Every year, the United Kingdom generates at least 200 million tonnes of rubbish. This amount of waste consists of hazardous waste and household waste. Sadly, fly-tipping is on the rise.
These numbers can paint a grim picture of the UK’s waste management efforts. Garbage is piling up, and landfills may reach their capacity sometime in 2022. It is time for a new way to manage waste. Landfills and fly-tipping can no longer be the go-to solutions for managing waste.
You can play your part by choosing a better way to manage your household waste. While composting and mulching have gained a following, there is still the issue of what to do with non biodegradable waste.
This is where recycling comes in.
What Are The Effects Of Improper Waste Disposal?
Whenever possible, it is best to identify what items you can reuse or upcycle. This is because much of the household waste we have today cannot decompose quickly. When non-biodegradable waste is not recycled or disposed of properly, it can lead to more than just unsightly litter.
Buried or thrown on the ground, non-biodegradable waste can make the soil toxic or infertile. For example, styrofoam consists of a material called polystyrene. Polystyrene consists of four or more molecules of styrene. At very high temperatures, styrene becomes a potent neurotoxin that is harmful to plant life, wildlife, and people.
Throwing non-biodegradable waste into bodies of water do not help either. While it does leave space open on land, sea life bears the brunt of the non-biodegradable waste’s effects. Every year, there are documented cases of turtles, fish, and whales dying from eating large amounts of plastic waste.
What Are The Most Common Forms Of Household Waste In The UK?
As mentioned earlier, non-biodegradable waste can wreak havoc on the environment. In the United Kingdom, much of this type of waste comes from households. In 2018, household waste accounted for more than 28 million tonnes of the national total.
Here are the most common types of household waste in the UK:
One common type of household waste is glass. Unfortunately, one-fourth of all glass in the UK is not recycled and left in landfill sites across the country. With more than 100 metric tonnes left in landfills, the UK faces problems with soil pollution. Also, since glass production requires oil and gas, the country faces a problem with fuel.
Polystyrene And Rubber
Polystyrene and rubber are often in items like styrofoam containers and boots. Treated synthetically, these materials take as long as half a century to decompose. However, prior to full biodegradation, polystyrene and rubber create high levels of toxicity in soil and water.
Aluminum is a lightweight metal that is easily accessible and malleable. These characteristics make it ideal for cans, lighting fixtures and foil. However, it can take two centuries before it is fully decomposed. Although aluminum’s toxic effects are not well-known, it does take up a lot space in landfills and waste disposal stations.
Car batteries and regular dry cells contain high amounts of toxic materials. Among these are lithium, lead, mercury, and different types of acid. Collectively, these are toxic to the environment, regardless of where they are disposed of. Worse yet, these chemicals, especially cobalt, have been seen to cause numerous health problems in those who are exposed to it
Batteries can take 100 years to decompose, so recycling them or properly disposing of them is vital.
Parliament estimates that around five million tonnes of plastic appear as packaging containers each year. More than a fifth of this figure is used to either make plastic bottles or other forms of plastic packaging. Although recycling efforts have been encouraged by the UK government, more than 500,000 tonnes of plastic still occupy landfills.
The increasing disposal of plastic causes problems due to its slow decomposition. Along with other disposed materials like nappies, plastic takes 400 to 500 years to decompose.
How Does Recycling Help?
Recycling is a solution to the increasing amount of rubbish found in landfills and bodies of water. It allows materials to remain in use, instead of contributing to pollution. In addition, it is an eco-friendly alternative to other means of disposal like incineration or pyrolysis.
Most people are aware of the environmental benefits of recycling. Below are some of the other advantages of recycling:
Recycling Reduces Energy Requirements And Costs
Each time a particular material is in production, fuel sources are needed. For example, it can take roughly 15 million gallons of oil to manufacture 250,000 tonnes of glass. This much oil would no longer be necessary if more people recycled and reused glass.
Recycling Can Reduce The Usage Of Natural Resources For Production
Nowadays, natural resources are dwindling. Recycling leads to a reduction in the need to manufacture a specific material like rubber. With reduced manufacturing comes the preservation of natural resources.
Recycling becomes all the more critical for biodegradable materials, like wood and paper. If people recycle wood or paper, fewer trees need to be cut down.
Recycling Can Reduce The Accumulation Of Waste In Landfill Sites
At the time of writing, the United Kingdom has roughly 533 landfill sites. In 2019, the accumulation of household waste in landfills climbed by 4%. Nearly 46 million tonnes of waste made its way to landfills in that year.
The lion’s share of the waste was recyclable. This much rubbish would not have accumulated had recycling been the norm.
Recycling Can Help You Cut Costs Or Make Money
When you recycle, you may no longer need to buy new plastic packaging or tumblers. By reducing your purchase of containers, you will have more money left for more important expenses.
Besides, recycling can help you make some money. In the United Kingdom, there is a growing awareness of the need for recycling. This has resulted in many waste collection centres paying for recyclable rubbish like glass and bottles.
For instance, you can make about £20 for a tonne of assorted glass. Granted, this can be a lot of glass to store. Nonetheless, it may be enough to incentivise some people to collect used glass from the neighbours. Either way, the glass may not make its way to the landfill.
Why Skip Hires Can Help
Skip hire companies can dispose of your rubbish on your behalf. However, disposal onto landfills in the UK incurs a landfill tax.
In 1996, the UK Landfill Tax was introduced into law. According to this law, a certain amount of money is required to dispose of a tonne of waste into any landfill. Since its inception until 2013, the UK Landfill Tax Law had required firms and individuals to pay less than £10 for each tonne of rubbish. However, in 2014, Parliament increased the amount to £80 per tonne.
This puts skip hires in a situation where they would have to recycle or reuse most of the rubbish they collect. Otherwise, these companies may have to pay the UK government more for disposing of your waste into a landfill.
Skip hires then make sure that most of the rubbish they collect becomes recycled or reused.
Have Anything Worth Recycling? Call A Skip Hire Company.
Recycling can be helpful to everyone and the environment. However, like all things that can benefit others and the earth, recycling can also be quite tricky on your own.