It’s that day of the week again. For the last 7 days you’ve recovered some of your plastic bottles, metal cans and glass jars, ready for the recycling man to take away. In fact, each and every year we recycle or compost over 200 kg of waste per person in the EU. So clearly recycling is a large benefit, right? Wrong. Because recycling is not a benefit.
Recycling is the normal benchmark.
Or at least it needs to be. If we want to achieve a circular economy we should not see recycling as a benefit, we should not pat ourselves on the back for recycling, we should instead see it as normal, we should expect it. You see if recycling is a benefit and we dispose of a tin can then there isn’t a strong burden of guilt. We only missed out on a small reward, the little pat on the back. Furthermore, you can still recycle the next tin can to bring back your feel good factor. So disposing of that first can has now been forgotten and you’ve been forgiven.
So if recycling is not a benefit but rather the normal benchmark, where is the benefit?
Sustainable benefits in a circular economy
That tin can you threw away was the burden. We have become all too comfortable at throwing away our resources, at landfilling our precious materials, at disposing of our goods. Each year in the EU we landfill or incinerate 280 kg of “waste” per person. We are clearly a long way off a sustainable and circular economy. This needs to change, we simply have no choice. Disposal is therefore the burden and if you start to think like that then every time you reach for the bin you will start to feel a burden of guilt. But the recycling bin is sitting just over there and is entirely guilt free.
The road to a sustainable and circular economy
With the modest recycling rate and short lifecycle 95% of the original aluminium will be lost to landfill in less than a year. Not even a hint of sustainability, sustainable development or a circular economy. This is clearly unacceptable and illustrates why each and every aluminium can needs to be recycled.
- Walking to work reduces your carbon footprint? Wrong, driving yourself increases your carbon footprint burden
- Turning the tap off whilst brushing your teeth saves water? Wrong, leaving them on is a burden
- Eating vegetarian food is an environmental benefit? Wrong, eating meat is a burden
But in a circular economy disposal is a real burden.
Do you agree? What do you think of the circular economy? If you like this post please consider sharing it on social media using the buttons below, signing up to our Newsletter to receive future blogs by email, or following Craig on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.