Recycling is converting waste materials, which would usually be thrown away, into new materials and objects. Recycling waste reduces the number of harmful materials produced and reduces energy usage, therefore benefitting the environment.

What are Recyclable Materials?

Not all materials can be recycled, but plenty of materials can and should be recycled. Recyclable materials include:

  • Plastic
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Cans
  • Batteries
  • Glass
  • Clothes
  • Electronics
  • Wood
  • Metal

If you are unsure whether you can recycle something, there is usually information on the packaging, or your local council should be able to let you know.

Why Should We Recycle?

Now you know a bit more about recycling, you might be wondering, ‘why should we recycle?’. There are lots of excellent reasons why we should recycle, including:

  • Recycling conserves resources – when we recycle our waste, it is turned into new things! So we don’t have to use more natural resources to make new products. Instead, we can use old recycled materials to create new products. So, for example, many water bottles are recycled, and you can get notebooks made of old tires!
  • Recycling saves energy – using recycled materials in manufacturing takes up much less energy than newly sourced materials.
  • Recycling helps to protect the environment – recycling means we don’t have to gather new, raw materials, which causes water and air pollution. Recycling also saves energy, which means it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which helps to combat climate change.
  • Recycling reduces landfill – everything you don’t recycle will end up in landfills. Some materials can take hundreds, if not thousands, of years to decompose. The more we recycle, the less material ends up in the landfill.
  • Recycling can reduce your carbon footprint – everything we do on this planet leaves a trace. So recycling can help reduce the damage we all do to the environment.

Recycling Facts

  • In the UK, we recycle around 80% of the paper.
  • Paper is one of the most recycled materials.
  • It only takes six days to turn old books, newspapers, and magazines into new ones.
  • The recycling paper takes 70% less energy than making new paper from raw materials.
  • It can take plastic up to 500 years to decompose.
  • 55% of plastic waste ends up in landfills and the ocean.
  • Not all plastics can be recycled, but many can.
  • Glass is 100% recyclable.
  • Once in a landfill, food waste can release methane, a greenhouse gas.
  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
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