The original pioneers of waste recycling services in Manchester,
EMERGE is an environmental charity with over 10 years experience of empowering individuals, businesses and communities to reduce, re-use and recycle
Organisations produce and deal with waste everyday. All organisations have to pay for their waste to be collected and disposed of – it’s an expensive business and getting dearer. And its not just the financial cost that we need to be aware of, waste has an impact socially and environmentally too.
Do we really know what happens to the waste that goes into our bin? When we throw something ‘away’ do we consider where this 'away' is? For some it is quite a shock to realise that ‘away’ doesn't actually exist; there is no 'away'.
Waste contributes to already mountainous landfill sites releasing vast quantities of CO2, poisonous gases and liquid waste than can leak into surface water and streams. Availability for landfill sites is running out so rubbish is also burned in incinerators and some insist that they release toxic chemicals that have been linked to severe health problems.
Rubbish is also shipped and dumped in the countries of the South, in places like China, Africa and India - where local people work in dangerous conditions retrieving metals from e-waste; computers, printers etc.
And it’s not just the land - our seas are turning into synthetic seas, the worlds largest rubbish dump. There is now no part of the seas that a trawler will not find plastic and plastic is believed to constitute 90% of all rubbish floating in the oceans.
In 2006 the UN Environment Programme estimated that every square mile of ocean contained 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. This plastic is mistaken for food by marine life and ingested, eventually causing internal organ failure and death. However, many sea creatures are caught before they actually die from eating the plastic and end up on your dinner plate full of minuscule pieces of plastic. Bon appetite!
We all produce waste; there is no getting away from this. But we have to take responsibility for our waste and realise that purchasing and disposing of items all have an effect and that throwing an item 'away' does not make it disappear.
Recycling items is definitely better than them going to landfill. However, there are 4 other steps we should all consider before even thinking about recycling. So to save money, save resources, reduce pollution and reduce your carbon emissions follow the 5 R’s:
- Resist- do you need to purchase the item in the first place?
- Reduce- if you really need it can you reduce the quantity?
- Reuse- can it be used again?
- Repair- is it worth getting it repaired?
How can MERCi help your organisation?
- Sustainability benchmarking of your organisation
- Directory of sustainable goods and service providers in Greater Manchester
- Resources and tool-kits
- Ideas on how to involve your staff, volunteers, board, service users and customers
- Tailored training and workshops