Global Recycling Day falls on March 18 every year. It's a recycling initiative that encourages us to look at our rubbish in a new light and aims to promote the vitality of recycling across the globe.
The science is clear. The world is in a state of climate emergency and we need to make sustainability part of our day-to-day lives. The effects of human-caused global warming happening now, are irreversible on the timescale of people alive today and will only worsen in the future. According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, the Earth is now about 1.1 °C warmer than it was in the late 1800s.
We’re a hugely consumer-driven society and recycling converts the things we throw away into new items, making sure that none of the energy and raw materials used to make them go to waste. It also prevents air and ground pollution, and the release of greenhouse gases that occurs from dumping waste on landfill sites.
There are several ways to recycle that allows some materials to be reused multiple times. Newspapers, plastic water bottles, soda cans, cereal boxes, and milk cartons are some of the common everyday recyclable items. If we put effort into recycling items that we usually throw away, we can impact the earth and our lives in a more profound way.
You might think that dutifully putting your plastic bottles and aluminium cans in the recycling doesn’t make that much of a difference, but take it from us, it really does.
The Global Recycling Foundation is running the Recycling Heroes 2023 award, recognising individuals to business leaders, sole proprietors to multinational businesses, and towns and cities that have actively continued to recycle during one of the most challenging economic times in many years.
The top entries will each earn US $1,000 (£834), and their concepts will be shared internationally via social-media platforms associated with Global Recycling Day.
This year, the foundation is seeking inventiveness when it comes to recycling waste, and they'll be giving away an additional 10 prizes totalling US$250 (£208) to those who can come up with the most creative ways to reuse commonplace products. If waste is recycled into usable products like furniture, clothing, tableware, or building materials, it may be a powerful image, work of art, or concept for a new commercial use.
History of Global Recycling Day
Since becoming a United Nations recognised day in 2018, millions of people and businesses have joined hands to boost awareness about recycling through the Global Recycling Day initiatives. It’s almost impossible to miss the hundreds, if not thousands, of reports on the media about global warming and the negative results of our bad habits on the planet.
Annual reports estimate that the earth might not live to see the next decade if we don’t curb our litter. Natural resources are threatened as pollution closes in on climate change. The last decade was the warmest on record, which causes not only natural devastation, but an economical one as well.
The Global Recycling Foundation sets out the clear goals of Global Recycling Day. The foundation communicates directly with world leaders to combat the issue as a global team. Approximately 700 million tons of CO2 emissions were saved by recycling this year. This is set to increase to one billion tons by the year 2030. Many other people, organizations, and governments are directly endorsing the global green agenda, which helps facilitate higher recyclable numbers.
There's no place on our planet anymore for products that are used only briefly and thrown away. We need to ensure planned obsolescence is a thing of the past. It’s time for countries in the world to dramatically step-up recycling rates if we're to save this planet.
Erik Solheim, Former Head of UN Environment
We're passionate about the impact we have on the environment
At Domestic & General, we're committed to building a greener planet by keeping the household appliances we all rely on, reliable for longer. We repair millions of appliances every year and the more we repair, the less we send to landfill — in 2022 alone, we carried out over 2.4 million repairs.
Recycling is offered to our customers at either the point of sale or when their appliance is being fixed, but only 39% select 'Yes' for their appliance to be recycled — which suggests we still have a little bit more work to do when it comes to educating our customers on the importance of recycling.
That's why we've partnered with the Reuse Network who support reuse charities across the UK to help them alleviate poverty, reduce waste and tackle climate change by diverting millions of usable household items from landfill and into low-income households. Find out more about donating in your local area.
Last year, we also teamed up with onHand, who've helped us match our employees to high impact, local community volunteering opportunities through their app. onHand plant 1 tree for every first mission and every 10 thereafter — with 1294 missions completed as a whole, we've planted over 30,000 trees. That’s a lot of trees!
Our sponsorship of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 was a major milestone too, which has had a lasting effect on us. One of the 2022 Games’ mission was to create a carbon neutral legacy. The Games may be done and dusted, but the sustainable initiatives of the event will live on.
We hope this article has answered some of your burning recycling questions — happy recycling!