The statistics show than less than one fifth of waste in the UK is recycled. As a result, the pressure on local landfills continues to grow due to the rising amounts of both domestic and industrial waste. If the rates of recycled waste in the UK will not improve over the following years, the country is at risk of turning into one big landfill. Things have started to improve on both state and local level, while the public is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of recycling as well.
There are many good reasons why recycling is becoming a lifestyle rather than just a responsible waste management. Separating, sorting and proper disposal of waste created by both industry and households dramatically reduce the pressure on landfills and the need for creation of new ones. Glass, plastic, electronics and a number of other non-biodegradable waste materials decompose extremely slowly, while some waste materials pose a risk of water and soil contamination. Waste incineration has not been shown an optimal solution for problem with waste pollution either because even the most advanced particle filtering technology cannot prevent emissions of gasses that increase the greenhouse effect.
Waste recycling does not solve waste management issues completely, however, it has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to fight waste pollution. For that reason many governments in Europe as well as elsewhere in the world have decided to force their population to more environmentally responsible behaviour such as compulsory recycling of industrial and domestic waste by legislation. Collection, reprocessing and reuse of recyclable materials do not only reduce the amount of waste and the pressure on landfills but also help reduce energy that is used for production of virgin materials. In addition, recycling actually reduces the amount of materials used as many recyclable materials can be reprocessed and reused a number of times, while some such as glass can be virtually reused indefinitely. Another great advantage of recycling is reduced pressure on non-renewable materials such as metals which are available in limited amounts, and creation of new jobs in the recycling industry.
By reducing the amount of waste and energy used for production of virgin materials, recycling makes the environment cleaner and healthier both directly and indirectly. Compulsory waste recycling has encouraged more environmentally responsible behaviour in wider population which in turn reduced the risk of soil and water contamination because fewer hazardous materials end up in ordinary waste bins. Sorting, cleaning and reprocessing of recyclable materials uses energy too, however, considerably less energy is used for recycling than production of virgin materials. As a result, recycling helps reduce the carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere since most energy is generated from fossil fuel burning which is the greatest contributor to the global climate change.
Everyone has to participate in the efforts to make the world a cleaner, healthier and friendlier place because everyone creates waste. Separating, sorting and properly disposing waste is the very least every citizen can do to contribute to the environmental conservation both locally and globally.