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What does recycling have to do with World Wildlife Day?

March 3, 2021

A look at the importance of forests, the threats they face and how we can help

Deforestation

Today is World Wildlife Day and this year’s theme is “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”, giving us the perfect excuse to talk about something very close to our hearts – forests. Forests are so important for so many reasons, including our own survival as a species, but they’re being cut down at an alarming rate (we’re talking the size of a football pitch every 2 seconds). So, things need to change, and fast. And the best way to start is by being aware of what’s going on in the first place. So, in this blog post, we’re going to explain exactly why forests are so important, the ways in which they’re being threatened, and what we can all do to help (spoiler: this is where recycling comes into it!). Grab a cuppa and have a read…

 

Why are forests so important?

Answering this question could take up a whole blog post in itself, because there are so many reasons why forests are important. But, for the sake of time, we’ve summarised some of the key ones below:

 

So, why are forests under threat?

Considering they play such a vital role in our world, it doesn’t make sense that forests would be under threat. But they are. And they’re being lost at an alarming rate. In the last 25 years, forests have shrunk by 502,000 square miles, an area bigger than the size of South Africa. So, why is this happening?

  • Agriculture – With a growing global population and increased food consumption, many forests have been cut down to make space for farms and plantations, including cattle ranching (for beef), oil palm plantations (for products containing palm oil) and soy plantations (for animal feed). Agricultural production is the number one driver of deforestation worldwide, with 80% of deforestation a result of it.
  • Logging – Trees are also being cut down to be sold as timber or pulp. The former is used to make all manner of wood-based products (including furniture, fencing and floorboards) and the latter is used to make paper or paper-based products. To transport the chopped timber, further trees are cut down to enable roads to be built.
  • Mining – Mining is another significant cause of deforestation, responsible for approximately 10% of all Amazon deforestation between 2005 and 2015. This is because digging a mine (to find the likes of gold, diamonds or coal) requires the removal of all forest cover and, like logging, needs roads for transportation purposes.
  • Urbanization – With the promise of jobs and prosperity, more and more people are moving to cities, so much so that, by 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population are expected to live in urban areas. To cater for this increase, towns and cities are expanding to make space for new infrastructure and homes, and this extra space is often created by cutting down trees.

 

What’s recycling got to do with all of this?

Recycling is one of the best ways we can all help fight back against deforestation (and we’re not just saying that because we’re recyclers!). So many of the products that come from trees are recyclable. For example, paper can be recycled up to 7 times in total, and cardboard 4-5 times. Choosing to recycle these materials keeps them in use, gets the most out of them as a resource and, importantly, prevents the need to cut down more trees. To put this into stats, if every person in the UK recycled just 10% more paper, we would save approximately 5 million trees each year. And that’s just in the UK.

So, this World Wildlife Day, have a think about all of the products you use (at work, home and when you’re out and about) that originate from trees – do you use these to their fullest? Are there ways you could cut down on how much you use them? And do you recycle them once no longer needed? Thinking about the answers to these questions is the start to making change happen and doing your bit to look after the world’s forests.

 

If, after reading this blog post, you’d like to have a chat with us about improving your recycling rates, give us a call on 01242 588600 or email us at info@printwaste.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

 

 

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