What is recycling and why do we do it?

Recycling for many is ubiquitously tied to bin day. We do it not only because we have to, but because we know it plays a huge role in protecting our planet and keeping it green and clean. Recycling aims to limit the impact human activities have on the planet by finding new ways to manage rubbish and other items we no longer need. It seeks to create something new with discarded materials and as a result it reduces the amount of raw resources we rely on. 

The most famous and perhaps easiest to follow form of recycling is paper recycling, and many individuals and businesses now choose to write on and print their materials on fully recycled paper. However, as technologies get more digital, it is true that emails do help people reduce the amount of paper we use. How many times have you seen an email footer say ‘think before you print’? At Carbon, we definitely do!

What is the point of Global Recycling Day? 

Global Recycling Day is a global awareness day that seeks to promote rubbish under a new light. We are faced with trash every day of our lives. Because it is such an integral part of daily life, it can often go unnoticed. The 18th of March is a day for us all to reflect on what recycling is, why it matters, and how it can improve our lives. 

Recycling is, of course, great to promote because it is beneficial for the planet – and that is something we are on board with at Carbon! However, recycling, when done right, can save money, save time, and build a real sense of pride in neighbourhoods. We wanted to raise awareness, and share a bit of tips and tricks with you to help you recycle better.

The challenges 

That being said, it’s not always easy! Depending on where you live or work, the recycling policies you need to follow will be different than for others… It can be hugely confusing! No wonder so many people struggle. At Carbon Creative, we’ve had the chance to work on a wide range of behavioural-change campaigns for local authorities and charities, so we know that sometimes people want to do the right thing, but just don’t (yet!) have the right tools. That why we wanted to help this Global Recycling Day with some little tips. 

5 recycling tips from the team at Carbon… 

Reduce what you buy 

If you’re inspired by Global Recycling Day and want to improve your recycling habits, it can be demoralising to assess how much waste you are producing. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the problem and that’s where you should look at what recycling experts are doing. One of the easiest ways to become better at recycling is to reduce your overall consumption. It can be tricky, but it helps reduce the burden and worry of ‘Did I put this in the right bin?’ down considerably!

Prefer items with ‘naked’ or packaging

Toiletries and cleaning products are items we use everyday, and they often come in plastic containers that can be tricky to recycle. Many shops now offer ‘naked’ toiletries such as soaps or deodorants that can be used right off the shelf! For some products like liquid shampoo or washing liquid this isn’t practical. The packaging should tell you if it’s recycled or recyclable. The more people make the switch the more brands will notice. 

Read your local authority’s guidelines 

Sometimes it is actually better to simply bin products in your ‘black bin’ (or whatever colour your general waste bin is). This is because putting the wrong item in the wrong bin it could cause a huge contamination risk at the sorting facility. If you aren’t sure, you can also check out guidance on your council’s website. Salford Council have a useful list for you to check out. 

Repair things 

Next time you are thinking of getting rid of something, have a think: does this really need to go in the bin? Perhaps your favourite coat’s zipper broke and you’re thinking it might just be time to get a new one… It could also be a time to check out some YouTube sewing tutorials and learn a new skill. This will save plenty of money too. 

Donate items, support second-hand

Picture this: you are moving across the country and you have boxes of boxes of items to transport. You don’t have a car, and you’ll need to pay someone to take them to your new home. Perhaps it’s fine for a declutter. There are plenty of people, even perhaps your friends and family, who would love to take them! You could also donate them to charity shops but if you have a lot to give it’s always nice to give them a ring beforehand to check they have the resources to manage the donations.  

(P.S.: none of this content was recycled 😱)