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Keeping it clean
/ Categories: Datashred News, April

Keeping it clean

Don’t make waste wasteful. Re-using and recycling are active contributions that the vast majority of us can get behind at home and at work.


Did you know that it takes around 95% less energy to recycle rather than use raw materials to manufacture a product and that steel and glass can be recycled again and again, without any loss of quality?

Aiming to re-use and recycle raw materials saves energy and resources and is just better for the Earth’s atmosphere (in all senses of the word).

At work and at home we can currently recycle many materials, including:
 

  • Food
  • Plastics
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Tin and aluminium
  • Glass
  • Clothing and textiles
  • Mobile phones, batteries and electrical items (WEEE)


Food

Can end up being composted and used as a great soil conditioner or is broken down through anaerobic digestion to become methane that, in turn, is collected and converted into biogas, which fuels vehicles, and generates electricity and heat.


Paper and cardboard

Quality paper that is not dirty in any way can be used to make quality, recycled paper. The fibre from pulped cardboard is invaluable in manufacturing further boxes for food and medical supplies, for instance – vital in current times.


Plastics

Much depends on the type of plastic, but many can be recycled, where they are shredded, washed, melted, pelletised and made into new plastic products. We use 20 times more plastic than we did 50 years ago and, as it originates from oil, it’s a good thing to reduce our use of its source material.


Glass

Crushed, coloured, melted and moulded, glass is 100% recyclable – although you should check that you are not mixing different types of glass in your box as they need to be processed differently.


All these constituents are really valuable recyclable materials, but there's a catch
 

What happens if you put Post-it notes in with a batch of print outs or foil-based gift wrap after a birthday or Christmas? Or how about accidentally chucking cheese out with its plastic wrapper?

What happens is that recycling box is contaminated, could end up contaminating the whole collection of a recycling vehicle and condemn the load to landfill, where the cheese will start to rot and give off methane, which goes straight into our atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. None of the paper will be recycled into new, meaning further trees will need to be cut down and processed, all costly in water, energy and CO2.

So, during this time that, for many, has increased focus on our domestic lives and community-minded actions, let’s not make our waste wasteful. Society and the planet can use raw materials again and again, with just a little more care on our part.
 

Five tips for reducing contamination in your recycling

  • Look out for recycling labels  on packaging to help identify whether it is recyclable or not 
  • Leave metal caps and lids on glass jars and bottles
  • Empty and rinse all containers
  • Don't forget to recycle items from all rooms in the house such as shampoo bottles from the bathroom
  • If in doubt, check on your local council’s recycling website.


For detailed information, take a look at www.recyclenow.com, and other recycling websites.

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