I’ve always tried to recycle since I can remember. When I was about 10 I distinctly remember watching a BBC News round piece on waste, and they showed overflowing landfills in the US then cut to scenes of people eating in MacDonald’s showing the food that was wasted at the end. Watching that I remembered thinking what a waste! This may be coupled with my OCD too, the need to not waste things and save something for use later (not quite hoarding but maybe a pre-curser!), but in any case I became passionate about recycling.
I remember to my parent’s annoyance, collecting all of the plastic, cardboard and paper we were using and finding somewhere to put it all as there were no real initiatives or collections in our area in the early 90’s. So we would drive out to the scrap yard 10 miles away every other weekend, this was a lot of effort for my parents and my knack for guilt trips was the only thing that fuelled their co-operation!
So thinking about that period, and the current rate that the average person recycles, I wanted to look at why people don’t recycle and why they should.
Why don’t we recycle?
- Inconvenience – Everyone is busy, you get home from work, you go to the gym, pick up the kids, make something to eat, whatever it is people don’t see separating their rubbish as a priority. I guess it’s somewhat human nature to feel that if you can get away with solving something in an easier way – i.e. putting everything in the bin when you get back from work instead of separating the lot, that’s good enough.
- Lack of information/guidelines and calls to action – I work in marketing by day, and have to create information and display it in a way that is very easy to understand and gives opportunities for people to act on that information. With things like recycling I notice this information isn’t always that easy to access and follow. Sure there are initiatives and information sites like www.wrap.org.uk, and www.recycling-guide.org.uk – which is a good one, but most people don’t know about this information.
- No Incentives/Fines – some EU countries like Switzerland charge people 1 Euro per rubbish bag, whereas recycling is free. In the UK residents are supposed to be fined between £30-£110 for placing the wrong rubbish in the wrong bags, however this is rarely enforced.
- Good for the economy – if we create more products from recycled material instead of scratch, we save money on the energy required to create them. This reduces a company’s costs and allows them to grow and contribute more to the economy.
- Energy saved – links to the above point, less energy is needed as we are not creating new products from raw material, so this benefits not the just economy but all of us as this may help energy prices stay lower due to less demand.
- Reduces landfills – I used to have to drive past one of these and the smell reminded me of a visit to the Viking Museum in York as a kid, scarring! So less of these sites please.
- Helps the climate – we use less carbon the dispose of waste and manufacture new material, and as such as generate less greenhouse gas omissions.
Why we should:
So these are my thoughts on recycling and why we should care, I hope I didn’t come across too preachy! I just think a little extra effort from all of us can ensure that we leave our future little bambinos a not so bad, dare I say cleaner, healthier environment.
Written By Dave Fields
Visican – Recycled Mailing Tubes