car tires inflated, as it saves rubber and petrol!
- Recycle your engine oil