Cheltenham Environment

My recycling story: “I never thought it was my responsibility”

As a child, I never paid much attention to what could and could not be recycled. I never thought it was my responsibility or that it was that important to do so. Sure, you learn in school why recycling is important so that we don’t waste materials that can be reused, but what about recycling’s impact on the overall climate problem? I didn’t have even one scooby.

My family never properly recycled until I was in my late teens when I was growing up at home. I’m not sure why; whether we didn’t have the necessary recycling bins or they simply couldn’t be bothered, I’m not sure. I only remember moving from one house to the next and then finally committing to recycling. When we put the bins out, we’d have a bag for recycling that could be taken out to the main bins outside. We made it a habit to recycle items that we would have otherwise thrown away. I was finally taking responsibility for what I could do to help the environment when I was 15 years old.

When I started university, recycling became even more of a part of my daily routine. We were able to be even more thorough with our recycling thanks to the specific bins in my halls of residence. All rubbish was placed in one bin, glass in another, and all other recyclables in the third. I found out from one of my then flatmates, that black plastic and any cardboard with grease on it cannot be recycled. Since then I’ve really considered what I can and cannot recycle and which bins they actually go in.

Despite everything I’ve learned about recycling over the years, there are still things I don’t understand. When recycling plastic bottles, for example, remove the lids and place them in a separate bin.

The other week I looked at the figures Cheltenham Borough Council released on Cheltenham’s recycling habits over the last year. But that doesn’t exactly explain what can be recycled and what can be recycled. This video shows what is recyclable, which bin it goes in and what definitely cannot be recycled.

I guess we’re all learning as we go. As long as we do our bit, maybe we can make a difference.

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