Dec 14, 2015

COP21 and Recycling Everything

Words by Bruce Bratley

You will have heard in the news that most of the world signed-up to an historic Climate Change agreement in December. COP21 aims to cap global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, It’s an historic agreement which will be met with statutory and voluntary action.

While this is really very important for the planet there is still more to do because scientists now say we need to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees to prevent catastrophic environmental change.

Recycle Everything

Recycling is one of the easiest ways every single person and business can reduce their environmental impact and has these benefits:

  • Recycling saves on virgin resources: when we recycle, used materials are converted into new products, reducing the need to consume natural resources through mining and forestry.
  • Recycling uses less energy to produce new products – even when comparing all associated costs such as transport.
  • Producing steel from recycling material saves 75% of the energy needed to produce steel from virgin material.
  • Recycling aluminium produces only 5% of the CO2 emissions that are produced by making aluminium from virgin resources.
  • Because recycling saves energy it also reduces emissions, which helps to tackle climate change. UK recycling is estimated to save more than 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year.
  • Recycling eliminates landfill. Landfill sites produce harmful methane which is 21 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. UK landfills produce about 25% of the UK's emissions of methane.

What about First Mile’s carbon impact?

Over 90% of First Mile’s emissions are from our fleet of vehicles, but without the fleet we can’t recycle. We are working hard to mimimise our emissions impact with larger more efficient vehicles, Euro 6 emission controls and the use of telematics to drive the most efficient routes.

Despite these efforts we still have an impact and we neutralise this by offsetting our carbon emissions by sponsoring carbon offset projects around the world with Carbon Clear.

COP21 has got some criticism from some environmentalists and it has many holes in it, but it will change the landscape of sustainability for good.

By Bruce Bratley

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