Why do we need to recycle?

Recycling is one of the easiest and best ways you can have a positive impact on the world we live in. It is important to both the natural environment and us. And we must act fast as the amount of waste we create is increasing all the time.

We’ve detailed some major reasons below, but recycling is better for the environment, is more sustainable and costs less than having to bury or burn our waste.

Recycling conserves natural resources

When we recycle, used materials are converted into new products, reducing the need to consume natural resources. If used materials are not recycled, new products are made by extracting fresh, raw material from the Earth, through mining and forestry.

Recycling paper saves trees and forests. Yes, new trees can be planted, but we cannot replace virgin rainforests or ancient woodlands once they are lost.

By recycling plastic there is less demand to produce new plastic, which is a good thing as it is usually made for fossil fuel hydrocarbons.

Recycling metals means there is less need for risky, expensive and damaging mining and extraction of new metal ores.

Recycling saves energy

Using recycled materials in the manufacturing process uses considerably less energy than that required for producing new products from raw materials – even when comparing all associated costs, like transport.

Plus, there are extra energy savings because more energy is required to extract, refine, transport and process raw materials ready for industry compared with providing industry-ready materials.

Recycling helps protect the environment

Recycling reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining and processing raw materials all of which create substantial air and water pollution.

As recycling saves energy it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which helps to tackle climate change. Current UK recycling is estimated to save more than 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year – the equivalent to taking 5 million cars off the road.

Recycling saves money

Sending rubbish to be buried in the ground or burnt in an incinerator, costs us more than sending it to be recycled. So, the more recycling we collect and the cleaner that recycling is, the less it costs our councils and ultimately, you, the taxpayer.

Did You Know

  • Recycling one drinks can could save enough energy to power a TV for four hours.
  • We currently save enough energy from recycling glass to chill 34 bottles of wine each day for every UK household!
  • If everyone recycled one more jar, it would save enough energy to put the dishwasher on in every household in the UK.
  • It takes 75% less energy to make a plastic bottle from recycled plastic compared with using ‘virgin’ materials.
  • The amount of card used over Christmas would wrap the Angel of the North 2 million times!
  • Composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually, or your washing machine produces in 3 months.
  • Extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints.