Recycling and reusing can not only reduce pollution, improve the environment, save animals but also have a positive effect on our health. Recycling is the process of turning used materials and waste into new products. Recycling is an important concept for the environment and the consumer ecosystem.
We use more than 500 million plastic straws each day.
The actual amount of produce that gets recycled is relatively small and most of it is shipped to countries such as China, India, Kenya and Niger to be recycled or disposed of.
Most of the U.S. used to be load on massive ships and sent to China where China’s cheap labor would sort out the ‘clean’ and the ‘unclean’ and prep the materials. Then China uses the recycled material as feedstock for cheap manufactured goods. At some point, China stopped accepting garbage from the US.
Exports of plastics and scraps to China fell from 6,700 tonnes in January 2017 to 578 one year later. Paper-scrap exports fell from 53,000 to 15,800 tonnes.
If we never recycle the only eventual outcome will be that we will consume the entire resources we have and be done.
How Recycling and Reusing Reduce Pollution?
You can find recycling blue bins (and even compost now) in many cities and states in the US.
Recycling items often uses less energy than manufacturing products from the original sources.
There are many ways that recycling helps the environment. Here are a few examples:
Reduce Energy Consumption
Waste in landfills emits gases and pollutes the environment. Reducing the items in landfills will help to reduce pollution. Making a paper that is using recycled pulp, for instance, is much less energy-intensive than using new wood. While there are benefits to growing trees because of the carbon that they consume, this has to be offset against the damage that is done to the environment by putting paper in landfills and using energy to produce new items.
As more waste is put into landfills, the bigger the environmental problem gets. Products that are not biodegradable or are slow to decompose can remain in landfill sites for centuries, often emitting gases that could be harmful to the environment. Keeping paper out of landfills is just one way that recycling helps the environment. Consider that only one plastic water bottle takes over 450 years to break down.
Waste in landfills emits gases and pollutes the environment. Reducing the items in landfills will help to reduce the pollution that it causes. Recycling products also typically emit less carbon, thus reducing the carbon footprint of a product.
One other benefit of recycling is that there is often significant cost savings to be made when using recycled goods. Some people find that they can make money recycling. Recycling leaves and grass, for instance, is a great way to make compost. Using homemade compost is obviously a lot cheaper than buying compost and this is a useful way to save money. Saving money through recycling ultimately helps the environment.
Most plastic packaging is used only once, which causes a loss of 95% of the value of plastic packaging material, worth over $100 billion annually, and ends up in the ocean or landfill and it could take a few hundred years to decompose. Scientists discovered a second garbage island – South Pacific garbage patch.
While recycling is an important step, it is not the complete solution to the plastic waste management issue. It is equally important to cut down on unnecessary plastic production and use as well.
There are various forms of plastic present today, made up of different compositions. Once the plastic waste is segregated further, only those plastic grades that are bought by plastic recyclers go on to live a second life as a new product. A lot of our plastic bags and single-use plastics cannot be recycled.
At the bottom of most plastic containers, you can find a small number inside the three arrow triangle recycling symbol. This number is a reference to what type of plastic the container is made of.
There are several recycling symbols that are aimed to help you understand what type of materials are used for the products and how to recycle it. We put together a quick guide to help you understand what each recycling symbol means.
The most environmentally friendly product is the one you didn’t buy.Joshua Becker, founder of Becoming Minimalist
Conservation is an important part of the recycling issue. When you produce less garbage it helps in reducing the landfills and also helps in giving the land back to nature.
Cars are actually the most recycled consumer item in the United States.
When we dump products into a landfill, they decompose, creating run-off and methane gas. Methane gas contributes to Global Warming, and “run-off” is a leading source of groundwater pollution.
Recycling is just one of many ways that we can help the environment. Every step that we take, however small, is one more towards helping and supporting the environment in which we live. Getting everyone involved, from kids to adults, can help produce a better environment for many generations to come. We must act fast as the amount of waste we create is increasing all the time.