If the oceans die, we all die.
Experts estimate that 100 million metric tons of plastic debris will find their way into the ocean in the year 2020 alone. “Why do we recycle?” is a question with an obvious answer: to save humanity.
The oceans are more important to life than most people realize, and if you and I don’t start stepping up to the plate and playing our part in recycling, then we may not be alive for much longer.
Keep reading to find out more about why do we recycle and what you can do to reduce waste.
Why Do We Recycle?
According to the National Geographic, over 90 percent of all plastic that has been produced has not been recycled. Instead, it ends up in landfills where it can take up to 1000 years to decompose and in the oceans, where it’s expected to make around 700 species of marine animals go extinct.
Ocean life produces up to 50 percent of the oxygen we breathe. If we don’t start recycling to keep the plastic waste out of the ocean, we might reach a point where we’re no longer able to breathe.
It’s estimated that one billion people depend directly on fish to survive. Without this easily-accessible source of protein, these people would likely die, wiping out around 14 percent of the world’s population.
With these facts in mind, the answer to the question of why do we recycle becomes even more clear. If we want to survive, we need to keep plastic from polluting the oceans so we can all survive.
Waste Reduction Methods
In an ideal world, everyone would live a zero-waste lifestyle and nobody would have to ask the question “why do we recycle?”. Instead, it would simply be a way of life to not create waste of any kind.
Even if you can’t commit to that lifestyle, there are still plenty of things that you can do to recycle more and waste less.
Commit to It
The first thing you need to do is commit yourself to recycling. Make a goal for yourself and write it out if necessary. Writing out your goals will make it significantly more likely that you will accomplish them.
Bring in the people around you to help keep you accountable, and encourage them to follow your lead when it comes to recycling. Don’t be pushy, but give them the facts and answer them when they ask “why do we recycle?”
Take Baby Steps
It’s not going to be easy to jump into recycling, so take baby steps to reduce your overall waste output. If, for example, your family creates a big black plastic bag of trash every week, start by committing to only producing that much trash every two weeks.
You might even consider creating an ultimate list of how you will reduce waste in your home. Then, implement them one at a time. That way, it won’t be overwhelming for you.
Teach Your Kids to Recycle
If we want our planet to continue to thrive, we need to teach our kids to recycle. When a child believes in something, they believe in it wholeheartedly. They will latch onto this idea of recycling and make it part of their own lives. But more than that, they will encourage everyone else to do the same.
A considerable part of the current problem is that previous generations didn’t see the importance of recycling. They passed those ideologies onto the next generation, who continued throwing everything into the rubbage bin instead of recycling.
Use Cloth Nappies
Speaking of children, another item that takes up a large amount of space in our landfills are disposable nappies. In fact, there are an estimated 20 billion of them ending up in landfills every year. This addition of nappies to landfills is another reason why do we recycle.
Cloth nappies may require a bit more work, but they’ll save you money in the long run and are much safer to use on your baby since they don’t contain any of the harmful chemicals that may be in disposable nappies.
While you’re at it, use cloth wipes with a simple homemade wipe solution. It couldn’t be easier to toss these in the wash with your nappies. Then you don’t have to worry about the impact you’re having on the environment to keep your baby clean.
Buy Recycle Bins
The easiest way to start recycling is to buy a few bins that you can use to quickly and easily sort your recyclables. If you get them in a few different colors and print out pictures to show what goes where, this is a fun way to get your kids excited about recycling.
Having these bins will also provide you with more chances to talk to your kids about the importance of recycling when they see them and ask you about why do we recycle.
At the same time, you may consider down-grading your regular rubbish bin. This will encourage you to continue to reduce your waste since you won’t want to empty the bin that often.
Compost Food Waste
Food waste is something that should never end up in landfills. This is especially true if you are growing vegetables or flowers. Setting up a compost bin yourself is simple and straightforward. Filling it with waste from your kitchen is even easier.
One way to streamline food composting is to have a small bucket with a lid on your counter that you can toss food scraps into as you’re cooking. Then, after the dishes are done, take the bucket out and dump it in the main compost bin.
Soon, you’ll have high-quality compost that you can use on your plants. You’ll also have a really good answer to the question of “why do we recycle” when your flowers come up big and beautiful.
Before you throw something away, take a moment to determine whether or not it can be used for something else. Upcycling is taking something that you would normally throw away and finding a new use for it.
Whether it’s an art project, a creative gift, or something useful around your home, there are more than enough upcycling ideas out there so you can reuse more and toss less.
Upcycling shows exactly why do we recycle since it proves that sometimes, things that you thought were useless still have purpose.
Change Your Buying Habits
Around half of the plastic produced is used for single-use packaging, whether it’s water bottles or the plastic bags you take your groceries home in. Take a close look at your buying habits and you will quickly see how easy it is to reduce your waste in this area of your life.
One of the quickest and easiest changes you can make is to start using reusable grocery bags or ask for paper bags at the checkout. Reusable bags are great because they are larger and more tear-resistant than plastic bags. You can also wash them and they won’t end up in landfills or the ocean.
You may also consider switching to cloth produce bags. Most stores won’t have any problem with you bringing your own mesh cloth bags to bring your produce home. It will, however, give you a chance to tell people why do we recycle.
There are also a surprising number of commercial products that you might be able to make yourself, including things like toothpaste and shampoo. Although it’ll take a little work, making your own beauty and cleaning products is an easy way to reduce waste. It can also save you money.
Use Reusable Containers
It’s easier to toss your sandwich in a sandwich bag to take to work with you, but where does that plastic bag end up? Instead, get a washable plastic sandwich container when you can use again and again for your food.
Using one of these containers will do several things for you. First of all, you’ll save money by not having to buy plastic bags. Second of all, you won’t have to worry about your food getting crushed. And, most importantly, you can rest easy knowing that you’re not contributing to the global waste program.
Buy in Bulk
One way to skip packaging materials altogether is to buy food in bulk. Reducing waste is just one of the advantages of buying in bulk. This is a great way to bring reusable containers to fill with exactly what you need.
Most grocery stores will have a section for bulk foods. If not, consider finding a bulk food store in your area so you can see for yourself how buying in bulk can help you and the environment.
Cook with Whole Foods
If you really want to cut down on the amount of packaging waste you’re creating, then the best way to do that is to cook with whole foods.
When you start with fresh foods as a base for a meal, there’s no packaging involved. Plus, you can create much healthier meals since you know exactly what you’re putting into your food.
Cooking from scratch using whole foods may sound intimidating if you’re used to cooking from a box or can, but it’s not as difficult as you think. You may be surprised at how easy it really is to create amazing meals with whole foods.
The best part about cooking with whole foods may very well be the amount of trash that you end up not throwing away. Instead, you’ll fill up your compost bin with scraps that will eventually convert into dirt.
One food that’s easy to make is baby food. Rather than spend over twice as much money on a jar that’s filled with preservatives and extra things that your baby doesn’t need, save some money and help the environment by making your own.
Clean Up Your Environment
Whether you live near the shore or not, you can still do your part to clean up the environment. Keep a bag with you wherever you go so you can pick up trash that you see.
Plastic waste doesn’t just impact marine life. It’s also dangerous and often deadly to land animals as well. By doing your part to pick up trash that you see in the environment, you could be saving lives of animals.
An easy way to do this is by plogging, a trend started in Sweden that involves picking up trash while running. It has since spread to other countries as more people make a point to clean up their environment while out enjoying it.
If you have kids, this is a great way to get them involved in helping to keep the environment clean. And, when they ask you about why do we recycle, then you can point out that it’s to avoid the need to go around and pick up trash left by others.
Take Recycling to Work
Once you’ve made changes for the better in your personal and home lives, it’s time to start spreading the idea of recycling. Talk to your boss about some things that you would like to implement around the office to encourage recycling.
Recycling at work could be as simple as providing a box near the copy machine for people to throw paper waste into or adding a bin for recyclables next to the regular rubbish bin in the break room.
Stay strong and stick to your convictions as you try to implement these changes at work. Remember that not everybody understands how necessary recycling is for the world.
This commitment could pay off, however, as it can inspire others to begin recycling at home as well when your co-workers see how easy it is. It’s also a good chance to teach others about why do we recycle.
Invest in Environmental Projects
There are some people that have devoted their lives to cleaning the environment with some incredible inventions. But, they can’t do it all on their own, and they shouldn’t have to.
When you see a project that’s going to help the environment, consider helping to fund it. After all, it’s not the inventor or the company that you’re investing in; it’s your future and your children’s future.
Use Waste Management Services
We are dedicated to helping you recycle as much as possible. That’s why we offer waste management services that recycle paper, cardboard, glass, plastics, and more. It’s our way of doing our part to help the environment.
Our services are for both residential and commercial needs, so you can have us pick up your recycling at home or swing by your office to take care of everything for you. As we recycle around 99 percent of what is given to us, you can rest assured that we know why do we recycle.
So, Why Do We Recycle?
We recycle not just to save the environment, but to save ourselves and our children. You can get more recycling tips on our blog, or give us a call at 01277 636046 for a free skip quote.