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Why should we recycle?

Our planet has finite resources, so it makes sense to use them carefully – reducing waste, reusing things where we can and recycling whenever reuse isn’t possible.

In the UK, we generate 177million tonnes of waste every year in England alone (source: DEFRA 2013 – contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0). It’s a lot of rubbish, and sending it to landfill is bad for the environment for many reasons.

Let’s imagine a plastic bottle is thrown in the bin. Here’s what happens:

  • The energy that went into creating that bottle in the first place is wasted.
  • More energy and raw materials must be used to create another bottle – after all, we always need bottles.
  • The bottle takes up space in a landfill site, which can create water pollution and greenhouse gases.
  • If the bottle is incinerated, it will contribute to air pollution.

Though it takes some energy to recycle a bottle, it’s substantially less. What’s more, pollution through landfill or incineration is avoided too.

Recycling is great, but it’s even better to reduce and reuse. This is a more holistic approach – buy only what you need then use it mindfully to reduce your impact from the outset. A more conscious approach can save you £££s too.

There are many useful ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ websites full of ideas, tips and suggestions to help you.

Some useful sites include:

Reduce, reuse and recycle for kids:

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