When it comes to recycling in the UK, we’re doing a good job! The rate of recycling for household waste increased in all UK counties in 2016, up from the previous year. In fact, there’s a target for the UK to recycle at least half of household waste by 2020. But recycling can still be a new frontier for many people. For example, do you feel that “recycled” and “recyclable” are the same thing? There’s actually quite a difference between the two. This post looks at the pros and cons of recycled versus recyclable merchandise, to help you make the eco-friendliest choices for your charity.
What is it? Recycled products are made from materials that would otherwise have been discarded as waste. Recycled merchandise is produced from material contained in the products that you recycle, such as glass, plastic, paper, textiles and metals like aluminum and steel.
Some benefits of selecting recycled merchandise for your charity include:
Pro: Recycled products are environmentally friendly! Selecting recycled merchandise helps to reduce waste and pollution by reusing materials that have already been created.
Pro: Positive public relations and customer connection. Choosing recycled over non-recycled products is a smart choice and one that your supporters will likely appreciate and respect.
Pro: Wide variety! Today, you don’t have to sacrifice selection in making a responsible choice to purchase recycled products. Many tried-and-tested merchandise options are now made from recycled materials including button badges, plastic keyrings and pens, including a customised denim pencil made from recycled textiles. Trolley coin keyrings are another practical choice and a great way for your charity to be seen on a daily basis – we offer a version that is made in the UK from 100% recycled plastic.
However, one consideration to keep in mind is the life cycle of your product:
Con: Many items can only be recycled a couple of times. Once the product is made from recycled materials, it can only be recycled once or twice after that. So, eventually, it will end up in landfill.
What is it? A recyclable product is one that can be collected, separated or otherwise recovered and recycled after it has reached the end of its life. One thing to keep in mind is that recyclable products do not necessarily contain recycled materials. It’s tricky, we know!
There are key benefits to selecting merchandise that is recyclable:
Pro: Recyclable products can be recycled and reused at the end of their life, diverting them from landfills. Doing so is environmentally friendly because it helps conserve precious resources and reduces overall waste.
Pro: Through the recycling process, these products can be made into new materials and recycled products – see above!
But there is also a key consideration:
Con: Recyclable products are only environmentally-friendly if people actually take action to recycle the product. Otherwise, they get discarded as waste alongside other non-recyclable products. You might need to communicate this to your supporters if you gift or sell recyclable merchandise.
There’s a connection between the two types of products: When you make a choice to purchase recycled products, you increase demand for these products. This forms a virtuous loop that also supports measures to make it easy for people to sort and donate recyclable products. We can help your charity tap into this loop with recycled or recyclable merchandise products for your next eco-friendly campaign or fundraiser. Choosing the right products is just the first step for your charity to “go green!” Get in touch with us today to talk more about all of your environmentally friendly options.