The planet you leave behind for future generations depends partly on your recycling practices of today. The planet is currently at stake due to climate change issues, and with every carbon emission and pollution the planet is exposed to, the more harm it experiences.
Whenever you throw away something, such as a used LCD screen, pen car, or plastic bottle, it will most likely end up buried in a landfill. At the landfill, toxic material from these discarded items can spill into the earth, releasing carbon dioxide emissions into the air and contaminating the environment in the long run. One of the ways to curb this disastrous effect is recycling.
Recycling is a simple technique that uses used materials to make something new. It takes something considered waste and converts it into a new product or a raw material to make a new product. Also, recycling is an important part of sustainable development because it decreases the need to use raw materials and natural resources.
The United Nations, governments, and major world businesses noticed that the world was heading toward a global disaster and decided to create a solution to stop the impending danger. In 2015, all United Nations Member states adopted an agenda called the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda created a pathway for humanity to combat climate change, inequality, and other major crisis.
However, how does recycling relate to sustainable development goals? This article will discuss all sustainable development goals mean to the recycling process and how important recycling is to SDGs.
Sustainable Recycling Meaning
Sustainability is the process by which the needs of the present generation are met without compromising the needs of the future generation. When you practice sustainability, you make life decisions that help life on earth without affecting the earth’s ecosystem.
Therefore, sustainable recycling is an eco-friendly way of disposing of waste in a way that conserves natural resources and reduces environmental pollution.
Which SDG Goal is Related to Recycling?
The United Nations created 17 sustainable development goals, and one of them targets waste management which uses recycling. The UN’s SDG 12 (Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns) targets responsible waste management. All SDG goals create a foundation for a better and more sustainable future.
SDG 12 includes targets focusing on reducing food waste, efficient use and sustainable management of natural resources, and reducing waste generation through reuse and prevention, recycling, and reduction.
The only way for humans to achieve sustainable development and economic growth is to reduce their ecological footprint. This means you must change how you consume and produce goods and resources.
When you recycle and reuse your materials and products more than you throw away, you ensure less environmental impact. Doing this will help to make your production and consumption practices more sustainable.
Importance of Recycling in Sustainable Development
Given the horrific damage that climate change issues are causing the planet, sustainable recycling is the only way to prevent irreversible global damage by reducing environmental and toxic waste pollution, conserving ecosystems and natural resources, and ensuring the biosphere’s protection.
However, the rate at which countries practice recycling is insufficient and extremely low. For example, in 2017, only 45% of all UK waste collected was recycled. Compared to 40.4% in 2010, the UK saw a rise in its recycling rate.
The 8 billion people on earth need space to live and grow food via agriculture. The world’s population keeps increasing daily, so the amount of waste also produced increases. The more waste is produced, the higher the demand for disposal sites to get rid of this waste.
E-Waste is one of the main causes of the climate crisis. If the e-waste disposal sites take up the little space available on earth, surviving on this planet as a human will be very difficult, which is what the 17 sustainable development goals collectively strive to prevent. Thus, all governments and businesses need practical and effective waste management solutions. Circular Economy is the perfect waste management solution as it helps to reduce the amount of waste dumped.
Another way recycling helps sustainable development goals is through energy saving. The incinerators used in the past to burn up waste reduced the amount of waste produced, but they also used non-renewable fossil fuels. So while the waste was being reduced, energy was being lost, and air pollution was occurring.
Energy saving is vital if the world hopes to reduce the effects of global warming in the future. It also helps to prevent future energy crises threatening the world’s socio-economic conditions.
Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
Achieving the 2030 sustainable development goals is one of the challenges each country globally strives to achieve to take back control of the negative urban, economic, social, and environmental impacts that threaten them. The benefits of achieving these goals contribute enormously to making the world a better place for animals and humans. But can these goals be achieved?
Creating awareness about the dangers of climate change and the importance of recycling, reusing, and reducing waste can go a long way in achieving one of these goals (SDG 12). Most people are more interested in their current challenges, so they are mostly insensitive to global problems. To meet any sustainable development goals, adequate awareness of the importance of these goals and the steps to achieving them must be made.
E-waste and Its Relationship To Sustainable Development Goals
E-waste or electronic waste refers to waste consisting of discarded electronic devices. Electronic waste poses a serious health risk when inadequately treated since it contains toxic materials that can contaminate the soil, water, and air.
The rising levels of e-waste and unsafe and improper treatments and disposal through landfills pose a great challenge to achieving sustainable development goals. The improper treatments of e-waste also risk human and environmental health.
More data is needed to understand e-waste, and this data will help achieve goals related to environmental protection and health, such as Goal 8 (Decent work and economic growth), Goal 3 (Good health and well-being), Goal 6 (Clean water and sanitation), Goal 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), Goal 14 (Life below water), and Goal 12 (Responsible consumption and production).
A better understanding of e-waste will also address economic, and employment growth since effective management of e-waste can drive entrepreneurship and create new areas of employment.
Sustainable development goals create the foundation to make the world a better place, and recycling plays a major role in helping to achieve these goals. Recycling reduces the need to extract or harvest raw materials from the earth, ensuring the safety of both the environment and the community. It is also vital to the planet’s health, so when you practice recycling, you’re helping to reduce the amount of waste produced.