There are many things that we use everyday that can and absolutely should be recycled and reused. This is a simple thing that we are all taught at a very young age in school or even before; yet it is also something that is often neglected in daily life. Convenience and laziness often heavily contribute to materials not being disposed of in the correct way, but if we each make a small change and are a little bit more vigilant with a few items, then we can make a big difference together. Next time you use something made of these three materials (or anything else for that matter), just take a few extra seconds and check how to dispose of them properly.
Aluminium is a widely used and very malleable metal that is often found in food and drinks cans and containers. It can also be completely recycled and it is actually incredibly efficient to do so. In fact the process of recycling existing aluminium into new cans and anything else is around 95% more efficient than producing new aluminium. So throwing that can in the correct bin is a fantastic move for the environment.
The vast majority of plastics in circulation these days are recyclable and they have to indicate this on the packaging. This means that it is easy for you to identify how to dispose of your plastics and recycling the ones that can be reused mean that the ever increasing amounts of single use plastic aren’t being added to. Additionally, plastic that can be recycled is incredibly versatile; it is able to be combined and formed into nearly anything depending on its original composition. So using the right disposal method for your plastic can contribute to making anything from new mobile phones to a recycled poly mat for camping.
Recycling paper is a victory on two fronts. Firstly you are saving trees from being cut down and processed into new paper and secondly you are saving water from the manufacturing process. For every tonne of paper that we recycle seventeen trees are left standing; this again has a double benefit as the extra trees help to keep our air clean and recycling paper produces around 95% less air pollution on average. That same tonne of paper we recycled to save seventeen trees also helps to save 7000 gallons of water as the process of recycling the paper can reuse water and generally requires less. All of these benefits and the process is still 60% more energy efficient than making new paper.
So regardless of which of these major materials you contribute to the recycling of (and it really should be all of them!) it will clearly contribute to making a huge impact. Just one of the benefits from recycling discussed here is huge, but combining them and making simple changes to enforce them will make an ever increasingly significant difference.