Today is Global Recycling Day! In our current situation while navigating the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, many of us have some extra time on our hands to learn new things, to reset and to slow down while we self-isolate or practice social distancing.
While we were going to write this guide anyways, with more people at home likely cooking more, we wanted to highlight the importance of not forgetting about sustainability if you can, and recycling plays an important role in that. We haven’t seen any reports of recycling authorities having to stop their operations, but alongside waste disposal there are measures you can take to minimise the spread of the virus through your waste. There is some important information about household waste here.
The theme of this year’s Global Recycling Day is #RecyclingHeroes, which recognises the people, places and activities that showcase what an important role recycling plays in contributing to an environmentally stable planet and a greener future which will benefit all. The process of collecting our waste and recycling can often be overlooked, but now more than ever it is time to appreciate the people and the systems that help us with waste disposal and recycling.
It can be incredibly confusing understanding what to recycle especially with mixed material packaging and limited information - not to mention the difference between boroughs or cities. In the UK, Recycle Now is an incredible resource to search what you can recycle and how to. You can type in your postcode to get detailed information here.
Alternatively, if you ever want more specific information, head to your local council’s website or write to them to ask questions.
To find out more about what can and can’t be recycled head here.
With so many of them out there, it is difficult to know what they mean, especially when there isn’t room on packaging to explain them. Recycle Now has an amazing breakdown of all of the symbols you might encounter. We would suggest printing them out and sticking them on your fridge or somewhere in the kitchen to make your life so much easier.
When clearing out clothes that you no longer want there are a couple of options you have.
- Give them to a local charity if the clothes are in sellable condition
- Take them to a clothes swap such as Stories Behind Things Big Clothes Switch
- Sell them online via sites such as eBay, Depop or Vestiaire Collective
- Revitalise them with help from The Restory
- Or book a collection with Traid, who hand sort textiles either for re-sale or recycling. The funds they raise in their shops are committed to global projects improving conditions and working practices in the textile industry.
Just as important, recycling or composting your food waste can drastically minimise your environmental impact. Any food waste sent to landfill isn’t able to harmlessly breakdown because the wrong conditions are present. The lack of oxygen in our critically full landfills means that food rots and releases methane – a harmful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Many councils offer food recycling collections but you can find out further information here.
We know there is lots to take in and we haven’t covered every single step but what we would suggest is taking things step by step. If you need any help at all, feel free to reach out to us and we will try and answer any questions or point you in the right direction. Each year recyclables save over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions and this is projected to increase to 1 billion tonnes by 2030. At Riley Studio we focus on using recycled materials and there is no doubt that recycling plays a hugely vital role in saving the future of our planet and achieving sustainability.