The benefits of recycling are important not only for the environment, but it also has many social and economic benefits.
Today’s world is consumer-driven with everyone looking out to try new things. The volumes of waste generated is hence increasing year on year which is being viewed as one of the major environment concern. But if we look this problem in a different light, we might turn our problem into an opportunity.
What is Recycling
The products and materials that can be used after they serve their intended purpose, whether they are made of plastic, paper, or aluminum, are far from worthless. Most materials, in fact, have a high recycling value. It is believed that up to 75% of all waste can be recycled or repurposed, demonstrating the power of the process when done correctly. Almost everything we see in our environment may be recycled, albeit different materials require different recycling procedures. Batteries, biodegradable trash, clothes, electronics, garments, glass, metals, paper, plastics, and a variety of other materials are among the most typically recycled materials.
Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling can benefit the community and the environment.
Recycling extends the life and utility of something that has already served its original purpose by reducing it to its raw ingredients and then repurposing those materials to create something valuable. It is one of the three golden commandments of sustainability (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle), and it offers numerous advantages for both humans and the environment. How much we recycle affects almost everyone on the earth. Making things using recycled materials uses less energy than making them from new raw materials, and the difference might be significant. Creating new metal from existing items, for example, requires 95% less energy than making it from scratch. It saves roughly 70% of energy when steel is used. Manufacturing something isn’t always the best option.
Why is it important to recycle?
It is critical to break down a used material organically so that it can be reused and recycled. A manufactured substance will only be used once before ending up in landfills and negatively damaging the environment if the three criteria of sustainability are not followed – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
Non-recycled waste produces greenhouse gases such as carbon monoxide, dioxide, and methane, which contribute to climate change and global warming. This contributes to increased air, land, and water pollution, putting human lives at risk.
Natural resources such as forests, water, and minerals provide raw materials. Recycling reduces the need for new materials and instead focuses on conserving natural resources by repurposing previously purchased items.
Making things using recycled materials uses less energy than making them from new raw materials, and the difference might be significant. Creating new metal from existing items, for example, requires 95% less energy than making it from scratch. It saves roughly 70% of energy when steel is used. While this is not always the case, making something a second time uses significantly less energy.
Recycling is also very cost effective. Recycling rubbish is six times less expensive to dispose of than regular garbage. As a result, the more you recycle and the less you throw away, the more money you save, which is beneficial for households, businesses, and local government services. Recycling food and green waste is also a good idea.
In any city, recycling generates multiple job opportunities. A large number of people can find work in the recycling industry and in facilities that create recycled products and materials. This industry is brimming with job prospects for middle-class and low-skilled workers. Recycling jobs are often known as green occupations because of their good impact on the environment. Green jobs are critical for our economy and play an equally important role in making the world a better place to live.
What to recycle?
Following is a list of materials that you can recycle:
- Paper: Paper products make up 26% of all the waste materials in the United States. Recycling paper contributes to saving trees. So if you have cardboard boxes, old magazines, or mails, do not throw them in the trash but rather give them out for recycling.
- Plastic: Plastics make up the major solid waste material. When you throw plastic in the landfill, it does not break down organically as it is not biodegradable. Single-use plastic items are only used once and discarded. And since these waste materials do not break down organically, recycling is a better option so that the used item can be discarded and reused to make something else.
- Glass: Recycled glass reduces air pollution by 20% and water pollution by 50%. Moreover, making glass from raw materials cullet needs to be melted, but if we use recycled glass, we save the energy taken to melt it.
- Metal Products: Recycling metal products reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming by 300 to 500 million tons. It also conserves energy. Using recycled scrap metals, 92% of energy is saved for aluminum, 56% for steel, and 90% for copper.
- Batteries: Batteries contain heavy metals and corrosive materials that are harmful to the environment. If they are not recycled, the toxic materials are released into the environment, posing a threat to every living being. Moreover, if the batteries are disposed of in the landfills, they can absorb into the soil and contaminate the water supply through their toxic fumes.
- Electronics: Even electronics contain heavy metals and toxic materials like mercury, lead, chromium, and cadmium. These materials can contaminate soil, air, and water and be a threat to living beings along with the environment.
The 3Rs of Recycling
We’ve all heard of the three R’s of recycling: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. While recycling is vital, the most efficient strategy to reduce trash is to avoid it altogether. Making a new product necessitates a significant amount of materials and energy, and then the product must be carried to the point of sale. Reduce and reuse are crucial approaches to safeguard the environment in this way.
Simply put, reducing means producing less garbage. The first of the three Rs is the best way for keeping the environment clean. By decreasing, you can eliminate the source of the problem. Making less waste in the first place equals less rubbish to clean up later. Reusing is finding a new purpose for outdated or unwanted goods that would otherwise be discarded. There are numerous strategies to repurpose products in order to lessen your trash output.
Looking for products that use less packaging, which means less raw materials, buying reusable over disposable items, maintaining and repairing products like clothing so they don’t have to be thrown away, and borrowing, renting, or sharing items that are used infrequently, such as tools, are all examples of ways to reduce and reuse.
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