I would say there are three types of people in the world; those who don’t believe in climate change, those who do believe in climate change, but don’t change their behaviour and those who do believe in climate change and do everything, small or little, they can do to keep the impact low.
Climate change has been a much-discussed topic in the last few years. The effects of climate changes have become more observable and a lot of plans are made to keep the impact low. The Paris agreement is an international example, but many people haven’t changed anything in their daily activities to contribute.
Why is that? If the climate continues to change for the worse, we all will feel the impact. According to research, a reason why people won’t recycle is, because it’s not accessible or convenient. It is also understandable that many people won’t change their behaviour because it is easy to think that the adjustments from one person or family alone won’t help. The only thing is, if everybody thinks their adjustments won’t help, where is it going to lead us?
One way to help reduce climate change is by recycling. In the Netherlands, it is completely normal to pay a deposit on plastic bottles, beer bottles, and beer crates, and you get your money back once you hand in the empty bottles. We also have different containers in every neighbourhood where people can throw away their glassware (white, green or brown), paper and general waste, and the compost is picked up twice a month at the side of the street. During my childhood, we threw away as little food as possible, we had almost every week a ‘leftovers day’, and we separated our paper, compost, glass and general waste.
To this day, I still try and recycle as much as possible and throw away as little food as possible. During my time living abroad, in Spain and in England, it took a while for me to get used to their way of recycling. These two countries have no deposit on glassware and plastic bottles in the supermarket, so it felt weird to just throw these away. I also didn’t see any different containers or bins to separate waste; although I am not sure if they weren’t there or if I just didn’t see them.
I am currently living in Leeds; my third time abroad and my second time in England. This time I notice all the efforts that are made to make recycling more mainstream. All the different recycle bins in the university and public places, the introduction of take away cups for discounts in coffee shops; recycling has become much more normal in England. However, there is still so much more that can be done.
Take a look at Sweden. Recycling is so well integrated in the everyday life in Sweden, that they have run out of garbage to recycle. For this reason, Sweden is even importing garbage from different countries, such as the United Kingdom.
I can’t help but wonder why recycling garbage in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, isn’t as well integrated as in Sweden. By using special recycling bins, recycling will get so much easier and will ultimately help reduce the climate change. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, changing little things in your daily life already helps a lot.
In addition to recycling, there are many other (little) things you can do. Eating less meat, using less water, the use of energy-saving lamps, and turning off lights and devices when you are not using them are some examples of how you can contribute.
Let’s just all make some of these small changes in our life and help our beloved planet earth!