You know that rubbish has a huge impact on our ocean. You know that recycling is good for the environment. You even have a recycling bin at home. So how can you take it one step further and ensure your recycling has a real impact on the planet?

Reduce (and if you can’t, reuse and recycle)

This one may seem obvious, but sometimes we forget that before we even think about recycling, we should try and reduce our waste in the first place. When purchasing products, consider the amount of packaging it’s in and whether it’s something you really need. Where possible, choose a product with recycled packaging, or simply with less plastic.

Turn your trash into treasure

With a bit of imagination, household items you no longer need can make great craft projects. Turn milk bottles, empty cans, cardboard boxes and other unwanted household items into decorations or gifts for loved ones. They also make for great kids activities – ditch the pre-packaged craft activities and put some of those unwanted items to good use.

Don’t forget about e-waste

You might recycle paper and cardboard every week but when is the last time you thought about your electronic waste? Most e-waste will end up in landfill or incinerators, or are exported to Asia. In developed countries electronics can be recycled in purpose-built recycling plants. Often you’ll be able to drop off old computers at e-waste collection events or picked up during an organised collection, so keep an eye out or do a quick search online to find out what’s available in your area.

Don’t put your recycling in a plastic bag

Don’t undo all your hard work by putting your recycling in a plastic bag. You can’t recycle plastic bags and as workers sort waste by hand it is potentially dangerous. Sharp objects or dirty nappies may be inside so when plastic bags are found at recycling plants, they are removed, even though they may be full of recyclables.

Remember that recycling goes beyond your home.

Recycling at home is a great step towards protecting the environment, but what about when you’re out? Sometimes when you’re not at your house, it can be difficult to find the correct bin. Don’t let this deter you! Hold onto your recycling until you see a proper bin or until you get home.

Work is another place where recycling often gets forgotten about. Take your efforts further by encouraging your workplace to take action too. Before you throw out scrap paper, consider writing your notes on the back rather than on new paper, or print double-sided when possible. Why not put a recycling bin in the office kitchen to encourage others to recycle too – you don’t even need to go out and buy one, just use an old cardboard box.

For more ways to protect our ocean planet, consider taking the PADI® Project Aware Specialist course.Recycling

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