21st – 27th of September
This year, we will thank the nation for continuing to recycle despite the challenges that COVID-19 has presented, under the banner ‘Together – We Recycle’.
The organisers, WRAP want Recycle Week 2020 to recognise the sacrifices that key workers and citizens have made to keep recycling going and create positive change in the world around us. Our recycling and waste key workers have heroically carried on collecting while the world slowed down around them.
Craig Stephens, Recycle Now campaign manager, said: “People are recycling more than ever, and our nation’s commitment to recycling has continued even during the most challenging of years”. Some local authorities are already claiming increases in tonnages during lockdown – with our increased reliance on online deliveries generating an increase in cardboard, for example.
WRAP said that last year’s event reached 16 million people on digital channels and 91% of people who saw the campaign said they recycled more than in the previous year.
Can we top this in 2020!?
What can we do to continue to make a difference and even cut down waste altogether?
Here, I will share with you the key to less waste! My top tips and hacks to reduce, reuse and recycle.
The 3 R’s are usually mentioned when we talk about how to be more environmentally friendly, how to be greener, how to be ecologically sound and how to live sustainably.
These are three factors you can apply to anything to minimise a harmful impact on the environment. So, let’s start with reduce.
To REDUCE we will need to stop impulse buying and think.
Here is a list of questions you can ask yourself to be a more conscious shopper
Do you need this?
This will give you a very good idea as to whether you should be buying the item, sometimes we buy things we do not need, but want, for fashion trends, status, a quick fix and sometimes just to spend money!
Could you borrow this item from a friend or family member?
A lot of the time someone close to you will have just what you need! Do not be embarrassed to ask around! You can very easily reduce waste, save money, and get what you need by borrowing it. Remember to share what you have that may be valuable to others.
Is this item sold in recyclable packaging or with little waste?
These days we are spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping, so when you are at the shops or buying online you could reduce waste by going for the option with recycled packaging or very little waste. By doing this you are supporting the brand that is showing you they are environmentally aware. I know that is a brand I would like to support!
Will this item last you a long time or will you need to buy it again in a couple of months?
How many times have you brought an item of clothing and just worn it once? While the figures are debated, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has calculated the fashion industry produces 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions every year, while it is estimated to use around 1.5 trillion litres of water annually. Meanwhile concerns have been rising about pollution, from chemical waste to microplasics.
The problems: fast fashion
Such as the £1 bikini sold by Missguided last year, if I was to sit and list all the damaging fast fashion trends like this one I would be here all day; I’m sure you don’t need me to.
What is fast fashion?
Inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.
You can invest in items that are made with organic sustainable materials that will last you, be kind to your skin and support the slow fashion brands.
What is Slow fashion?
It advocates for manufacturing with respect to people, environment and animals. As such, contrary to industrial fashion practices, slow fashion involves local artisans and the use of eco-friendly materials, with the goal of preserving crafts and the environment and, ultimately, provide value to both consumers and producers.
Does this item bring you joy?
Because your happiness matters!
By making a choice with the environment in mind you will be turning down the demand for the products that are damaging our planet and instead you will be supporting the wonderful ethical businesses that truly care!
How can you REUSE to live a zero-waste lifestyle?
- Buy reusable over disposable – treat yourself to a reusable cutlery set, cup or lunch box for at home, work and picnics.
- Never give up! Maintain and repair your belongings
- Multi-use products – When you are food shopping, choose food that is packaged in something that can be reused. I get excited buying jam just thinking or where I can reuse the jar! Or better yet, take your own produce bags and eliminate the use for packaging altogether.
- Washable cloths – you can save money and minimise waste by making the swap to reusable cotton pads, washable kitchen towels, face clothes, washable baby wipes and much more.
- Purchase refillable items, hand wash, natural cleaning products and beauty products.
By reusing you will reduce the amount of waste that will go to landfills and stop the need for the production process for new items. I find reusing the most satisfying of them all as you can get creative, share new ideas and know this ‘rubbish’ has a purpose if you put your mind to it.
The big one! RECYCLE – If you have no other use or home for it, recycle it.
- Buy recycled paper and print on both sides. When using paper in the office, print on both sides of the sheet and recycle the paper when you are finished. By recycling one ton of paper, you can save 17 trees, almost 7,000 gallons of water and more than three cubic yards of landfill space.
- Make recycling bins readily available. Make sure your home and office are outfitted with recycling bins for paper, plastic and metal. Keep them out in the open and label them appropriately. Sometimes the convenience factor is all that is needed.
- Look for the recycled option in all the products you buy. It’s not just paper that is recycled.
- Buy rechargeable batteries. It takes 1,000 regular batteries to equal the lifespan of one rechargeable battery. When you are discarding your batteries, recycle them.
- Recycle your morning coffee cup. Or better yet, buy a mug to avoid the waste caused by throwing away the paper or Styrofoam.
- Fit more in your recycling bin. You can achieve this by crushing plastic bottles and putting the lid back on (if the lid can be recycled), flat pack cardboard boxes and stack plastic tubs inside each other.
- Keep your recycling clean. liquids and grease can damage the materials and limit how the item can be recycled.
- Always check the labels! In some cases, packaging will have a film around it that is not recyclable, remove this layer and recycle the rest that is.
Overall my advice is, be conscious when making decisions and remember that your change will have a ripple effect on a huge movement and we in this together!
When looking for gifts take a read of our blog Kind and thoughtful vegan gifts.
I would love to see how you choose to get involved, lets connect on Social Media, with #RecycleWeek and tag us @mettalifeuk to make sure I don’t miss it! Let’s continue our efforts to make our planet beautiful!
Annie, Co-Founder of MettaLife x
A trustworthy vegan gifts marketplace, where you can discover vegan and ethical independent UK brands.