Picture the humble cardboard box, how many times has it helped you move house, clear out your car or acted as emergency storage for all those household bits and bobs that would otherwise be under the bed? It’s a great reusable and recyclable invention but all too often once we’ve used it, we throw it away.
Think back to the last item you received in the post, whether it was something that came in a cardboard box, a letter, large household item or something completely else, what did you do with its packaging? The term ‘packaging’ covers everything from bubble wrap and cardboard boxes to envelopes, polystyrene chips and brown parcel tape, chances are if you’ve sold anything on the internet or have ever received anything via home delivery, you’ve seen all of these items and more and you’ve more than likely ummed and aahed over what to do with it.
Packaging plays a huge role in today’s society, from food packaging and worldwide parcel delivery to online shopping and international shipping; we wouldn’t know what to do without it. And while companies are becoming more and more socially aware of their responsibility to reduce food and product packaging, less is being said about what to do with that enormous cardboard box and those endless pieces of polystyrene that your brand new shiny fridge arrived in – gloriously scratch free.
To put our dependence on packaging into context, around 10 million tonnes of packaging are used each year to protect all the goods that businesses and consumers purchase. While that sounds like (and is) a lot, approximately 60 per cent of these 10 million tonnes is recovered and either reused or recycled.
Overall, the numbers are looking good for package recycling – household packaging is responsible for only 3 per cent of all waste that ends up in landfill sites and the Government has set strict industry targets that will ensure that this number is translated into commercial and business packaging terms too.
Why should you recycle?
It’s simple really, think Slumdog Millionaire – if the scenes from this film weren’t a wake-up call to the horrors of human waste, what is? Living on waste sites and landfills could happen, we need to take responsibility for exactly where our waste materials end up, starting today.
Recycling isn’t an arduous, time consuming task – supermarkets, councils and the Government have made sure that most, if not all, of us in the UK have access to a local recycling centre and by recycling just one aluminium can at your local supermarket or recycling centre, you could save enough energy to power your television for three hours.