With global warming becoming an ever increasing threat to our planet it is imperative that every single one of us do our part to preserve the environment for future generations.
Recycling is a simple but important way to reduce pollution caused by waste. Recycling conserves natural resources, preserves the rainforests, saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions which all serve to help tackle climate change.
While many of us are recycling to some degree there are important ways to improve your recycling habits to ensure that you have the most effective impact possible.
The Global Recycling Foundation has released the following list of ways to improve our recycling practices:
- Use less plastic
One of the easiest ways to use less plastic includes having a personal zero-tolerance policy on plastic straws, bottles, grocery bags, cups and containers. Where using plastic is unavoidable it is important to educate yourself on where to find your local recycling depots and to learn about which types of plastic can and can’t be recycled.
- Help friends with recycling
It is important to lead by example when it comes to recycling and encourage friends and family about best practices when doing so. Show others how easy it can be, make them aware of the benefits and show them that every little bit counts.
- Repair and reuse old items
We need to break our habits of compulsive consumerism and repair and reuse old items instead of perpetually and unnecessarily buying new products. When it comes to mending and reusing old items you should also consider the benefits of upcycling. Items that you can save from the trash and potentially use many times over and give new life to include items such as clothing, various containers, toys and old furniture.
- Only put clean, dry items in the recycling bin
Plastic, metal and glass items need to be empty and rinsed clean in order to be recycled. Similarly, you need to ensure that all paper products are clean and dry. It is important to be sure that all of your recyclables are empty, clean and dry so that they don’t contaminate any other materials during the recycling process.
- Stay up to date and constantly increase your knowledge on best recycling practices
To be an effective eco-warrior it is important to increase your knowledge by doing your own research online and sharing that knowledge with friends, family and your local community. Check with schools in your area whether they have recycling programs and offer to help them get started if they don’t.
- Learn about what you can and can’t recycle
It is important to know that recycling isn’t just about paper, plastic and metal. There are many other materials that can be recycled such as electronics, rechargeable batteries, and polystyrene. You may need to research which depots accept these types of items so that you can be sure that they don’t end up in the nearest landfill.
- Recycle packaging
Wherever possible try to avoid buying items with unnecessary packaging as many plastic packaging items may not be recyclable at all. Packaging is one of the leading contributors to environmental waste and even though it is sometimes an essential part of modern life, packaging should always be recycled where possible.
It is also vital that we teach our children about recycling and sustainability so that we leave a lasting legacy that boosts future generations’ desire and intention to take action on climate change.
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