Recycling is an important step towards maintaining an eco-friendly lifestyle. By carefully choosing what we consume, caring about how it is packaged and appreciating the nature of its disposal we can promote a positive attitude toward climate change.
Although we try to keep track of our carbon footprint the constant build-up of packaging and single use products continues to cause problems. Recycling household waste can often be a handful and at times appear to be a daunting prospect. With careful sorting and access to the proper facilities, clearing a home of recyclable waste is easier than it seems.
You can take your waste to a local recycling facility or take advantage of the household collection service. Organic waste can of course be composted at home but we don’t all have the space for it. Some councils do provide a green waste collection service and it is possible to take it to local recycling centres.
Local recycling facilities are generally administered in three ways: there are bring banks, local council amenity sites and regional recycling centres.
Bring banks are standalone collection points for domestic recyclable materials. They will take separated glass bottles and steel and aluminium food and drink cans. They are normally located alongside local congregation points including local shops and supermarkets, petrol stations and community centres. You will find clothes banks here, often provided by charities and community groups who recycle to raise funds. Bring banks are free to use.
Civic amenity sites do the same job as the bring banks only on a much larger scale. They will take the same bottle and cans along with a complete range of plastic containers. Paper and cardboard are sent for recycling from here if you have decided not to compost. Batteries, fridges, freezers and other electrical items are collected here to be decommissioned and disposed of without polluting or contaminating the environment. Bulky domestic waste and furniture is accepted while catering and engine waste oils are collected for recycling.
Kerbside collection of recyclable waste is administered by your local waste collection service provider, the general waste pickup normally alternates with this green bin collection. Recyclable materials include plastic and glass containers, drink and food tins, paper products including newspapers, magazines, and cardboard. There is usually no need to separate the waste, this is done at the waste processing facility. Some authorities operate a separate bin collection for organic waste and will often have a dedicated ‘brown bin’ collection round.
Composting is possible with much of our waste and can significantly reduce the amount we send for recycling, with an economic benefit to us and the environment. Organic material like kitchen and garden waste will break down using a compost bin, making valuable compost and soil conditioner in about 4 to 6 months. If you don’t have the space for composting use your brown bin collection. This compostable material is processed naturally, distributed for use on local authority gardening and landscaping projects and, in some regions, made available for sale to the public.
The management of household waste is something that many of us have taken for granted for a long time without being aware of the consequences to our changing environment. If we can avoid sending our cast-off materials to landfill or prevent it being shipped overseas to be disposed of then we can really make a difference to the challenges facing the natural world.