While many people may believe recycling is a relatively new concept, recycling has actually been done in varying degrees throughout history. Your parents probably recycled or re-purposed countless items during the course of their lives, as did their parents and their parents before them, and so on and so forth throughout the centuries.
I’m sure you even recycle to one degree or another. For some people, recycling is an every day thing. It simply comes naturally to them. They make themselves aware of what can and can’t be recycled and do their very best to ensure recyclables are handled appropriately. Others even take it a step further to limit how many single-use or non-recyclable products they buy. Even if you just toss your bottle in a recycling bin instead of the trash or gather up old newspapers for recycling, you are doing something to help the environment.
As recycling plays such an important role in the sustainability of our planet and its resources, the Bureau of International Recycling has decided to make a day to further raise awareness about the need to recycle and reuse materials on a continual basis. In fact, the first annual Global Recycling Day is being held on Sunday, March 18th, 2018 and it’s aim is “to drive awareness and action around the urgent need to recycle more effectively around the world, to assure the future of our planet.”
Recycling Facts and Figures
Although you may have a basic understanding of why we should be doing more recycling on this planet, you might not be familiar with some of the facts and figures. Did you know plastic materials can take up to 500 years to decompose when left in a landfill? Did you know over 100 billion plastic bags are used by American consumers on a yearly basis? Did you know close to 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in the ocean each year? Did you know many of the items you throw away on a daily basis can actually be recycled?
What Global Changes Need to Be Made
While it’s true recycling is an action both you and I need to do (and I’ll cover some steps you can take), global changes will also need to be made if we are really going to make a difference. This is why it’s important for the world to come together to raise awareness and take action so individuals, companies, cities, states, governments and countries begin to recognize recyclables as a resource we can use instead of just another waste product.
According to the website for Global Recycling Day, these are the seven changes that’ll need to take place:
“1. Focus on international legislation and agreements.
“2. Support, and campaign for, free sustainable trade of recyclable materials to ecologically sound companies across the globe.
“3. Educate, from grass roots up, the public on the critical necessity of recycling.
“4. Agree to a common language of recycling.
“5. To make recycling a community issue, supporting schemes and initiatives which help households and businesses provide Seventh Resource materials for repurposing.
“6. Work with the industry to encourage ‘design for recycling’ in the repurposing of materials – reducing waste, integrating ‘end-of-life’ planning at design stage.
“7. Support innovation, research and initiatives that foster better recycling practices and technology.”
Providing we can ban together to bring these changes about, the “Seventh Resource” aka recyclables, will become a true resource for our planet. Renewables and recyclables could potentially move to the forefront as resources for energy, manufacturing and so much more.
Recycling: What You Can Do Starting Right Now
The first step you can take right here and now is to sign the petition in support of recycling. Once you’ve done that, take some time to educate yourself about companies, manufacturers and brands using recyclables in their products. Spread the word and get others to do the same. You can do this via social media or in person. Word of mouth and grass roots efforts go a long way. Next, get yourself a recycling bin. Sort your “trash” into what you can recycle, what is compost and what is trash. If you are unsure of what items can be recycled, Earth911 has a recycling guide you can use.
Recycle isn’t just a word people use. It is actually an important part of our world. We must recycle and find more ways to reuse and re-purpose our materials and goods. The planet depends on us to do so. So, on Sunday, make a pledge to yourself to live a more sustainable life…starting with incorporating recycling into your daily routine.