How Does Recycling Reduce Waste?
When you put your recycling box on the curbside with a few plastic bottles and some aluminum cans, you probably imagine that these items will be reused, and therefore that there will be a few less pieces of trash taken to the landfill or incinerator. However, that’s only part of the story of recycling. Waste is reduced in a number of ways as a result of recycling.
Reduction of Pollution and Greenhouse Gasses
First off, pollution is reduced since items are not sent to landfills and incinerators. When trash is buried in landfills, water contamination can occur. This is avoided when items are recycled instead. Any air pollution from incinerated items is also eliminated when recycling. Furthermore, activities such as mining and other collection of raw materials produce air and water pollution. Since recycling eliminates the need to obtain new materials, this pollution is also reduced.
Greenhouse gases emissions are also lowered when we recycle. The energy spent to process and manufacture recycled items is often less than if new resources were used to make non-recycled goods according to RecycleNow (the national recycling program in England). Less energy used means less greenhouse gas emissions. Incinerators are also big producers of greenhouse gases. Any waste that ends up in incinerators that could have been recycled or reused produces additional and unnecessary greenhouse gases. Most people don’t know that landfills also produce methane, one of the strongest greenhouse gases. By reducing the number of items sent to landfills, less landfills are needed, meaning that less methane will be released into the atmosphere.
By relying on recycled goods to reduce waste, a cleaner, better world is possible. Composting is one way to recycle, where food waste is processed to become nutrient rich soil. If you aren’t currently recycling or composting, consider some of these interesting facts:
- 96% of food that could be composted ends up in incinerators and landfills. Imagine all of the energy in transportation and burning that is wasted when food waste is placed in the garbage rather than composted.
- Every ton of paper recycled saves the energy equivalent of 166 gallons of gasoline. That’s a lot of gasoline! Every little bit of paper recycled adds up when you consider the millions of people who live in our country.
- Up to 80% of a car is recyclable. Many cars end up sitting around in car lots or sold off little by little. However, some great recycling programs for cars exist that can take advantage of all of this recyclable material, reducing waste and taking advantage of material that would otherwise just take up space.
- On average 16% of the price you pay for a product goes towards packaging, which is ultimately trash.
- It only takes 6 weeks for an aluminum can to go from the recycle bin to a new can. Recycling 1 ton of aluminum cans conserves the equivalent of 26 barrels of oil (1,234 gallons of gas)
Recycling has many positive effects on the environment and plays an important role in waste management. Through the above examples, you can see exactly how it reduces waste, whether it be materials or energy wasted. Everyone must recycle for the process to be a success – from governments to the private sector, and of course the general population. While governments are working to include programs in their waste management plans, private sector companies also play an important role in promoting and providing recycling services. Such programs are necessary for the future of our planet and for our own well-being.
Ecology is a reputable recycling and transportation company specializing in recycling scrap metal and used car parts. Contact us for your recycling needs today!