We’ve heard the litany of ‘Recycle! Recycle!’ for years now, usually from the environmental sector. Intellectually, we know that we should recycle. Now that our natural resources are seriously getting low, it seems we’re finally paying attention. Recycling really does help make the earth greener, and here is how:
Recycling conserves land
Landfills, waste dumps and incinerator factories don’t need to be used as much. They create secondary wastes of air pollution (burning waste) and water pollution (eventually ending up in the oceans). The land spared from becoming a landfill could be used for more ecological purposes, like community gardens or regrowth forests.
Statistics that make you think
No statistic is accurate, but even if these statistics are slightly off or exaggerated, they should grab your attention on how beneficial recycling can be:
- 75% of garbage thrown out in the U.S. could be recycled.’-EPA
- It takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than make it
- 40% of energy is saved by recycling glass
- Recycling newspapers equals a 40% energy reduction
- Plastic recycling can mean up to 70% in saved energy
Recycling versus consumption:
- 1 ton of recycled paper=17 trees
- 1 ton of recycled steel=25,000 pounds conserved iron ore
Side benefits of recycling:
- Organized recycling programs could create a new job market (collectors/sorters/recycling operators)
- Recycling reduces 8 major water pollutants and 10 air pollutants
Recycling is cheaper and conserves more energy than manufacturing raw materials. This is just down to simple mathematics. To make a product using raw materials, energy is used for extraction. Then more energy is used for transportation. Lastly, it uses energy for the production (which adds pollutants to the environment). The energy spent recycling? Breaking down the materials for manufacturing.
Recycling reduces destruction to the environment. Including all of the main reasons (less garbage, less emissions, less air damage) for recycling, there’s also the habitat to consider. Animals get caught in waste or eat it; biodiversity becomes unbalanced and habitats can be completely destroyed. Not recycling leads to deforestation, polluted oceans, soil erosion and loss of protective atmosphere. None of those are finite resources.
We still have a chance of recouping a lot we’ve lost environmentally, by making a few individual changes. Recycling materials that you can (some they even pay you to recycle, so it’s a double bonus).
Reusing the things you already have, like plastic containers, instead of buying new- makes a difference. Your part in recycling honestly can help make a greener earth.