The environmental impact of recycling
More and more people recycle every day. If recyclable items end up in landfill their value is lost forever. Recycling also reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining and processing raw (or ‘virgin’) materials, all of which create substantial air and water pollution. This helps to save energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping to tackle climate change.
Whilst recycled materials are valuable commodities in the worldwide market and are financially important, recycling is good for the environment too. It makes best use of our limited natural resources.
Recycling is a real success story, and we should be proud of what we have achieved in Wales – but there is still much more we can do.
Five recycling myths
Myth 1: There is no point recycling, it doesn't make a difference
Recycling stops tonnes of waste going to landfill. In the UK, recycling saves about 10-15 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year, the equivalent of taking 3.5 million cars off the road.
Myth 2: My recycling will end up getting thrown away with the rubbish anyway
Your recycled material is a valuable resource. Once it has been collected from your doorstep it is then sorted, baled and transported to reprocessors to be made into new products.
Myth 3: I don’t create any food waste, so I don’t need to use a food waste collection
We all create some unavoidable food waste, such as peelings, eggshells, teabags and bones. If you have a food waste collection at home, these can go in your food waste caddy.
Myth 4: Paper can only be recycled a few times
Whilst it is true that paper fibres start to break down once they have been recycled five to seven times, even then they can still be put to good use in egg cartons and loft insulation.
Myth 5: Recycling metal uses more energy than extracting the raw material
This is not true. Mining and processing metals uses huge amounts of resources and energy. Recycling cans saves up to 95% of the energy needed to make new cans from raw material.
There are many myths about recycling. Why not continue to explore our website to find out more. For example, find out what to do with specific items that you are not sure about.