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Have you ever wondered what happens to your recycling, after we do all that cleaning, sorting and trips outside to the bin, is it really all worth it?
So all those items we put into the recycle bin are taken to sorting stations where they are sorted and then sent away to recycling factories to use as raw materials for further production. But is recycling the answer to this massive problem of plastics that we have?
Based on the information shown on (makethemostofwaste.co.nz) by the Auckland Council, in 2018 Aucklanders sent around 230,000 tonnes of waste to landfills every year. Simply put, this number can significantly improve if we recycle better. New Zealand has traditionally exported the majority of its plastic waste abroad, mainly to China and parts of South-East Asia.
Yet, after China put a ban on plastic waste imports in 2018 (The National Sword Policy), the stockpile of waste has considerably increased here in New Zealand. Other markets have been open i: e; Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, but eventually these countries will also stop importing waste plastic.
Looking at the current state of our environment and the ocean, it is integral that we follow the three Rs for a sustainable system:
- Reduce – reduce the consumption of single-use plastics wherever possible and turn to alternative bio-degradable and organic options.
- Reuse – reuse plastic containers and bags whenever possible and try to inculcate this habit personally and amongst everyone around you.
- Recycle – recycling by responsibly disposing of waste and plastic items, which can, in turn, be used as raw material for further production.
Newshub in one of its articles published in January 2018 stated how Kiwis produce over 3.6kg of waste per person every day, which added up to a shocking 734kg per person annually. This stat indicated New Zealand to be 10th on the world’s most wasteful countries in the developed world (http://www.eco2greetings.com/c/most-wasteful-countries/).
Sad but true, and this is definitely not something we Kiwi’s want to be associated with, right? So, let’s take a stand against this ever-growing problem of plastic waste, and work together to save our one and only planet!
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