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Friday 21 October 2016

The message is out. Recycling is essential

Published 14/10/2016 | 11:37

Every day in Ireland, we dispose of tonnes of rubbish, and the simple practice of reusing and recycling materials can make a marked difference. But are we doing enough? How can we do even more to improve our lives and save our natural resources? And anyway, what’s in it for us?

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Well a lot actually - Just one glass jar recycled saves enough energy to run a TV for 15 minutes. 650 aluminium cans can make a bicycle when recycled. 150 bottles can make a carpet mat.

Here are the top 6 ways that recycling makes the world a better place:

1) Don’t be a Hazard!

With so many electric light bulbs being used in Ireland. WEEE Ireland's Great Bulb Exchange, which offers a real flower bulb for a used electric light bulb, can make a difference
With so many electric light bulbs being used in Ireland. WEEE Ireland's Great Bulb Exchange, which offers a real flower bulb for a used electric light bulb, can make a difference

Products that we use on a daily basis are made of numerous complex materials in order to make them safe for use i.e. heat resistant or non-flammable, long lasting and energy efficient. Older products can even contain heavy metals such as mercury or lead and at the end of the products life it needs to be properly managed, through recycling, to ensure these components do not end up in our environment and are, instead, treated in an environmentally responsible way.  Thousands of fluorescent bulbs and lamps providing light to office buildings, restaurants, schools and shopping centres are discarded every year and should be recycled. Recycling fluorescent bulbs and lamps keeps mercury-containing products out of waste disposal streams and allows for the reuse of natural resources - a big step towards a sustainable world.

2) Get a Free Bulb For a Bulb!

It doesn’t get better than free flowers! The Great Bulb Exchange has been launched across Ireland for October.  WEEE Ireland wants people to recycle their CFL bulbs and lighting equipment through hardware stores and keep them out of landfill – and it’s all for free.  Anyone recycling their old energy saving bulbs will get free daffodil bulbs to brighten up their garden.  So get digging!

3) Stay Cool…Recycle

Fridges and freezers contain refrigerant gases that if released into the atmosphere contribute to global warming through a process known as the ‘greenhouse’ effect. When your fridge has cooled its last, recycling it through an authorised system ensures those gases don’t escape but are properly captured and treated instead.

4) Repair, Remake, Reimagine

Each Irish households produces around 1 tonne of waste every year.  By recycling and not generating waste, we can eliminate the need to handle, transport, treat and dispose of waste.  We also then avoid having to pay for these services.  Think before buying new or throwing away – can it be repaired or reused? October 2016 is Reuse month in Ireland and all around the country Local Authorities are encouraging everyone to take a reuse pledge and repair, remake & reimagine. So mend those shoes, fix that plug, replace that zip and save some pennies in the process. If you are not a DIY expert support your local repair business to do it for you.

5) Better Beaches and Healthier Marine Life

Marine litter is one of the clearest symbols of an economy that is inefficient with resources.  Waste materials are polluting our beaches and damaging the environment, rather than being recovered for use again.  Preventing beach litter through waste prevention is the way forward.  As the European Commission states: “Just because you can’t see it – doesn’t mean it isn’t there”

6) It’s a waste not to…

Recycling just one plastic bottle can save the same amount of energy needed to power a 60 watt lightbulb for 6 hours.  It takes about 25 recycled soft drink bottles to make one fleece.  On the other hand, every plastic bag thrown away stays buried in the ground for up to 500 years before it breaks down. Recycling recovers materials for use again that would otherwise end up in landfill, locked away for ever more. Recycling can limit raw material extraction - in fact recycling is also known as ‘Urban Mining’! Added bonus - if you recycle batteries with WEEE Ireland you also help raise funds for LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice. So dig deep and recycle rather than rubbish your waste.

Ireland is now achieving 60% recycling collection rates for household Waste Electrical and Electronic equipment (WEEE). Electrical appliances and batteries sold throughout Europe must be marked with the crossed out wheelie bin symbol which reminds consumers not to dispose of them in the general rubbish bin at the end of life, but to recycle them responsibly.

Be a bright spark today and recycle!  Visit bulbexchange.ie to find out more.


Sponsored by: WEEE

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