Taking action for Global Recycling Day 2021

18 March is Global Recycling Day, and since its launch in 2018 the campaign has been committed to raising awareness and celebrating the successes of recycling. Recycling plays such an important role in preserving resources including water and natural fuels and it’s essential in our fight to save the planet.

Global Recycling Day 2021 campaign theme is #RecyclingHeroes. It’s a chance to celebrate how valuable recycling is and make future commitments to put the planet first and do more to combat pollution.

Why is recycling important?

The last decade has been the hottest on record and as the world is heating up we’re facing a climate change problem like never before. The connection between global warming and recycling levels may not be obvious to all, but the volume of waste we generate is having a direct impact on global temperatures. Recycling plays an essential role in protecting our resources and this campaign highlights that currently recyclables save over 700 million tonnes in Co2 emissions, with a hope to reach 1 billion tons by 2030.

Both on land and in water, the impact of not recycling is evident with images of ocean pollution and affected marine life being seen by millions, giving us a wakeup call about the exact level of damage being caused. All businesses and individuals could probably do more, recycle more and contribute to a greener, safer future.

Ocean pollution

Even if you live nowhere near water, the plastic you throw away may end up in the sea. Once in the water, plastic decomposes extremely slowly and breaks down into dangerous microplastics, which can be dangerous or even fatal for marine life. Plastic reaches our oceans through three main ways:

Not recycling

Opting to chuck plastic in the bin rather than recycling it, properly, means it ends up in landfill. Many plastics are lightweight and can easily blow away, become cluttered around drains and quickly end up in the water.


Rainwater and wind carry the plastic waste you drop on the street into streams and rivers which all eventually end up in the ocean. Illegal waste dumping and simply littering on the street play a key role in the damage being done to our oceans.

Improper Drain Use

Ocean pollution is dangerous to both marine life and humankind. Fish can become tangled and injured in debris and many creatures swallow plastics, with no awareness of their toxicity. Microplastics have been detected in many species of marine life and the toxic chemicals within them can then impact their health. Remember, marine life includes fish eaten by us, so you could be eating something which is packed out with the microplastics you flushed down your loo. We flush loads of things down the toilet and wash plenty of things down the sink which we shouldn’t.

Quick steps to a recycling-forward business

Initiating a recycling scheme at work shouldn’t be too difficult and should be something you consider seriously. Encouraging your staff to use the recycling facilities is important and Global Recycling Day 2021 is the perfect way to raise awareness and a great time to put a scheme in place. These steps are key to success when encouraging improved recycling at work:

  • Encourage involvement from the senior team: promoting recycling from the top down will ensure the message is strong and employees will be more likely to get involved and take it seriously.

  • Communicate a clear message and share, share, share: information about recycling services in your business should be clear and communicated as often and in as many ways as possible. Use posters and displays, team meetings and internal briefings and / or email to get your message to your team.

  • Update your cleaning team: if you have external cleaning staff make sure they’re aware of your commitment to recycling.

  • Remove under-desk bins: install single waste and recycling bins in clear and practical spaces throughout the workplace.

  • Ban single-use plastics: there is no reason to allow single-use plastics in the workplace, so simply don’t allow it. These items are only used once before disposed of and are things like food packaging, straws and coffee stirrers.

  • Check what you flush: nothing should be put down your sinks and, in your toilets, aside from the things they are designed for. Anything that you put into the sewer system may find its way to the ocean and contribute to the pollution problem.

Global Recycling Day 2021 is a chance to celebrate your existing recycling efforts and look to see how you can step up your efforts and do more to make sure your business is doing all it can to protect the planet.

Let's all be #RecyclingHeroes!