Global Recycling Day was created in 2018 and is celebrated on the 18th of March each year. It’s a day to raise awareness on the importance of recycling, taking care of our planet and preserving the earth’s natural resources to create a better future.
The Global Recycling Foundation has set out the following aims this Global Recycling Day:
- To tell world leaders that recycling is simply too important not to be a global issue and that a common, joined-up approach to recycling is urgently needed.
- To ask people across the planet to think resource, not waste, when it comes to the goods around us – until this happens, we simply won’t award recycled goods the true value and repurpose they deserve.
Why is Recycling Important?
The actions of human beings have accelerated global temperatures over the past few decades, with worries around climate change growing. Through acts such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation, average worldwide temperatures have continued to increase year on year, with 2022 forecasted to continue the trend.
Recycling plays an integral part in the circular economy, helping to protect our natural resources. The current volume of waste we produce globally directly impacts the temperature of the world, and if we don’t increase our efforts to make a positive change, we will continue to see this rise. The United Nations (UN) has reminded us that temperature rise is not the only consequence. Instead, the ripple effect leads to droughts, lack of water, fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting ice, and what they have called a ‘declining biodiversity.’
Impact on our Oceans
The lack of global recycling efforts is also evident through the impact plastic pollution is having on the world’s oceans and marine life. Almost half of the global plastic production is intended for single-use plastics, and only 14% of plastic packaging is collected to be recycled. One of the most common causes of death for marine life is plastic consumption, with it estimated that plastic pollution causes approximately 100 million marine animal deaths per year.
The importance of global recycling to prevent such negative impacts has been recognised as a major player in the fight against climate change. The UN has acknowledged the importance of global recycling in their 17 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, which hopes to positively impact worldwide recycling efforts.
Movement in the Right Direction
The Global Recycling Foundation has reported they are already seeing individuals, governments and organisations taking action to support the ‘global green agenda.’
However, this Global Recycling Day, we all need to think about what we can do as individuals to reduce waste and recycle.
The ‘Seventh’ Resource
Six natural resources are imperative to our lives – water, air, natural gas, oil, coal and minerals. We rely on these resources for food, clothing, to power our homes and almost everything else that we need to survive. However, these resources are rapidly running out. The Food and Agriculture Organisation predicts that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in regions with very little water. In addition, in 2017 we used a year’s worth of these crucial resources in just 7 months. The Global Recycling Foundation believes the answer to our problem is recycling – the ‘Seventh Resource’. Through better implementation of recycling all across the globe, we can help to fight climate change, boost global employment and most importantly help save the planet’s most vital resources.
For further information, check out The Global Recycling Foundation’s ‘Recycling: The Seventh Resource Manifesto’
In an attempt to reduce global waste, national governments should also look towards policies geared towards boosting recycling and tackling plastic pollution. There are a host of arguments that support the idea of introducing reuse policies. For example, it’s suggested that half of the yearly global ocean plastic waste could be reduced by reusing 10-20% more plastic packaging. Reuse policy and legislation have not been fully integrated across the majority of countries as of yet, however, some are pioneering reuse strategies that will hopefully attract others to follow suit.
France is one of the first adopters of a reuse strategy. In 2020, the country set an anti-waste law that aims to reduce single-use plastic packaging to 0 by 2040. Additionally, Chile is way ahead of the game in the Americas, with the introduction of a law regulating the distribution of single-use plastics within food establishments. They instead want to encourage consumers to bring along reusable cups/bottles. The sooner more governments begin implementing reuse strategies, the better chance we have in the fight against climate change.
If we don’t take urgent action, it’s predicted that by 2030 the world is forecasted to produce 2.59 billion tonnes of waste annually, with this figure projected to increase to 3.40 billion tonnes by 2050. So, this Global Recycling Day let’s come together as individuals, businesses, countries and a global community to put the planet first.
For more information on Global Recycling Day 2022 and how you can help make a difference visit: Global Recycling Day