Recycling: to treat or process to make suitable for reuse.
Recycling has come a long way in recent times, but should we really be proud of what we have achieved? How effective is this system that we are following? Are we truly recycling?
An important aspect to look at is the down cycling instead of re-cycling or even up cycling. Most products that are recycled are then used to make lesser quality products. For example, recycled shoe soles are used as the surface at playgrounds instead of woodchips. But the recycled product is now of a lesser quality and will still end up in a landfill. The concept of up cycling deals with using materials over and over again without any loss in the quality. Instead of shoe soles being used as playground surfaces, they can be recycled and again used as shoe soles over and over without losing quality.
The ‘cradle to grave’ philosophy is a common occurrence in today’s society of consumerism. The current recycling procedures, although prolonging the life of the raw materials, still go by this philosophy. The idea of a ‘cradle to cradle’ system allows for the raw materials to continue to be used again and again. An old shoe sole and be turned into and new shoe sole which can later be recycled and turned into another shoe sole which may eventually be made into a basket ball and so on.
This system of true recycling must be the way of the future if we are serious about looking after the earth planet for the generations to come.