Including some sort of recycling in your daily routine would make a big difference to the Race Against Waste. When something is ready to be thrown out, stop and think if it can be recycled. Can the material be worked on, cleaned up or reprocessed in some way so that it can be used in some form again?
This can involve materials being recycled into a new version of the same thing e.g. glass bottles to new glass bottles or recycling it into a new thing e.g. tetrapak cartons into recyclable bags.
Many household products can be recycled today so not only can you bring bottles, cans and clothes to Bring Centres, you can also easily buy recycled goods in your weekly shop. This is crucial for the long-term success of recycling.
- To help the environment: Recycling creates lower energy costs, reduces emissions into the atmosphere and to water and reduces the amount of waste going to landfill sites. For example, for every tonne of paper used for recycling, 17 trees are spared, 31,500 litres of water are saved and 4200 KWh less electricity is used.
- To protect wildlife habitats: As the demand for paper has increased, more timber has been needed to meet the demand for wood pulp. Old forests have been replaced by managed plantations, usually of conifers, in some cases meaning the loss of valuable wildlife habitats and ecosystems. The use of recycled paper helps to protect wildlife habitats.
- To reduce the demand for natural raw materials and extend their life cycles. For example, recycling plastic allows for conservation of non-renewable fossil fuels. Plastic production uses 8% of the world’s oil production. Also, for every tonne of recycled glass used, 1.2 tonnes of raw materials are preserved.
- To reduce the need for landfill space: We are running out of room in our landfill sites and yet we are disposing of more waste now than ever before. Research from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that between 2001 and 2004 the amount of municipal waste produced (household and commercial) increased by 12%.
- Recycling reduces the need for landfill space and avoids problems associated with landfill disposal. For example, textiles present particular problems in landfills as synthetic (man-made fibres) products will not decompose, while woollen garments do decompose and produce methane, which contributes to global warming.
- To encourage us to take personal responsibility for the waste we create. Recycling helps us to become more aware of environmental issues and to take steps to improve waste management.
PREPARING MATERIALS FOR RECYCLING
|Item||Preparation before Recycling|
|Paper / Newspaper / Magazines / Junk Mail||It is helpful to take out staples|
|Heavy-duty cardboard||Flatten, remove any polystyrene|
|Aluminium Cans||Rinse out and crush|
|Steel Cans||Wash out, ensure there is no food left ? there is no need to remove paper|
|Plastic Bottles||Remove caps/corks. Rinse out and crush ? there is no need to remove paper|
|Beverage Cartons e.g. Tetrapak||Take off plastic lid, rinse out and flatten|
|Glass Bottles & Jars||Remove caps. Rinse out ? there is no need to remove paper.
Glass banks do not accept drinking glasses, pyrex or sheet glass
|Soft Plastic Packaging||Ensure it is not contaminated with food|
|Textiles||No preparation needed|
|Household Hazardous Waste||Ensure it is still labelled|
|Green Waste||Remove any soil, litter or branches from palm trees that get jammed in the shredder|
|Timber||Remove nails or other such items.|
|Electrical Equipment||No preparation needed|
|Batteries (domestic & car)||No preparation needed|
|IT Computer Equipment||No preparation needed|
|Brown Goods ? Televisions, Radios, Video players||No preparation needed|
|White Goods ? Fridges, Freezers, Washing Machines, Cookers, Tumble Dyers||No preparation needed|
If in doubt leave it out!
Waste that isn’t properly segregated can be very difficult to recycle so don’t contaminate a waste stream with the wrong type of waste!
Household recycling collection
Over one-third of homes in Ireland now have a recycling bin/bag on their doorstep. If you have a recycling bin/bag, please ensure that you put the correct materials into it — check the label on your recycling bin/bag, or contact your service provider / local authority.
Bring Centres are small unmanned collection points for recyclable materials, often located in the car parks of shops or schools. All local authorities have a large number of Bring Centres located in different towns or neighbourhoods within their administrative area. Unmanned Bring Centres are somewhat limited in the types of materials that they accept, mostly collecting glass, cans and textiles.
The number of Bring Centres and the materials they accept varies from county to county. However, more Bring Centres are coming online all the time. It is best to access your local authority website (via our useful contacts page) or to contact your local authority’s Environment Department directly for an up to date list. Every local authority has an Environmental Awareness Officer who will be able to tell you about future plans for recycling facilities or collections in your area.
Recycling Centres (also known as Civic Amenity Sites) are larger than Bring Centres and are manned. Most local authorities have at least one recycling centre in their administrative area. A wide range of goods are accepted but this varies from the local authority to local authority and some counties have small charges. Items accepted can include fridges, freezers and other white electric items, smaller electronic items, computers, furniture, fluorescent bulbs etc.
It is important to make enquiries with your local authority or contact the site directly before setting out.
Some recycling centres also accept household hazardous (priority) waste such as waste oil, batteries, paints, bleach etc. It is extremely important that you do not dispose of such hazardous waste in your normal household rubbish.
Many local authorities also offer hazardous waste or chemical collection. This takes the form of a mobile collection unit that moves around the area and takes away hazardous household waste.
The frequency of the chemical collections varies so contact your local authority for details or check out their website via the useful contacts link.
NOTE: Asbestos is extremely hazardous both to people’s health and the environment and under no circumstances should it be disposed of with your ordinary waste.
Unfortunately, local authorities no longer provide a collection service for asbestos. Instead, it must be removed by a private contractor at a cost. Contact us or your local authority for details of contractors in your area.