Your small actions can help create a healthy more sustainable place to live and being in the loop can even save you money. Reducing how much you buy, choosing more sustainable products or shopping pre-loved can lead to big savings.
The loop, AKA the circular economy, is about reducing waste. Recycling is a really important element of the loop. We need to get the full potential of materials before we destroy them and make something new from scratch. Repairing things and using things to the maximum is going to save you money.
This blog busts common myths around recycling and reuse.
My actions won’t make a difference – False
The average Greater Manchester resident throws away half a tonne of waste every year. We each also produce around 13 tonnes of C02 and greenhouse gasses each year, double the world average.
Only 48% of our waste is recycled, meaning we’re throwing away millions of tonnes of recyclable things every year. This wastes resources and means having to spend huge amounts of energy re-mining for materials we could have reused, further eating into dwindling natural resources.
Running out of resources isn’t something I need to worry about in my lifetime – False
If we continue as we are, fossil fuels could run out by 2060. Lithium, the element used in batteries could be totally used up in 17 years. Electric vehicles are a fantastic way to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used, but lithium is a vital component in electric vehicle batteries.
If the UK recycled all of the single use vapes we currently throw away, in 1 year we’d have enough lithium for 1200 electric vehicle batteries.
Reusable products are more expensive – False
Read our blog on how sustainable swaps can save your family £1670 a year. [link to 6 sustainable swaps blog]
Sustainable and reusable products are built to last. They are slightly more expensive due to the quality, but when you factor only having to pay once instead of every week, the savings quickly add up. If you switched to reusable kitchen roll, you could save £245 in a year. As well as benefiting your pocket, you’re helping to reduce the amount of rubbish we produce and reduce the amount of materials taken from the earth.
A recycling symbol on packaging automatically means I can recycle it – False
There are loads of different versions of recycling symbols on packaging and it can be confusing.
This is the most common symbol you’ll see and it’s designed to encourage people to recycle. However, each local authority recycles differently, so it’s important to check (https://recycleforgreatermanchester.com/what-do-i-do-with/) if you can put the packaging into your household recycling bins, if it needs to be taken to the recycling centre, or if it needs to go in general waste.
The Green Dot shows the company making the packaging has paid money towards a recycling scheme. It doesn’t mean that the packaging can be recycled or is made from recycled materials.
This symbol is found on electrical items and shows that they can’t be put into your general waste bin. Electrical items need to be disposed of at your local recycling centre so the precious metals inside can be reused. You can also check if you can return electricals to the store you bought it from for recycling. Electrical waste causes fires and by not recycling, we lose precious resources that could have been turned into new devices.
We urgently need to change from our current system of buying things and throwing them away. Reducing the amount of stuff we use and keeping precious resources in use as long as possible, before recycling them fully, is vital to combat climate change and resource scarcity.