LONDON—World leaders are being asked to put recycling at the top of their 2018 New Year’s resolution list, by committing to seven changes to help save the planet.
The first ever Global Recycling Day, to be held on March 18, is an international initiative, designed by the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) to raise awareness of the need to shift the global perception of what we consider as waste into one of the earth’s most valuable resources.
The Earth has six primary natural resources—water, air, oil, natural gas, coal and minerals—but they are rapidly running out. The Seventh Resource—the goods and materials around us which we have a duty to use and reuse—can be used time and time again, sometimes indefinitely. BIR, through Global Recycling Day, is asking the world to collectively think Seventh Resource, and to prioritize its use across the planet.
Every person on the planet has a carbon footprint which is contributing to climate change and threatening the future of Earth. In 2016, there was a record surge in CO2 levels. This can only be reduced by re-thinking the way in which waste is disposed. Each and every year, the Seventh Resource (recyclables) saves over 700 million tons in CO2 emissions, offsetting all CO2 emissions generated by the aviation industry annually.
Seven Concrete Commitments
BIR has created a list of seven concrete commitments it is presenting to world leaders, changes needed to prioritize Seventh Resource, and changes which will be central to Global Recycling Day’s mission. The commitments are:
- Implement and strengthen international agreements that promote recycling, and negotiate new ones as needed.
- Support and promote the sustainable trade of recyclable materials to ecologically sound companies across the globe.
- Educate, from the grass roots up, the public on the critical necessity of recycling.
- Agree to a common language of recycling (same definitions, same messages).
- Make recycling a community issue, supporting initiatives which help households and businesses provide Seventh Resource materials for repurposing.
- Work with the industry to encourage “design for recycling” in the reuse of materials—reducing waste and integrating “end-of-life” functionality at the design stage.
- Support innovation, research and initiatives that foster better recycling practices.