We Must Not Neglect Our Recycling During COVID-19

The global coronavirus pandemic has changed how we live and will shape the way we live and work and interact with friends, family, and colleagues. But one fact that should not be forgotten is that the climate emergency hasn’t gone away, and it is as present a danger as it was before COVID-19.

The net-zero pledges made by corporations, organisations and governments around the world remain as a reminder that we still need to think of the environment, reduce our waste, and that waste recycling services are key frontline workers.

We all need to keep materials in circulation for as long as possible, to save our natural resources and limit the requirement for virgin materials. However, this circular economy is a closed loops system, and only as strong as each link in the chain.

Even with waste management being considered as a key industry, some countries have reported a drop in recycling as the spread of the pandemic impacts us all.

Local authorities have been encouraged to maintain their collections in order to support the supply of essential raw recycled materials that are critical to the paper and packaging industry. As yet, there has been no major impact by the decline in paper for recycling, but industry analysts are keeping an eye on the situation.

As all but essential shops currently closed, consumers have been increasingly reliant on e-commerce online shopping, which means it becomes even more essential for all the used cardboard packaging gets collected, recycled, and reused.

Collected used packaging is channelled to a network of paper mills that then feed packaging manufacturing operations. This then keeps the supply chain of goods flowing to supermarkets, online purchases tour front doors, and vital medical supplies to the front line in the fight against COVID-19.

It is plain to see that packaging is an essential resource, especially during this crisis, but without the recycling industry supporting the system, it would make even the delivery of even the most ordinary everyday items to your homes increasingly difficult.

But recycling is not purely about maintaining the efficiency of a closed-loop system. Without waste collections and management, refuse may end up being burned on open fires, an illegal activity already happening across England – or material going to landfill or incineration.

Many people have taken to their communities to offer support, especially for those who are vulnerable and high-risk, which means it has become critical that we continue to recycle packaging and valuable materials for as long as we can to ensure the smooth flow of supply chains.

It’s not just about helping the pandemic effort, but also about protecting our valuable and finite resources to make sure we have a sustainable future.

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