Is your business focusing on recycling enough?

As the UK emerges from an extended lockdown, food waste management and recycling have once again taken precedence in business agendas. In fact, not only food but also glass, plastic, and metal need to be made a priority and put to good use if the right approach is taken.

Recycling has long been accepted as an essential part of waste management and doing our bit for the environment. However, even though recycling rates are on the rise in the UK, so is our population. One can also not deny the accelerated change in habits due to the pandemic.

Therefore, to fulfil growing demand, we produce more food and goods and consume natural resources faster than before.

However, despite best efforts, many businesses forget why separating recyclables from other kinds of waste matters so much. In this article, we attempt to refresh your memory about everything related to recycling:

Benefits of recycling

There are three main benefits to recycling waste, each with considerable impact on the environment:

1.
Natural resources conserved

Every year, the 4.5 million tonnes of food and drink wasted in the UK can easily fill 30 Royal Albert Halls. However, the wasted food can be put to better use through composting and soil enrichment and, more importantly, it can be converted into power through Anaerobic Digestion.

Similarly, sending paper, glass bottles, or tin cans in for recycling means that they can be processed and converted into new paper, bottles, and cans, which means that we do not need to manufacture new glass or paper.

Given that the earth’s resources are finite, we need to be careful about using only what is necessary so that future generations have enough, and recycling is a big part of this.

2.
Environmental harm reduced

The process of manufacturing new items, rather than recycling old ones, takes up a lot of energy. This cuts into our coal and oil reserves and leads to more pollutants being released in the process.

Even extracting new raw materials, such as cutting down trees for paper or mining for metals, is harmful to the environment and can adversely affect animal habitats in the vicinity.

Recycling is much more eco-friendly, and when focused on, can cost less too.

3.
Less waste sent to landfill

Over 500 landfill sites are currently operational in the UK, each producing large volumes of the greenhouse gas methane. In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest producer of CO2 after the USA and China.

Everything you need to know about recycling

Plus, water that flows through the landfill site carries toxins with it. This could leach into nearby ponds and rivers and poison the water for decades after the landfill site itself becomes inactive.

So the more you send waste for recycling into new products, the more methane gas emissions and water pollution you cut down on.

Main recyclables

Most recyclable waste is made out of glass, plastic, paper, or metal. Segregating these from your general waste helps conserve natural resources. There are time-tested processes to recycle these items that use up less energy and produce high-quality finished results.

1.
Glass

Your glass drink bottles, window panes, showpieces, and crockery can all be sent for recycling once you are done using them. Glass is 100% recyclable, which means no unwanted leftovers. In addition, it reduces air pollution by 20% and water pollution by 50%.

2.
Paper

With the increasing preference for using electronic pads and notebooks, less paper is being used anyway. However, paper and cardboard remain among the most wasted products, making it doubly important to recycle them. In addition, it reduces the air pollution that results from cutting down trees.

3.
Plastic

With the increasing preference for using electronic pads and notebooks, less paper is being used anyway. However, paper and cardboard remain among the most wasted products, making it doubly important to recycle them. In addition, it reduces the air pollution that results from cutting down trees.

4.
Metal

With the increasing preference for using electronic pads and notebooks, less paper is being used anyway. However, paper and cardboard remain among the most wasted products, making it doubly important to recycle them. In addition, it reduces the air pollution that results from cutting down trees.

Food waste — why recycling is a must

The primary rationale behind recycling the four products mentioned above is to reduce the usage of natural resources and the environmental impact of manufacturing and transporting new products. However, with food waste, it is slightly different. We recycle it mainly because it can be environmentally harmful on its own unless suitably processed. Here is why sending food waste for recycling is so important:

1. Recycling food waste through the anaerobic digestion process produces biogas that can generate green energy, which can be further used efficiently by establishments.

2. Separating food waste from other kinds of waste like glass, plastic, or paper ensures that the latter gets recycled more efficiently and more usable quantities are salvaged. This improves non-organic recycling, both in quality and quantity.

3. Processing food waste in designated factories avoids the problem of foul odours and is far less polluting than if it were to rot in landfills, producing methane. It also reduces the number of toxins leaching into groundwater and nearby water bodies.

4. Organic waste matter is converted into compost during the waste treatment process, which is an excellent fertiliser and helps maintain soil health.

5. Recycling means that less waste is sent for incineration, a highly polluting process that releases large volumes of smoke and carbon dioxide.

6. If you take the composting route, you can improve the structure and fertility of the degraded soil and minimise the deficiencies in the matter. Composted food waste can be used as an organic fertiliser for agricultural purposes, thus bringing down chemical-infused fertilisers. In addition, compost improves soil quality and boosts nutrient retention.

Over to you

If your business has not been recycling properly, now is the time to start. Of course, you would not reap the benefits of recycling overnight but in the long run, it will be worth it. Have you thought about our food waste Anaerobic Digestion systems to valorise your food waste and keep its value to yourself? Consult our food waste management experts today!

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