We recycle because it matters – and can help us solve some of our biggest environmental problems, including the damage caused by the over-use of plastics.
So this year we’re highlighting the small steps we can all take to reduce our use of plastics and be kinder to the environment.
Here are our top tips for the battle against single use plastic during Recycle Week:
- Say no to plastic straws – when you’re ordering a drink from a café or restaurant, think about whether you really need a straw.
- Bring a reusable bag with you when you go shopping – whether you’re at the supermarket or on a shopping spree make sure you bring your ‘bag for life.’
- Ditch plastic sandwich bags and pack your lunch in reusable containers. There‘s also glass lidded containers if you want to be even more eco-friendly.
- Choose cardboard and paper bags over plastic packaging when you can. Cardboard can be more easily recycled and, unlike plastic, will biodegrade over time.
- Carry a reusable water bottle. A single person using a reusable water bottle can save as many as 170 plastic bottles being produced each year.
Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhood said: “Plastic is everywhere in modern life, so it’s very difficult to avoid altogether. However some single-use plastic items are unnecessary and some very simple changes of habit can help us reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment. Reducing our use of plastics, as well as recycling whenever we can means we can all make a difference during Recycle Week.
“And if you’re feeling inspired to do more during Recycle Week, why not take the three item challenge? The next time you go for a walk, take a bag and pick up at least three plastic bottles – or any discarded cans or bottles – to take home and recycle.”
Why Recycling Matters
Recycling can really make a difference by conserving the earth’s vital resources and reducing the amount of waste ending up in landfill; that’s why the theme of this year’s Recycle Week is ‘We do, because it matters.’
So what’s stopping us all recycling even more? Here are some common myths that might be holding back our recycling efforts:
Myth 1: It takes more energy to recycle items than to make them from scratch
To make a new product from recycled materials takes less energy than using new raw materials. More energy is required to extract, refine, transport and process new raw materials, as opposed to making it from existing materials; meaning there are extra energy savings. To making a drinks can out of recycled aluminium saves up to 95% of the energy needed to make new cans from raw materials.
Myth 2: “I don’t recycle because it ends up in landfill anyway”
This could not be further from the truth! Your recycling is sorted into different material streams, i.e. plastics; paper/card; tins; cans and glass bottles/jars, this is done either at the kerbside or taken to a specialist facility and made into new products
Myth 3: “Washing my recycling uses up more energy, what a waste!”
Recycling can be quickly rinsed out with leftover washing up water, so no additional water is needed. Rinsing out your recycling removes food residue which prevents other recyclables such as paper becoming soiled.
Myth 4: Why can’t I recycle drinking and cooking glass, they are made of glass aren’t they?
Glass cookware, window glass, drinks glasses and light bulbs cannot be recycled as they are made from glass which has a different melting point and chemical composition and if recycled would break easily.
Myth 5: Why can’t kitchen paper and tissues be recycled?
Firstly, both products could harbour dirt (food, grease) and germs which could ruin an entire batch of recyclables. Secondly, many of these products have in fact been created from recycled paper so they have already been through the recycling process multiple times. Each time paper or tissues are recycled the fibres in the product get shorter. By the time the paper’s been restored as a tissue or napkin the fibres are too short to be used again.