Why should I recycle?
Because if you throw something away, it is no longer useful, it ends up in landfill, incinerated, or in some other way contaminating the environment. If you recycle something, it can be recovered and become material for a new product, plus it does not go to into the waste stream.
Why is it important to recycle?
Because there is a real global problem with too much waste being produced by human beings. As a species we produce so much synthetic waste that we are literally running out of space to bury it, or dispose of it in other ways without contaminating the environment.
Is it really worth recycling?
Absolutely. There is also a benefit to business and industry. The cost of recovering raw materials from existing waste items is far less than the original manufacturing process costs. There is a benefit to the environment. Using recycled materials reduces the destructive extraction processes and energy required to obtain raw materials.
Does all this really affect home waste?
Yes, between 60% and 75% of all home synthetic waste can be usefully recycled, providing all the benefits as detailed above. The more people that engage in home recycling the more resources are available for reusing these materials for new manufacturing, plus lessening the load on waste disposal.
Isn’t this just scare mongering?
No, it’s a genuine concern amongst scientists that waste contamination and its bi-products contributes to global warming, climate change that affect wildlife and crops. Plus it produces dangerous imbalances in natural eco-systems.
Why should I do something now about recycling?
Because the biggest most powerful changes lie in the habits and attitudes of ordinary people. Becoming environmentally aware and responsible is no longer an option for the few. If we want to save our world from an environmental catastrophe we must all act now and together. This is the only way to send a clear message to politicians and decision makers that we need change.
Here are some interesting facts, that I hope will inspire you to add this easy habit to your lifestyle:
- Recycling one aluminum beverage can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20
hours, a computer for 3hours or a tv for 2 hours.
- The aluminum beverage can returns to the grocer’s shelf as a new, filled can in as little as 90 days after collection, remelting, rolling, manufacturing and distribution.
- Recycling one ton of aluminum saves 37 barrels of oil.
- Recycling 125 aluminum cans saves enough energy to power one home for 1 day.
- You can make 20 cans out of recycled material with the same amount of energy it takes to make 1 new one.
- Glass never wears out – it can be recycled forever.
- Recycling glass saves 25-32% of the energy used to make glass.
- Glass containers save 9 gallons of fuel (oil) for every ton of glass recycled.
- It takes more than 500,000 trees to produce the newspapers people read each Sunday, yet only 30% of all newspapers are recycled.
- Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, 7,000 gallons of water and 4,100 kilowatt hours of electricity.
- In the manufacturing process of recycled pape74% less air pollution is generated
- 35% less water pollution is generated
- 58% less water is required
- 64% less energy is required
- One ton of high-grade recyclable paper can substitute for approximately 3 tons of wood in making new paper products.
- Plastics require 100 to 400 years to break down in a landfill.
- Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials.
- Recycling 1 ton of plastic can save 1-2 thousand gallons of gas.
Apple core: 1 to 2 months, can take longer in landfills due to lack of microbes, especially if it is buried deep in the landfill
Glass bottles: tens of thousands of years; glass is made from sand and it can outlast most anything
Plastic drinking bottles: hundreds of years; consist of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which is made from petroleum, which won’t break down
Plastic bags: up to hundreds of years; newer plastic bags can photo-degrade (which means, it just breaks down into tiny pieces and really doesn’t go away), but most aren’t exposed to sunlight when in a landfill
Milk carton: 5 years
Plastic milk jug: 500 years
Aluminum can: 80 to 200 years
Styrofoam: no sign of ever breaking down
Cigarette butt: 1 to 5 years and they leach toxins into the ground
Newspaper: 2 to 4 weeks, can take longer in landfills due to lack of microbes; will decompose much faster when wet
The best solution to these waste items is to recycle the recyclables (plastic bottles, milk cartons, glass bottles, cans, plastic bag, newspapers), reuse what you can (cartons, plastic bags, glass bottles, newspapers), compost what you can (apple cores, paper milk cartons, newspapers), and avoid what you can (plastic bags, plastic bottles, styrofoam, toxic substances like cigarette butts).
If this isn’t enough and you have more question on the subject of why to recycle I will be happy to provide more facts and motivation anytime! 🙂