Before it became a trend -and what a positive trend it was-, recycling already existed. Who didn’t inherit some clothes from their younger siblings or bequeath some of their elders’ garments? Of course, in reality it’s all about reuse first, and recycling only in the case that those pieces have required alterations. But the idea is the same: not wasting and taking advantage of what we already have is a behavior that we all once had very internalized.
In a global view, it is impossible to talk about recycling without mentioning the first municipal garbage dump in Western history, which is due to the Greeks, who not only invented yogurt (joke, this food appeared first in Mesopotamia), but also dictated local laws, back in 500 BC, to dispose of waste at least one mile (1.6 km) outside the city walls. No doubt the Athenians thought twice before throwing anything in the garbage.
During the Victorian era, the first professional recyclers appeared in England, who were in charge of collecting the dust and ashes generated by domestic fires. It is estimated that in the 1850s the average amount of coal burned per household in London reached 11 tons per year. The great expansion of the city generated a great demand for coal ash by industry to generate bricks. In addition, the food and agricultural industry used these wastes as fertilizer for crops.
If we reduce the amount of waste we create or recycle it into new uses, we not only send less waste to landfills, but we also use fewer resources and less energy. But if we don’t address this pressing problem, the planet, the animals and even ourselves could be seriously compromised.
The earth naturally recycles all its resources and reuses materials from dead plants and animals to feed new plants and create new fertile soils. Humanity should follow Mother Nature’s example and do no less than that: recycle as much as we can. If we do not practice recycling and do not make it part of our daily lives, these are the consequences of what could happen:
The first consequence of not recycling is increased pollution. There are many different types of pollution ranging from Styrofoam that carries the ocean and water bottles that coexist with marine wildlife, to corrosive chemicals that spill into the soil and render it inert. The air is also polluted every time cars emit carbon dioxide, every time toxic substances are burned, or a company releases chemical gases.
The global study revealed that most of the garbage found in the sea corresponds to bottles, bags and single-use items. Experts are calling for greater control over the production of these products.
The global health crisis has forced the cessation of recycling in several countries in the region, causing environmental and social consequences. Eighty percent of recycled waste is collected by waste pickers.
Once marginalized and excluded from collecting recyclable materials from city streets, Bogotá’s recyclers are now constitutionally protected and are a model for other recyclers around the world.
Plastic food packaging, coffee cups and plastic cutlery will be banned in the EU from July 3, 2021, when the first phase of the European Green Pact regulation comes into force.
Several announcements from countries in the region attracted the attention of the international media during the first week of the climate change summit in Glasgow (UK).
Waste pickers synonymous
In developing countries, millions of recyclable material collectors take to the streets every day to recover waste and make a living for themselves and their families. In the case of Latin America,
Recycling is a physicochemical or mechanical process that consists of subjecting a material or product already used to a total or partial treatment cycle to obtain a raw material or a new product. One of the definitions of this action indicates that recycling is the process by which a material is repeatedly subjected to the same cycle in order to increase, expand and recover certain resources for reuse.
Through recycling, it is possible to recover materials such as paper, plastic, glass and metals, among others, which after a process of separation, collection and processing cease to be waste and are transformed into raw material to be manufactured. It is this action, which is transformed into a profession and work economy for grassroots recyclers, allowing the development of local economies, both individual and social for the generation of jobs and quantitative savings in the State administrations, in addition to its value impact on the environment.