If you are worried about pollution and climate change – and let’s face it, you should be – this article will make interesting reading. According to authoritative site gov.uk, UK statistics on waste as at March 2019 showed some improvements.
Provisionally, slightly more that 70% of UK packaging waste was either recycled or recovered. This compares to 71.4% in 2016, but it exceeds the EU target to recycle or recover at least 60% of packaging waste.
The UK recycling rate for Waste from Households (WfH) – stood at 45.7% in 2017, increasing from 45.2% in 2016. This included metal recovered and recycled within incinerator bottom ash (IBA). The EU target for the UK is to recycle at least 50%of household waste by 2020
The recycling rate for WfH increased throughout the Union in 2017. The rate for England was 45.2%, compared with 46.3% in Northern Ireland, 43.5% in Scotland and 57.6% in Wales. Northern Ireland saw a 3% increase in the recycling rate in 2017 compared to 2016. This was due to the introduction of mandatory food waste collection from April 2017
Biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) sent to landfill fell from approximately 7.8 million tons in 2016 (22% of the baseline 1995 value) to around 7.4 million tons in 2017 (21% of the baseline 1995 value). This means the UK is still on track to meet the EU target to restrict BMW landfill to 35% of the 1995 baseline by 2020
Waste and refuse are increasing exponentially at alarming rates every year. The bottom line is that households and business can no longer turn a blind eye. Many think that recycling is the best way forward, but there are other solutions. Upcycling can aid the fight against waste and pollution. Organisations should bear in mind that the two concepts are quite different.
In order to combat the ever-growing problem of waste, many organisations and households are buying into recycling. Proper endorsement of recycling has long been accepted practice in avoiding mountains of rubbish burdening already-full landfill sites.
Upcycling is an Option too
Upcycling is the process of transforming waste materials and discarded items into different, new products of higher environmental value. It offers another angle on waste and pollution control. Both recycling and upcycling have a place in waste management control. However, these two methods of waste control use distinctly different processes. Each feature their own benefits depending on the quantity and type of waste involved.
In recycling terms, the biggest waste stream in the UK is general waste. This comprises organic waste such as food, gardening or animal waste. Then there’s construction waste such as building rubble, sand or wood. Throw in other waste such as paper, glass, metal, plastic and electronic discards to get the fuller picture.
Different Ways to Assist Decreasing Waste
The tried and trusted option of recycling is now synonymous in controlling waste. The material converts into raw material for the manufacture of new products. For example, soft drink cans made from aluminium face melting down and are then used to create new cans.
Perhaps the key differentiator of recycling is the subjection of used products to a process to create the new version of the same thing. That said many know very little about the benefits upcycling brings to the party.
Upcycling: Better and Higher Environmental Value
When we choose the upcycling option, we are not breaking down the materials of waste products. Upcycling is taking items for refashioning using the same materials. Old tyres, for example, go towards making products like shoes, bags and even beds for dogs.
Both Recycling and Upcycling are Important for Planet Earth
Concisely, the difference between the two is that recycling involves a shredding, melting or compressing process in pursuit of creating new products, similar to the original discard. Upcycling is taking used and unwanted items and repurposing them to create different products.