There are three key factors when thinking about how to recycle…
Initially, you should want to attempt to reduce the amount of waste you produce in the first place, then if the amount of waste is too much, you should attempt to think of innovative and smart ways of reusing what you are thinking of throwing out, then finally if there are no new ways of using the product then you will have to recycle it, this is where the product is broken down and the material is redistributed. This is an easy concept to understand, but when putting it into action, the difficulties quickly mount up.
Now that mobile phones have become the main way we make and distribute images, the need for every day consumer cameras have dwindles in recent years. If you have a working camera that isn’t being used you can sell it on eBay, donate it to your local charity shop, or if you are feeling particularly eco-friendly swap it for other items on sustainability apps such as Swapabee which allows you to swap your items for other peoples unused ones. If your camera no longer works than it can be recycled the same way any other piece of electronic equipment needs to be disposed of, by taking it to your local recycling centre. The metal components inside can be reused and the internal batteries disposed of safely. Although electronic devices may be the most difficult to get rid of, if warmed up, toxic chemicals are released into the air damaging the atmosphere so it’s really important these items are disposed of correctly. Also when e-waste is thrown into landfills their toxic materials seep into groundwater, affecting both land and sea animals.
A particularly reusable material that we take for granted is glass. Because glass can withstand high temperatures, it is easy to sterilise and reuse, perhaps you can start jam making and filling up all your empty jars with delicious self-made jam if you are a little bit lazier like me and lucky enough to have a local bulk food store nearby, empty jars and bottles can be used to store your bulk-bought food securely and compactly.
Something that has become particularly fashionable in recent years is the idea of ‘zero waste’. The definition of this new trend is that “Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practice to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.”
In terms of a zero-waste lifestyle, it is one where you try to minimise your impact on the environment by avoiding single-use items such as plastics, reusing and repairing items rather than replacing and buying items secondhand. Although zero waste advocates have received ridicule in the past, more and more people are converting to their way of thinking, as the damage to the environment becomes more intense and we begin to realise the practical ramifications of what we are doing to the planet, more and more people will think of the zero waste lifestyle as the only way we can move forward in the modern world.
This article is in association with SWAPABEE. An environmental app company that allows anyone to swap their items for other ones. Create an account and start swapping today at https://swapabee.co.uk/.