Recycling – And how to go about it in Ireland
Waste has a companion named “recycling.” And as a result of the fact that this “companion” does not receive the attention that it should, Big Brother “Waste” has become a monster that is running rampant in the cities, towns, forests and even the oceans of our planet.
Humans have become hyper-convenience-orientated, simply discarding waste in any possible way, and wherever we are at any particular moment.
This careless attitude has resulted in mountains of waste that is accumulating second by second without being recycled. These “mountains” are literally growing exponentially every minute of every day.
Monstrous heaps of rubbish are present everywhere defacing our home with anything from broken bottles, plastic containers and rusted tins and/or cans, right through to toxic waste such as old leaking batteries and nuclear dumps in the ocean, and a zillion of garbage-related items in-between. Consequently, Mother Earth has been left with a “demon” to conquer, and she is not receiving much help from her human inhabitants. That while we are the ones that have caused the problem. Our carbon footprint is rapidly becoming non-erasable.
A bit closer to home, our beloved Eire is fighting a similar battle:
The fight against plastic
Fact is that, according to experts, in 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. Not really a rosy outlook for the future of our planet. Ireland has declared war on plastic, and having moved within 20 years from ignorance to the status of “European Leader” regarding the fight against plastic, Ireland is one of the main players in fighting pollution by means of recycling unwanted and undesirable waste such as plastics.
The main problem with plastic is the fact that, in most cases, a plastic container (such as a drink- or milk bottle, yogurt container or a salad container is used only once and then discarded. Such a container takes only minutes to make, or use, and several centuries to break down after having been discarded. Recycling is the best solution, since it keeps plastic from re-entering the environment and messing up the eco-system even further.
Until recently, 95% of Irish plastic waste was purchased by China on a regular basis. Unfortunately, however, China has stopped buying our plastic. Following China’s recent ban on the import of recyclable plastics and paper, Ireland has now been left to somehow absorb the impact of about 95% of its recyclable waste that is no longer being taken off our shoulders by the Oriental giant.
While accumulated waste was not much of a problem to Ireland five months ago, we are now accumulating tons of trash, just like the rest of the world.
Apart from leaving a huge hole in Ireland’s annual fiscal income, China’s decision to reject plastic waste has caused a severe problem in that we are sitting with tons of plastic waste, having no market for it. If we don’t do something about this problem soon, this could significantly add to the global quantity of accumulated plastic waste that is not being recycled further increasing the global environmental risk.
The global environmental risk has in recent years grown from huge to unbearable to a global catastrophe. The astronomical quantities of waste (including plastic) on Earth may well be the cause of the planet’s eventual destruction, and the subsequent extinction of all life on Earth. This means the end of all animal life, including bees, so the extinction of plants will follow shortly after, ultimately resulting in famine. Farm animals cannot live without plants. Eventually there will be no plants or animals to eat, and without food we will all starve to death.
Looking at this scenario, it is easy to draw a conclusion that, if we do not win this war on pollution all life on Earth including all human life, could already be imminent. And humans, as the world’s most intelligent lifeform, need to find a solution before it is too late… so yes, the fight against plastic does make sense.
Economic recycling benefits
We can benefit from recycling in various ways. Ireland used to benefit via sales to China, who used to buy about 95% of our plastic waste.
Unfortunately, China is rigid as a plank and does not budge on its decision not to import plastic waste, and Ireland cannot force China to buy our plastic so we have to find different recycling methods. This means that the public (you and I) needs to be reconditioned regarding various recycling options. In view of these facts, Irish authorities have intervened by changing the procedure of waste recycling in Ireland.
How do we recycle from now on?
Finding different methods of recycling can be a schlep, but it is not too difficult when you follow recommendations. There are a whole lot of things that you can recycle that you would never have thought about, such as lighting equipment, computer parts, metals, glass, etc.
There are several Irish-based sites on the internet that you can visit to find out more, such as Voice Ireland’s ?Recycling Ambassador Programme. Also follow this link to the government’s official recycling list.
Watch this video and others on recycling in Ireland and how you, the consumer, can benefit. There are many videos that you can find by typing “recycling n Ireland” in the appropriate space on your internet browser. YouTube has quite a variety of good informative videos.
When plastic first entered our world, we had no idea that the very same substance that was initially created for convenience, would eventually end up being one of the world’s most problematic substances. In future, before you buy a kilogram of apples or any other fruit in a plastic bag, rather consider buying a kilogram of the same fruit at a greengrocer that packs your fruit in a carton or brown paper bag. While it can take a plastic bag many years to biodegrade, a brown paper bag only takes about 1 month.