Someone recycling a glass bottle at a bottle bank

Why recycling is important

We talk a lot about waste and recycling on our blog, and we wanted to go back to basics this month and talk about why recycling is important.

With recycling being such a common occurrence nowadays, it sometimes feels like the reason behind it has been lost over time.

So, in this blog post, we’ll take a look at the reasons behind us all separating our recyclables from our general waste.

If you don’t currently recycle and want to know why you should, this is certainly the perfect read for you too!

What are the benefits of recycling?

There are four massive benefits to recycling your household and commercial waste.

Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill

A bulldozer on a landfill site

Recycling involves reprocessing waste into new products, which results in less waste being sent to landfill.

There are over 500 landfill sites in the UK, and each produces a high amount of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

There are other issues related to landfill sites, too, such as leachate — water that has passed through the waste and carries toxins from it into the ground and any nearby streams and rivers.

Leachate has to be monitored for decades after a landfill site has become inactive.

If recyclable products are sent to landfill, it is a waste of natural resources, which is why it’s so crucial to recycle all recyclables.

Recycling conserves the earth’s resources

When waste is recycled and reprocessed into new products, this reduces the amount of raw material that needs to be mined or otherwise removed from the earth.

For example, every time you place a glass bottle in a recycling bin, that bottle is 100% recycled into a brand new glass bottle or other glass product — meaning no new glass needs to be manufactured for that new product.

The earth’s resources aren’t infinite, so they need to be preserved, especially in a world with a growing population and a growing demand for such resources.

Recycling reduces environmental harm

Continuing on from the last point, the process of extracting raw materials can be bad for the environment — methods of extraction include mining and logging.

Animal habitats can also be affected by these actions.

After extraction comes the transportation and processing of materials, and these actions also do further harm via pollution.

So, several harmful steps are being missed out in the production process when old materials are reused, making recycling a much more environmentally-friendly option.

Recycling reduces energy use

The processing and transportation of raw materials and new products uses a lot of energy which is, therefore, drastically reduced through the use of recycled materials in the production process.

Why recycling plastic is important

A man recycling a plastic bottle in a wheelie bin

You must recycle as much plastic as possible because:

  • It can be recycled and, therefore, should be.
  • Doing so preserves natural resources.
  • Doing so reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Doing so reduces the amount of waste being sent to landfill.
  • Plastic tends to be single-use.
  • Making virgin plastic uses a lot of resources, creates pollution and contributes to global warming.

Why recycling glass is important

It would be best if you recycled all glass because:

  • It can be recycled and, therefore, should be.
  • Doing so preserves natural resources.
  • Doing so reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Doing so reduces the amount of waste being sent to landfill.
  • Glass can be 100% recycled.
  • Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to power a television for 1 ½ hours.

Why recycling paper is important

It’s important to recycle paper because:

  • It can be recycled and, therefore, should be.
  • Doing so preserves natural resources.
  • Doing so reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Doing so reduces the amount of waste being sent to landfill.
  • Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees.

Why recycling metals is important

aluminium cans

It’s crucial to recycle as much metal as you can because:

  • It can be recycled and, therefore, should be.
  • Doing so preserves natural resources.
  • Doing so reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Doing so reduces the amount of waste being sent to landfill.
  • Aluminium cans and tins can be 100% recycled.

If you’d like to know the differences between recycling and upcycling, you can find out more in our blog post here.