Did you know studies have found that at least 50% of the materials thrown away by a person could be recycled instead? So, what better way to celebrate Global Recycling Day than – you guessed it – recycling! A lot of us do what we can, when we can, but we can all do better – not just for our communities but for the world as a whole.
We all know recycling is good for the planet – but why exactly? Read on to learn seven reasons why you should make recycling a standard part of your life, so you can keep doing your bit the other 364 days of the year.
1. Conserves natural resources and saves energy
Natural resources have always existed: oil, gas, coal, metals and stone are the five main reserves we rely on to make food, fuel and raw materials. After centuries of careless depleting, scientists are warning that if we continue as we are we will run out of natural resources by 2060. Harvesting virgin materials uses up a lot of energy, but by reusing products instead of throwing them away, less energy is needed to extract, transport, and process materials to manufacture products – making recycling the ultimate solution to maintaining these finite resources.
2. Sustains ecosystems and wildlife
You’ve probably seen those heart-breaking photos of animals trapped or injured by rubbish: on a smaller scale, recycling helps wildlife by eliminating that risk. On a larger scale, it preserves natural habitats by reducing the need to expand landfills, mining, and drilling operations. As of 2022, there are 16,306 animal and plant species on the critically endangered list. Can you imagine a world without tigers or elephants? Neither can we. There were 23 species declared extinct last year; let’s work together to stop this trend from continuing.
3. Lessens demand for raw materials
We use plants, trees, animals, and mined materials to create products necessary for our survival. They may come in abundance, but they are not infinite. A throw-away culture means that we are taking from nature faster than can be replenished, but recycling raw materials like paper and plastic creates the same product of the same quality without harmfully extracting from the natural world – allowing it time to heal and recover at a more sustainable pace.
4. Protects against global warming
Climate scientists estimate we only have a seven-year window to keep the world’s global temperature under the critical threshold of 1.5°C. If it goes above this, the consequences would be catastrophic: food shortages, extreme weather, human displacement and plant and animal extinction. The real kicker is studies have found that 71% of global emissions are caused by only 100 corporations. One person making a change can feel impossible when presented with statistics like this, but it’s a proven fact that greenhouse emissions can be reduced by recycling – so you alone can in fact make a difference. In addition, reusing paper from your old books allows more trees to remain standing, where they can continue to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and repair the ozone layer.
5. Reduces landfill
The world is only so big: if we’re not careful, we’ll start to run out of locations to bury our synthetic waste. Landfills will start opening up near our homes, decreasing property value and increasing air pollution – not to mention the disgusting sight and smells a million tonnes of rubbish will bring. For example, if you were to throw away an old DVD, it would take thousands of years to decompose in a landfill, dissolving into microplastics and contaminating water sources – perhaps even causing disease. By recycling that DVD, it can be reused. Times this practise by all your recyclables and landfills have the chance to get smaller.
6. Saves you money
The consequences of not recycling hurt our wallets. For instance, if we completely stopped recycling aluminium, only the elite 1% could afford to buy a can of Coke! Recycling keeps labour and energy costs down, meaning our daily products can remain at a fair price. Quite a few supermarkets have implemented refill stations and package-free aisles to encourage shoppers to be more sustainable: it’s a lot cheaper to refill a shampoo bottle than buy it new. Plus, many coffee shops offer your drink cheaper if you bring your own mug. Have a look around to see if shops near you are offering these services and find out just how much you can save.
7. Safeguards your future
We all want to leave the world better than we found it – and recycling minimises our effect on the planet and develops sustainable practises for future generations. None of us want to suffer through natural disasters, food shortages, and the extinction of plant and animal species. Saving the world is a daunting task, but we all have our part to play – and making recycling a standard part of your life is not only doable, but essential in the preservation of our home.
Recycle with Zapper
Allow us to lend a hand on your recycling journey: if you have pre-loved items gathering dust, don’t throw them away – trade with Zapper! Depending on their resale value, we’ll either find them a new home or recycle them. Your old books could be made into cardboard, your old discs into packaging; if we reuse more items than we throw away, we can make positive change towards protecting planet Earth. So, download the app or visit our homepage today and do your part for this year’s Global Recycling Day.