In this blog, we describe what can and should be recycled. From milk bottles to electronics, you’ll be surprised by how much of your waste can actually be recycled!
Before you read on, here is a short video depicting the journey of 3 plastic bottles, one travels to a landfill, the second travels into the ocean and the third is recycled. We can all play a part in making sure that the packaging we use each day avoids going to landfills or into our oceans but rather that it is recycled!
Our hope is that our readers and their friends and family will realise that recycling is easier than it seems. Print out the infographic below and stick it on your fridge for easy reference, as your household embarks on a journey to recycle and help save the planet!
Although plastic can be recycled, it is important to note that only thick polymer code 1 (PET) plastic (e.g water bottles), cans and glass, can be recycled to the same quality. Even then, this only applies to hard thick PET’s like milk bottles, not thin plastic trays. Polymer codes 2 through 7 can only ever be DOWN cycled. These plastics cannot be recycled to make the same item, but will be used to make packaging of a reduced quality. Eventually the plastic will have been recycled too many times and will be disposed of. So if given the option, try not to buy plastic packaging (except thick PET plastics).
Some interesting facts:
- Waste is valuable and recycling has created many income opportunities.
- Certain waste types have a high calorific value (a large amount of heat is released when they burn) and these wastes can therefore be used as a source of energy (called refuse derived fuel) in cement kilns or to produce electricity.
- Recycling tins and cans saves about 95% of the energy needed to make a new can from iron ore.
- There is a huge demand for all steel scrap metals worldwide and South Africa exports up to 50% of the scrap metal that it recovers.
- Cardboard and paper are excellent materials for recycling. For every ton of paper recycled, 17 trees are saved, 40% less energy and 30% less water is needed to make paper.
- Most garages participate in oil recycling programmes. If you service your car at home, return the used oil to the garage or a recovery depot such as the ROSE Foundation, a non-profit organisation that collects, stores and recycles lubricating oil.
Don’t forget to keep following us to learn how and where to recycle in the final part of this three-part blog series.