Despite still having room for improvement, as a nation our recycling habits are much advanced from where we were even just 20 years ago. From separating out card, glass, cans and certain plastics from our general waste and placing them in a recycling bin, we’re all helping to limit the amount of biodegradable materials sent to landfill.
The positive impact that wide-scale recycling has had on waste reduction is undeniable, yet we can all go even further in order to protect our planet: it’s time to start reducing.
What is Reduction?
When it comes to waste disposal, reduction is a simple concept. Simply by reducing the amount of waste we generate in the first place, we avoid the need for any waste disposal requirements – recycling or otherwise.
This means being more sensible with purchases, opting for alternatives to one-use-only materials and finding secondary roles for items we no longer need.
What are the Benefits of Waste Reduction?
Where recycling is the cure – the solution to the issue of what to do with our transferable waste – reduction is the prevention, avoiding the creation of that waste in the first place.
Reduction helps to lessen the reliance on recycling, and is the logical next step towards eradicating unnecessary waste in future generations.
Though a vital alternative to landfill, recycling still uses huge amounts of energy, both in the recycling process itself and in the transfer of recyclable materials from source to processing plant. Plastic, especially, can present an issue in terms of breaking down materials for reuse, as degradation of the molecules in certain plastics during the recycling procedure risk making the resulting products of lesser quality than their predecessors.
How can we Reduce?
Reuse is the key to reduction, and this begins with our shopping habits.
Opting for reusable items, including rechargeable batteries, using bags-for-life, buying all-purpose cleaning products (as opposed to several specific ones), and similar will help to eradicate waste, while some purchases are even available packaging-free, such as loose fruit and veg that hasn’t been packed into plastic bags.
Packaging that can be repurposed also contributes towards reduction efforts. For example, buying foodstuffs in bottles instead of cans creates a reusable item with countless applications, while larger boxes are ideal for storage and transporting possessions – particularly when moving house.
Remember – even if you can’t personally find another use for it, someone else might, so consider donating before throwing away.
Where reduction is simply not possible, recycling is still by far the best option in terms of limiting the amount of material sent to landfill, but making a few simple alterations to our daily purchasing habits and our mentality when it comes to reuse of items can really make a difference to the planet.
Hinton’s Waste offer first rate recycling services across the London and the South East, helping you or your business to reduce its carbon footprint in line with environmental policies. Get in touch to find out more.