World Recycling Day began in the United States in 1994. At that time, the aim was to encourage consumption of products made from recycled materials. Today, recycling has become a major environmental challenge: it is the sine qua non condition for introducing a circular economy that protects the environment.
DOING “MORE” WITH “LESS”
This is the challenge in the 21st century, which can no longer follow the current economic system based primarily on a linear approach – “I take, I use, I throw away” – and will no longer be sustainable by the end of this century due to the ongoing explosion of the global population, migration from the countryside to cities, and the increasing scarcity of resources.
The solutions are optimising the recycling process and the various recovery and waste recycling solutions. However, to achieve this aim, we need to sort our waste so that it can be recycled according to its type. Plastic flakes and pellets enable the manufacturing of gardening bins, pillows, or car interiors, for instance.
The same applies to the recycling of paper and cardboard, which primarily contributes to supplying the paper and cardboard manufacturers, instead of using the usual channels and wood to manufacture paper. Ground glass, which is melted at very high temperatures, can also be turned into bottles. Meanwhile, steel is transported to a steel mill in order to be crushed, melted, stretched, and ultimately turned into coils, bars or thread.