Our global waste issue is a huge issue that seems to be avoided and ignored. Every year corporations throw-away tons of waste that never gets recycled, go straight into landfills, the ocean, or other natural environments that can’t handle that type of waste. While changes have been made, such as the transition to paper straws, there is still a long way to go.
If we want to live in a world that is safe, healthy, and happy, then we need to make changes. However, the majority of the issues are ignored or downplayed, so here are some shocking facts about our current waste problem to prove just how much of an issue we really have!
1 Only 20% of Global Waste is recycled
Think of how much you are encouraged to recycle, all the different bins you have, the different bin collection routines for that waste, etc. It makes it hard for us to believe that only 20% actually gets recycled. However, just because you recycle, doesn’t mean others do!
Often, not always, corporations create a huge issue with waste. They don’t sort it properly or they just don’t recycle. On top of that, even when we do recycle, it doesn’t always mean that it actually gets recycled. Most of our sorted waste actually gets shipped to other countries to be recycled, China has for a long time been the go-to importer of plastic and other materials for recycling. However, China has stopped this now. So, what happens with the waste? This question is where the issue lies. A lot of these countries are overwhelmed with the amount of waste that gets shipped to them, meaning large percentages go un-recycled.
We produce more rubbish than we can handle, more rubbish than the world can handle!
2 We generate 92 million metric tons of textile waste
That’s right, fast fashion is a huge problem. Many cheap clothing fabrics are lined with plastic compounds and don’t break down very easily. Yet shops are filled with new items of clothing on a regular basis and people are throwing away old garments at an incredible rate.
3 Only 17% of E-waste was recycled sustainably
We generate a ton of electronic goods, and every year people upgrade tech and throw out old pieces of tech. The problem is that this waste is not easily recycled. Phones, computers, laptops, etc. are all made up of a multitude of different materials, meaning you can’t just throw them into a normal bin or even a normal recycling bin. Considering we generate about 50 million tonnes of E-waste, if only 17% is being recycled, that’s a big issue!
4 Landfills can cause brain damage.
Yes, we like to believe that once the rubbish is under the ground it’s no longer an issue. However, that is far from the truth. Plastics, and other materials, can release bad toxins into the soil which can become a problem for people who live close to them. While brain damage is an extreme example, it is a possibility.
A lot of our waste is not natural, which means it’s not meant to be in the natural environment.
5 COVID-19 has made it worse
COVID-19 helped global warming by dropping emission rates and other forms of pollution as we all stayed inside, but it also saw a huge increase in plastic production. Lateral flow tests and masks are all made of products that don’t break down easily, and considering how many we use, this is another huge issue for our global waste crisis.
What can you do?
As we mentioned, a lot of the problem is out of our hands, and until the big corporations change, we can’t really make a huge impact. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be doing anything. The most simple thing to do is to make sure you’re recycling. If you have large amounts of waste and you don’t have time to sort it, then think about skip hire. A lot of skip hire companies have sorting facilities to deal with the unsorted waste. C&R Lewis has a great skip hire service in Solihull! Also, see what your local council can offer, they will often pick up fridges, microwaves, and other hard to recycle e-waste.