What is recycling?

When you purchase a product you become responsible for any waste associated with that product along with this you send a signal to businesses that supply those products that you are happy with the product and waste associated with it. Recycling is being conscious of your ecological footprint (the quantity of nature it takes to support people or an economy).

Why is recycling such an issue?

High-income countries such as New Zealand typically consume beyond their means. The global changes to recycling has left New Zealand with a surplus of rubbish. China, until December 2017, was at the centre of the global trade of scrap material, and for years was purchasing other countries’ waste, recycling the waste and creating recyclable materials that was sold with the label ‘recycled packaging.

It was this purchasing that allowed many countries consumers to continue the use of single use plastics with limited concern due to global changes and lack of infrastructure, New Zealand now has a surplus of waste.

children with green recycling bin

“If everyone in the world lived like we do in New Zealand, we would need nearly 3-planets to sustain our demand”         

There has been a shift in attitude with the ban of single use plastic bags through out New Zealand. This shows a shift in perception as consumers and politicians are becoming more conscious about their household waste. However, there is still a lack of awareness in singular household items that are not recyclable, sustainable or organic. The average New Zealand  consumer is evolving slowly compared to other Western countries, this can clearly be seen in their purchasing habits. While there is a variety of environmentally friendly disposable one time use products  an alarmingly  large majority of consumers  continue to ignore their environmental and social responsibility’s in favor of non biodegradable or non recyclable products.

How can we recycle?

Purchase recyclable containers and bottles that are reusable, recyclable and BPA free. Reuse supermarket bags. Check the labels at the back of products. (Find out what recycling codes mean) Choose products that are recyclable and ask yourself – is this packaging recyclable? Terra uses 100% recyclable packaging which means it is grade 2 recyclable and can be put in your recycling bin, this is also the reason why Terra Wipes does not have a hard plastic lid as these are not recyclable. 

Who is recycling?

We live in a world of convenience – from convenient prepackaged meals or takeaways to the packaging of household products, clothing and entertainment that shape people’s  consumption habits. Not enough people are actively aware of their ecological footprint and its long lasting impact on the environment.  It is this behavior which leads New Zealand to consume 735 thousand tonnes of packaging which only half gets recycled

recycling symbol and terra on hedge background

On a global scale this is disproportionate between developing and developed countries, with high-income countries on average having an ecological footprint five times that of low-income countries. The demand on the Earth’s resources cannot continue if we want our children, and their children to enjoy the earth we have.

Where to next?

Consumers need to become more aware. New Zealanders recycling habits are reflected with the type of waste that is created, and the amount of waste that is being recycled. A change of mindset by adopting “consume less, and recycle more” is at the core of ensuring our children get to enjoy the world we leave them.

When grocery shopping, check the labels of household items and how recyclable its packaging is. General household goods are easy to identify. Educate the household about supporting local, and choosing recyclable and biodegradable products.