The amount of waste we create is staggering, and only a tiny percentage is recycled. It has to go somewhere.

That means either landfill or incineration, after all, where else can it go? In western countries we have a very sanitised view of waste management, but it is time to understand the scale and nature of the problem better.

The volume and weight of waste we are producing is incredible … millions and millions of tons every year. Much is plastic, most is unnecessary, some is toxic, and all is damaging in some way. We bury it, we burn it, we pile it up in enormous rotting, festering heaps. It poisons, litters, pollutes and costs our economies dearly.

Ideally we would all aspire to a zero-waste economy and lifestyle.

But we realise that, pragmatically, reducing our waste is going to take some time. We can all help as individual consumers, by adopting the mantra of the “three R’s” …

  • Reduce the amount we consume in the first place
  • Re-use everything as much as possible before discarding
  • Recycle material once it does reach end-of-life

This is known as the waste hierarchy and you can learn more about it at this link.

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