Britain recycled just over half of the bottles sold in 2016, well behind rates achieved in Denmark and South Australia where deposit return schemes boosted rates to as high as 90 per cent. Image Credit: Agencies

What you need to know:

  • Recycling can be a way of life and it is easy to do.
  • These siblings prove how recycling can be made a part of someone's lifestyle.

When someone steps into our apartment, they cannot help but notice all kinds of recyclable items stacked in all nooks and corners - newspapers, magazines, cardboard boxes, glass bottles, plastic items, printer cartridges, used batteries and so on. It looks like a mini recycling station and we are actually immensely proud of it.

My sister and I have been dedicated environmentalists since the past six years, that is, since she was six years old and I was just three. I remember being taken to clean up drives and environmental awareness raising events by my parents. Those days are just as vivid a part of my childhood memories as going to parks or movies is. Taking care of the planet we call our home, our Mother Earth, is a way of life for us and we always do whatever we can to contribute to its wellbeing.

Through the past years, between the two of us, my sister and I have recycled approximately 15,000 kg of paper, 460 kg of plastic, 300 kg of glass, 610 kg of used batteries and 150 ink cartridges. These numbers become all the more relevant when we think of the hundreds of trees saved as well as several thousands of water, oil and energy prevented from being consumed in manufacturing these items from scratch.

Putting summer break to use

We collect these items by actively going around our neighbourhood every weekend as well as asking friends and relatives to give us their recyclable items. And when we have longer holidays like the summer vacations, it always allow us the extra time to carry out our environmental endeavours.

That’s how it’s been so far since the summer break started. The piles of recyclable items are growing in our home much to our delight and happiness. It’s been a few weeks since schools closed and we’ve already collected more than 500 kg of paper as well as good quantities of plastic of all kinds, ink toners as well as glass bottles.

You can do it too

This time of the year is when schools close and families are ready to fly out for vacations, welcome guests or just do some thorough holiday clearing up. Hence, it’s a good time to collect the different recyclable items. We always drop in a request to everyone we know to save their recyclables for us and let us know when it’s a good time to collect the items. The journeys we’ve taken to collect the commodities have varied from going to doorsteps in our own building to driving all the way to Ajman.

Another practice that helps us add to our recyclables collection is that whenever we have guests visiting us, we ask them to bring along their recyclable items with them- it could be just one ink cartridge, a bundle of newspapers or a couple of water bottles. Every single item counts and adds to the combined outcome.

The items we collect are deposited at the office of Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), a leading environmental organization in the UAE. Many a times, if we’re unable to make the trip to the EEG office, we take all the recyclable items and deposit it all in the designated recyclable bins which are so abundantly available all around.

Why you should be recycling

Recycling has innumerable advantages. To name just a few:

• It reduces the strain on the already rapidly depleting resources of the planet. The more we recycle the items already in existence, the lesser we will need to outstrip our planet of those items. For instance, the more paper is recycled, the lesser trees and forests will be cut down to make new paper.

• Recycling items means lessening the burden on the landfills, which are overflowing with the increasing trash the world is producing every day. Moreover, landfills are the highest producers of methane, a heat trapping gas produced by rotting waste materials. Hence, the landfills need to be used only for the absolutely essential waste.

• Producing commodities from recycled items takes less energy and water consumption.

• By recycling items we’re ensuring they’re being disposed off in a responsible way and not leaking potentially dangerous chemicals into air, water and soil.

Take action now: A message to all readers

There’s a quote by the legendary British explorer and environmentalist, Robert Swan: “The greatest danger to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

Through this report, we wish to send out a message to all the readers - please do whatever you can to protect and nurture this beautiful planet which is facing unprecedented environmental threats. The harm done is for everyone to see - the ravaged habitats, rise in sea levels, the increased global temperatures and erratic climate patterns all around the world- these are signals to act and act fast.

Walk those extra footsteps to find a recycling can for your plastic bottle or the receipt you got for your last purchase for example. When you think of yourself doing your bit, it seems like an insignificant, small act. But think of millions around the world doing the same thing, the impact will be huge.

— The reader is a student based in Dubai.

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