Recycling Week 2020: The Why, How and Where of Reuse Best Practice
It’s the 17th year of Recycle Week 21st September 2020 and the theme this year is ‘Thanking the nation: ‘Together – We Recycle’. As always, reducing our waste should be the priority to help keep our planet tidy, safe and here for many more millions of years to come and the efforts people have gone to during a pandemic is applaudable.
As a charity, we have a whole range of ways we promote reducing landfill and aim to recycle items that are no longer wanted, needed or useable. Whilst it’s great to see all the efforts to help our planet, what we’re even more thankful for is the stock that has allowed us to
Here’s our rundown on the why, how and where of recycling best practice to keep our stores stocked and the landfills empty.
It’s no hidden fact there we’re in a global crisis in regards to reducing the amount of waste and general ‘stuff’ that is disposed of across the world. The need to reduce the single-use items we come across every day is vital now more than ever to sustaining the planet’s resources, reducing the speed of climate change and protecting the many species that are at risk of extinction.
Although recycling is key for the items we can’t avoid on a daily basis, what really makes the difference is choosing reusable items instead. Often the process of recycling uses a lot of energy to transform an item from one thing to another, whereas choosing to buy, invest or fix what preloved items have saved landfill and energy to transform it.
Of course, the other option is to reduce our new purchases altogether. By thinking about how much we need items before choosing to purchase brand new items, we can make a huge difference to the planet. Weighing up the benefits of purchasing brand new furniture, clothing, computers, cars and more, you can actually save money as well as the environment if this is more of a ‘nice to have’ than an necessity.
Making the effort to change habits which may have been ingrained over years is tricky. It takes a little thought and effort to check items before chucking them in the rubbish. Although local councils are making it easier for people to divide their rubbish into the right bins, it is up to you to check the items can be recycled. Different types of plastics can be, and although it seems like stress, often the packaging does the hard work for you so it’s always worth seeing which bin it belongs in, habits don’t take that long to change and you’ll be in the swing of it in no time.
Top Tip: Have separate kitchen bins for your recycling to make it easier and quicker to transfer to the wheelie bin.
Of course, the preferred option to increase sustainability is to opt for no packaging at all. When shopping, take bags with you, even if its clothes shopping. Take water bottles to you don’t need to purchase bottled, and if you’re going somewhere that food may be scarce, then take a packed lunch with you to prevent buying convenience foods.
In terms of reusing your items, learn how to make do and mend. Whether it’s furniture that needs a bit of TLC, clothing that needs a button sewing or toys that need repairing finding someone to do this for you, or even giving it a go yourself will mean your items can be as good as new in less time that it takes the delivery of a new one.
There are many places you can go to recycle, not just your local tip. Whether it’s utilising recycling banks for high-quality items or simply recycling through changing the purpose of an item, there are many places to get information to support your sustainable journey.
You can also choose to support your local market by buying unpackaged fruit veg, bread and more. There are also many shops now that specialise in refillable basics including rice, pasta, cereals and even tea, coffee and cleaning products which often work out cheaper than buying the same pre-packaged items. Not only are you reusing packaging from previous items but also supporting local business, who at the current time, need support.
Finally, choosing to fix items that are broken or past their best vs replacing them will have a better impact on the environment. The next best thing to mending your own is buying second-hand and there’s an abundance of places to choose from including Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Depop and Shpock to name only a few. It’s easier than ever to get beautiful items for your home, garden, wardrobe or hobbies, it just takes a little patience to search and look through.
If we can try and find one positive in all the madness that has been 2020 so far, it’s the generosity of those who have donated their amazing items to us to help our shop and online sales. We have seen an incredible increase in the amount of stock generated from home clear-outs that will be supporting our shops for months to come; you’re all wonderful.