Britain lives on a huge mountain of rubbish.
In fact, our households produce about 25 million tonnes of waste every year, and less than half of this is recycled.
While this might sound like bad news, less than 15 years ago, there was hardly any recycling going on in Britain at all. Many families would take their empties to the bottle bank, but most rubbish would go into a single bin, and your rubbish would be sent to a landfill site.
A landfill site is just a big hole in the ground where rubbish is buried, and they’re a huge waste of valuable land, not to mention the reusable materials which are now buried forever.
Now, most homes, schools, shops and factories need to recycle as much as possible. In some parts of the country – such as Scotland – there are laws saying that businesses should recycle as much as they can.
Many homes now have more than one bin, where people are asked to separate their rubbish. This makes it easier for councils and waste companies to recycle your waste. Can you imagine how hard it would be if tins and bottles were mixed up with food waste and dirty nappies?
Your house might have as few as two bins and as many as five or six! For example:
General waste – for things that can’t be recycled
Paper and cardboard
Sometimes bins might be combined into one – some councils might collect paper, tins and bottles all in one bin. Others collect food and cardboard waste together as they compost well.
You can help your house recycle better by volunteering to take charge. Your parents will probably be pleased to let you take over! Make sure family put the right things in the right bins, and have them put out on the right day.
Another thing you can do is encourage people to waste less. Buy products at the supermarket that come with less packaging, or containers that are easy to recycle. Remind parents not to buy so much, so fewer things are wasted because they’ve gone off.
If you’ve got an elderly or less mobile neighbour that has trouble with recycling, offer to help.
Sometimes it pays to be a nuisance if it’s for a good cause!