With World Environment Day on our doorstep and the entire world in the midst of a pandemic that has everyone indoors safeguarding their health, we find ourselves with an opportune moment to consider the impact that we have on the environment and what we can do to protect it.
For almost 50 years, World Environment Day has served as a time for countries to raise awareness about vital causes and this year the focus is on biodiversity. This is a particularly noteworthy topic, given that we have never before been privy to such widespread awareness of our impact on the Earth. Previously, fewer people knew that our use of the planet had significantly changed 75% of the land surface, left two thirds of the oceans in a dire state, and reduced our wetlands to a mere 15%. But during the outbreak of Covid-19, social and traditional media has inundated us with the positive impact that staying indoors and halting industrial processes has had.
Much of the world has seen tangible evidence through the decreased air pollution, lowered greenhouse gas emissions, and cleaner beaches and rivers. It showed us how resilient the Earth is and collectively we breathed a sigh of relief. It seemed as though something good was coming from a situation so dire. However, there is more to this story and we need to be aware of the whole truth before we relax.
There are two sides to every story
In spite of these positive environmental effects, there has also been a negative impact on the waste industry that we need to be aware of. For starters, the almost global lockdown has resulted in major increases in organic household waste, medical waste, and single-use plastic and plastic bags. Additionally, the suspension of some recycling programmes has also severely impacted our waste industry, an effect that was exacerbated when reclaimers were unable to operate in South Africa due to the countrywide lockdown.
Reclaimers sort through waste to find and sell recyclable material and are estimated to collect a staggering 90% of our discarded packaging and paper. Without their integral work, there has been an increase in waste to landfill and a decrease in recyclable material to mills for the manufacturing of packaging for food and pharmaceutical industries, among others.
Says Michella Basel, Marketing and PR for Remade Recycling, “While it is encouraging to see how the planet is reviving itself, there are two sides to every coin. In addition to the human suffering brought about by the pandemic, it is these inadvertent negative impacts to the environment that we need to address so that our planet can continue to heal.”
Continuing an upward trajectory in our homes
We have the power to help the planet heal. Unfortunately, in spite of wanting to do the right thing and take responsibility for our consumption and recycling habits, it can be difficult to do so in a way that is sustainable. We can help you with this by giving you practical tips and advice on how to recycle in your home and office. In honour of World Environment Day, and particularly during these Covid-19 times while most of us are stuck indoors, it seems that the home is the best place to start.
After all, recycling is a powerful way to prevent pollution, save energy, and conserve natural resources – and it’s an activity that the whole family can participate in.
5 Tips to make recycling in your home and office easier during lockdown:
- Talk to your kids: Introduce the language and habits of doing the recycling from a young age and regularly point out what you’re doing whenever you recycle.
- Make it easy: Children (and adults) are more likely to do it if it’s convenient, so put fun marked recycling boxes in their bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.
- Be creative: Get your children invested in the process by decorating the recycling bins however they want, even if a bunny-robot-rainbow theme clashes with your décor.
- Strategic shopping: Shop at bulk stores or shops with refill models – and don’t forget your reusable bags (and your mask).
- Home deliveries: Home and office deliveries are on the rise, so don’t forget to recycle cardboard and brown paper packaging.
- White paper: This is recycled into tissue which is converted into a range of sanitary products, so make sure to recycle your white paper, whether it’s your kids’ used paper or office paper.
- Discarding disposables: Masks and gloves must be recycled through formal waste collection systems, rather than littering or leaving them in public places.
Each household has the power to join World Environment Day and do its part to close the loop on waste, create a more sustainable circular economy, and positively impact our environment. Together, we can make a real difference and restore our planet for future generations to enjoy.
Did you know?
Remade Recycling has a proven track record of providing a variety of customisable waste management solutions, including Onsite Waste Management, office recycling, event waste management, hazardous waste management, confidential shredding, site or office clear-outs, residential estate recycling and more.
Contact our office to arrange a free waste audit for your company