Collectively and individually, it’s time to look at our disposability culture through a new lens. Your favourite jeans, an old printer cartridge, that roll-on deodorant bottle – instead of seeing waste, turn these throwaways into an opportunity. As a crucial part of the circular economy, recycling preserves natural resources and fortifies our future. Celebrate all things recycling on it’s dedicated day to shine: Global Recycling Day, March 18 2021.
This year, the theme is #recyclingheroes. Use this stage to spotlight places, people and pursuits that put recycling in a starring role. Take a look around you: who or what stands out as a recycling advocate? It may be your neighbour who's rallied the street into action, or it could be a local business that's supported recycling efforts during the pandemic. Be sure to look out for the announcement of the ten winners from around the globe on social media and the Global Recycling Day website.
WHO WOULD YOU NOMINATE
Which individuals, businesses or collectives do you know who’ve made a splash in this space. Who's been working for a balanced, greener planet in the past year – they're your #recyclingheros. It doesn't have to be a huge-scale effort, but if their effort has made a significant impact in the fight to lessen pollution and contribute to sustainability you should give them a shout out or at least say thanks?.
THE SEVENTH RESOURCE
Six natural resources support our way of life: water, air, oil, natural gas, coal and minerals. They underpin our food and nutrition, as well as most of our possessions, infrastructure and utilities. That’s a whole lot of responsibility, but they're also limited and on borrowed time. We’re using these natural resources without a plan to replace them; when they're gone – that's it.
Each year, billions of tonnes of waste end up in landfills. That's why recyclables are recognised as the 'Seventh Resource' because they save over 700 million tonnes in CO2. Given we've consumed more resources in the last 50 years than ever before, recycling is now at the frontline of tackling climate change.
As well as conserving the planet's six primary resources, recycled materials supply 40% of the world's raw material needs and offset all the aviation industry's CO2 emissions. Recyclables processing employs 1.6 million people worldwide, and the annual contribution of the industry will surpass $400 billion in the next ten years. As a whole, the industry puts $20 million each year into creating jobs and improving efficiency and the environmental footprint.
WALKING THE WALK
Dharma Bums are all about wear not waste. Half a trillion PET bottles are produced every year, and 80% of them end up in landfill, where they take nearly 500 years to break down. That's why we make durable, fabulous fabric from post-consumer PET bottles sourced from Taiwan, which recycle 55% of their waste. Our recycled fabrics decrease waste, use 85% less energy and produce 50% less CO2 emissions. For every 16-18 PET bottles recycled, we make one pair of leggings. So far, we've saved 1,119,449 litres of water and recycled 928,886 bottles.
We make our mailer and garment bags from 100% sustainably-sourced plant-based fibres. Put them in your home compost – they’re biodegradable, even if they end up in landfill. We also recycle our cut fabric into stuffing for boxing bags because little things make a big difference.
To promote the role recycling plays in protecting global sustainability – Global Recycling Day has two main missions. Firstly, to get the attention of world leaders and reinforce that recycling needs a common perspective of being a global issue. Secondly – to ask people around the globe to value recycled goods – invite them to see resources, not waste.
There’s a lot at stake: increased poverty, displaced communities, jobs, waste mountains and vanishing natural habitats. Recycling gives us the power to make real, lasting change. Take stock of your habits at home, work and play, and start making sustainable choices. Remember to nominate your #recyclingheroes.