Let's Get Real About Recycling - #RecycleWeek

Date published: 17 October 2022

Recycle Week is now the UK’s largest national annual recycling campaign. During the week, citizens, media, local governments, and brands are encouraged to come together to meet one goal: galvanising everyone into recycling more of the right things, more often.

Campaign Graphic - Image of recycling with the text - Does my recycling really make a difference? Yes it does.

This year’s campaign will focus on three common questions that many of us have when it comes to recycling: 

  • Does my recycling really make a difference?
  • One item in the bin can’t hurt, can it?
  • Recycling is so confusing, isn’t it?

Recycle Now will be providing recycling information and insights to answer these questions and clarify that, by recycling, we really can make a difference. In fact, recycling in the UK saves 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year – all these factors reduce greenhouse gas emissions which lead to climate change.

By getting our recycling right, we can also have an impact. One wrong item in the recycling bin from each of us can contaminate whole lorry loads of recycling, making it unusable. Recycling doesn’t have to be confusing - that’s what the Recycling Locator is for! Just tap in your postcode to find out what you can recycle where you live.

Campaign strapline - Let's get real about recycling

We’ve come a long way, but there’s still room to grow. 

Back in 2004, when Recycle Week was first launched, Northern Ireland’s household recycling rate was only 19% with 81% of our materials going to landfill. Today that figure has increased to just over 50% recycling with 23% being landfilled. These improvements have been achieved through effective partnerships between DAERA, local Councils and, most importantly, householders across Northern Ireland.

But we can do more to protect our planet. Our ambition is to increase not only the quantity but also the quality of our recycling. Better quality recycling means more of it can be turned into new products and can be kept within the local economy. We know we can only do this if everyone makes the effort to recycle as much as possible. That’s why this year, we’re getting real about recycling. If everyone plays their part, progress will keep happening all round. So, let’s get recycling right to make a real difference.

To highlight Recycle Week, a number of civic buildings across Northern Ireland are being lit up green, and local councils, businesses and other organisations are joining in with a range of activities to underline the importance of recycling. Everyone – organisations and individuals - can support Recycle Week by using #RecycleWeek on social media.

Campaign Graphic - Image of recyclables and the text - Recycling's so confusing isn't it? It doesn't have to be. My Recycling NI

Have you ever wondered what happens to your waste and recycling after it gets collected from your home?

The launch of Recycle Week 2022 will also coincide with the launch of My Recycling NI, a website which allows you to see what happens to the waste and recycling collected by local councils in Northern Ireland. Funded by DAERA, MyRecyclingNI  provides you with information on what happens to your recycling, how much recycling your local council collects each year and its reported fate.

Some fun facts! Did you know:

  • Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60W light bulb for up to 6 hours.
  • It takes 75% less energy to make a plastic bottle from recycled plastic compared with using ‘virgin’ materials. 
  • 25 recycled PET bottles can be used to make an adult's fleece jacket.
  • Recycling our old electricals would cut as much CO2 as taking 1.3 million cars off the road.
  • We throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year from our homes - most of which could have been safely consumed. 
  • In total, a staggering 6.6 million tonnes of food waste comes from our homes each year in the UK, at a cost of £14 billion. Of that, 4.5 million tonnes is food that could have been eaten, which works out to around eight meals per household each week.
  • Every tonne of paper recycled saves 17 trees.


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