Think of all the things in the world that you can buy. Cans of juice, bottles of wine, magazines, mattresses, lamps, sofas, computers, printers, books, MP3 players, bikes, washing machines, tables, shoes, skis, video games, cars, CDs, soft toys and everything else including the kitchen sink.
What happens to all that stuff when it comes to the end of its life or you don’t want it any more? For years, most of it went into a rubbish bin and then buried in landfill. It’s most likely still there – everything from mattresses, sofas, chairs, toilets and kitchen sinks…
Now think about what it takes to make all that stuff. Raw materials are needed to make everything from plastic spoons to trucks. These have to be extracted from the earth – whether it’s minerals being mined (for metal), oil being drilled (for plastics and fuel) or timber being felled (for wood and paper). Extraction uses a lot of energy and water, and often causes grim environmental damage.
Then the raw materials get turned into stuff (using more energy and water), which we buy, which we then dispose of when we can’t use it anymore. But stop a minute. The raw materials are not available in infinite supplies. Eventually they’ll run out, some sooner than others, and that will be the end of making a lot of stuff.
That’s why waste isn’t something we should bury or burn. It still contains these raw materials that we need and we can use it make new stuff. That’s what reusing and recycling is all about. That’s why we should treat waste as a valuable resource.
The Community Resources Network Scotland and its members play a part in that. That’s what we’re all about.
Download our booklet, Community Recycling: managing resources, making a difference
The sooner we can recycle and reuse everything, consume far less than we do, and reduce our waste to zero, the better.