Epic Repic Reporter

This month: Sarah Downes, who helps make sure REPIC is part of a circular economy.

I work on projects to help to recycle more old electrical products. One of my projects is trying to work out where all of the old stuff ends up and what it is made of so we can work out how to recycle even more!

Every year the number of people on the planet gets bigger and we all like our gadgets, they make our lives easier and more fun. But for everybody to have all of the things they want, we would need a planet three times bigger than the one we live on. So either we keep reusing and recycling the things we have, or we will all need to find a new planet to call home.

REPIC makes sure that the broken products you take to the recycling centre are properly recycled. This means the materials get a longer life because they get put in to new products.

Imagine a world where every product we use could be recycled to make something new. We’d have very little rubbish and landfills would be a thing of the past. Experts call this a ‘circular economy’ since the products of today are remanufactured or reused to become the products of tomorrow. Throwing items away is called a ‘linear economy’.

Think about what happens when you buy a new mobile phone or gaming system - do you recycle the old one?

To make electrical products you need important resources such as precious metals, we dig these out of the ground, turn them into products that last from minutes to a few years and then we put them back into the ground as landfill!

If we carry on throwing electrical products away the Earth will eventually run out of the precious metals needed to make new electrical products and this is why REPIC is working hard to encourage a circular economy.

There are lots of things you can do to help to save the future of the environment including recycling your old electronics, such as toys, washing machines and even batteries! If the item is still working, you can take it to your local charity or a re-use organisation in your area. If it’s broken then take it to your local household waste-recycling centre. Find out where the nearest one to your house is here.

Remember to spread these important messages with your family and friends so they too can help build a circular economy!