What Motivates Recycling?
The benefits of recycling are sound and positive. They include reducing waste sent to landfills, safeguarding natural resources, reduced pollution and job creation.
Most people do try to recycle most of the time, but it really needs to be all of the people all the time! The Irish Environmental Protection Agency indicated in 2015 that a third of household waste is recycled, with Ireland ranked joint third in Europe for reducing the amount of rubbish going to landfill.
Recycling achievements over the last 20 years include
- 126 landfills in Ireland, reduced to 4
- 10 million tonnes of packaging diverted from landfill
- 8 billion plastic bottles recycled
- 7 billion glass bottles recycled
- 6 billion aluminium cans recycled
- 4 million tonnes of paper and cardboard
- Separate yearly collection of 8.6KG per person of WEEE from households.
Human are reward driven by nature and because the reward for recycling is not immediate and the repercussions are in the future many people develop a habit of total waste disposal. They don’t see the effects of climate change, global warming and environmental harm as affecting them in the present.
Barriers to Recycling
We need to look at potential and real barriers to recycling and take action to increase reduce, reuse and recycling participation in our homes and local communities.
Different areas, communities and people will face barriers to recycling with some requiring unique recycling solutions to overcome these barriers
The graph below lists the top reasons people said they don’t recycle more:
Source: Ipsos poll conducted 2011 (Published by the Huffington Post)
Practical solutions are important and can increase recycling participate rates, for example if recycling drop off initiatives are inconvenient for your areas could curb side collections be researched and introduced to improve recycling rates. This is a solution Recycle IT introduced a number of years ago.
Partnerships with shops, sometimes make convenient drop-off sites because people are already visiting them e.g. Charity shops.
Sometimes a charge puts a value on the service and people see the real cost to recycle.
Making educational materials available in communities can help eliminate confusion about what’s recyclable, what’s not and where!
Penalties for not recycling are especially effective at encouraging people to learn local recycling rules.
Reward or fun events can reinforce action. This can be as easy as well publicized information event about the tangible benefits of recycling participation for communities in recycling initiatives.
People don’t recycle because of sheer inconvenience. No recycling receptacles in the office can lead to a plastic bottle going in the general waste bin. Why not setup a recycling initiative in your office, take the bottle home or use a reusable bottle
Uncertainty. Many people are confused about which items can or can’t be recycled. Thinks about plastic yogurt pots or paper towel tubes? What do you do? Read more in an article by Conor Pope in the Irish Times
Don’t realise economic benefit. Did you know that organisation such as Recycle IT can create training opportunities and jobs based on recycling old electrical, electronic and pure metal items?
Electronic gadgets of all kinds can be incredibly useful and benefit all parts of our lives. The biggest downsides of electronics are that their components are toxic to the environment, and sometimes to us, once they’re just thrown away and left to leach into the earth. The best thing you can do is, slow down the purchase cycle, use gadgets for longer, offer for reuse and lastly recycle safely with an organisation like Recycle IT
We should all care about recycling now, so our children and grandchildren can have cleaner greener futures on a planet which is central to our very existence.
About Recycle IT
Recycle IT is an award-winning not for profit social enterprise providing a collection and drop off service for all types of waste electrical, electronic and metal items. During the last 18 months Recycle IT offered drop off and collection services to 140,000 homes and organisations in Dublin and surrounding areas collecting a range of WEEE which includes thousands of dishwashers, computers, cables, monitors, microwaves, TV’s and metal items.
Our electrical community collection service is provided in partnership with WEEE Ireland. Recycle IT are supported by Pobal, South Dublin County Council and authorized by the National Waste Collection Permit Office and the local authorities across Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow.