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A global recycling day poster with the earth in one corner and people recycling in the opposite corner
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Global Recycling Day

Every year on March 18th, people around the world come together to celebrate Global Recycling Day. It’s a day dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of recycling and inspiring positive actions to protect our planet. Recycling isn’t just about sorting waste into bins; it’s a crucial step towards building a sustainable future for generations to come.

The Importance of Recycling

Recycling plays a vital role in conserving our planet’s resources and reducing environmental pollution. By reusing materials like paper, plastic, glass, and metal, we can significantly decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators. This not only conserves valuable natural resources but also helps in mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with resource extraction and manufacturing processes.

Recycling also helps to preserve habitats and biodiversity by reducing the need for extracting raw materials through mining, logging, and other environmentally destructive practices. It also saves energy – recycling aluminium, for example, requires significantly less energy than producing new aluminium from raw materials.

Three bins labelled compost, waste and recycle
Recycling cans saves up to 95% of the energy needed to make new cans from raw material.

The Global Recycling Crisis

While recycling offers numerous environmental benefits, it’s not without its challenges. One of the biggest issues is contamination. When non-recyclable items are mixed with recyclable materials, it contaminates the entire batch, making it more difficult and expensive to process. This underscores the importance of proper waste management practices, including education about what can and cannot be recycled.

Another challenge is the lack of infrastructure and investment in recycling facilities in many parts of the world. Without proper facilities and support, recycling efforts can be hindered, leading to more waste being disposed of in landfills. According to a survey in 2019, globally only 9% of plastic waste is recycled while 22% is mismanaged.

In addition to contamination and lack of infrastructure, there is limited education and awareness about how to recycle properly. Many people are unaware of the importance of proper recycling practices or are unsure of what items can be recycled.

Individual Actions, Collective Impact

It’s essential to remember that every person’s action counts. Whether it’s separating recyclables from household waste, choosing products with minimal packaging, or supporting businesses that prioritize sustainability, each choice we make contributes to the larger effort of conserving resources and protecting the environment.

Communities, businesses, and governments also have a crucial role to play in advancing recycling initiatives. Investing in infrastructure, implementing effective recycling programs, and promoting sustainable consumption practices are essential steps towards building a better economy where resources are reused, repurposed, and recycled to their fullest potential.

Two girls standing next to each other smiling behind a yellow background.
We should not stop implementing ways to save the environment on global recycling day but remind ourselves and others of ways we can reduce our ecological footprint.

Here are a few tips you can do to help you recycle better!

On Global Recycling Day, we are reminded of the power of collective action in addressing environmental challenges. Recycling is not only a task – it’s a mindset and a commitment to preserving our planet for future generations. As individuals, businesses, and communities, we have a responsibility to prioritise sustainable practices and advocate for policies that promote recycling and waste reduction. By celebrating this day, we can inspire positive change and move closer to creating a world where resources are valued, waste is minimised, and the environment thrives. Let us continue to celebrate and support recycling efforts every day, knowing that our actions today will shape the world we leave behind for tomorrow.

Have you also read these articles?

10 Ways To Be More Sustainable As a Student

10 Tips for a Zero Waste lifestyle 

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