Who deserves the title #RecyclingHero?

Posted on 18 March 2020 by CarTakeBack

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The theme of this year’s Global Recycling Day on March 18th is #RecyclingHeroes, but who really deserves that title?

Does it simply belong to every individual trying to do their bit? Or should it be the role of governments, industry bodies and big business to go above and beyond to ensure recycling is truly effective and not just an afterthought?

We’d love the 'Recycling Hero' title at CarTakeBack of course – unlike our competitors we hit UK recycling targets of 95% two years early, we offer responsible car recycling across the UK and we try to promote the importance of making that choice. Since 2006 we’ve diverted over 5 million tonnes from landfill; not only metal but also hundreds of thousands of tonnes of glass, plastics and tyres, all processed at sophisticated plants that supply other forward-thinking industries.

The car recycling process

We’ve even started car recycling businesses in Ireland and in Australia and New Zealand; taking our expertise to the other side of the world and encouraging responsible choices for owners of end of life vehicles where there are no strict recycling standards. But despite all that effort, we know we’re far from perfect. The balance of re-use and recycling is a difficult environmental juggling act when it comes to vehicles, particularly while maintaining a successful company.

Global Recycling Day was created to recognise the people, places and activities that showcase how recycling contributes to an environmentally stable planet and a greener future for all. So maybe that’s how we need to see and celebrate recycling – as a valuable part of a bigger environmental strategy and that every effort, worldwide, is valued and worthwhile.

So, what is your take on recycling in 2020?

We surveyed hundreds of people who recently recycled their car with us and the majority - 91% - thought recycling was key to protecting the environment, with over 80% considering themselves to be ‘active recyclers’ day-to-day. From those high percentages you’d think it was safe to assume that not only is recycling embedded in our way of thinking and in our purchase decisions, but that there’s a lot of people out there that suddenly look good for that #RecyclingHero title!

But maybe not… Only 26% said they avoid purchasing items that can’t be recycled. And that could be where we are failing as a society and losing grip on that elusive Hero title!

Super hero holding up a car

Whose responsibility is it to make sure products can be recycled? In an industry where technology is moving rapidly, we are having to find solutions for safe electric vehicle recycling with relatively little support. Our customers were clear in their response to this area – with nearly 99% in agreement that end of life recycling was an important part of electric vehicle technology research and manufacture. This demonstrates a high awareness of the importance of forward-thinking when it comes to recycling.

In fact, nearly half of our customers surveyed thought that manufacturers should be primarily responsible for ensuring anything newly manufactured is recyclable. Just over a quarter thought the Government should be primarily responsible. There were even suggestions that a financial incentive should exist for recyclable items (such as a lower VAT charge) to encourage suppliers to adapt. This, of course, points us back to the power of the purchaser. Many customers stated that the public needed to take more responsibility for purchasing decisions, as well as recycling.

Looking at the bigger picture, the most positive thing we can take from our survey and in fact our industry’s activity is that what really works in the long term is a group effort with everyone taking some of that responsibility.

Ultimately, we can make a difference by making sure we all ‘do our bit’ wherever we can, whether that’s at home or in business. It might only be part of the solution, but making responsible decisions about what we buy, how we reuse and recycle has still never been more crucial. We can all try and deserve Global Recycling Day's #RecyclingHero title… we're off to find an old cape!

Recycling hero family