In recent years, climate emergencies have started to gain the recognition they need and this has led to recycling fast becoming part of our everyday lives. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself whether recycling really makes a difference? Well, here is the affirmation you need! Recycling is a mighty method of ensuring the sustainability of our planet. Read on to see why!
Recycling preserves what we need to thrive
Recycling materials into new products is a greener alternative to using raw materials to make new things and the planet’s natural resources are therefore preserved. Due to the growth in population and demand, this is a very beneficial thing as our natural resources are already quickly diminishing.
Recycling saves energy and the natural environment
Instead of ripping natural resources from the Earth, we can make new products from things we already have. Recycling therefore reduces the amount of pollution which extracting these materials creates whilst also diminishing the need for quarrying, logging, and fracking. This is another advantage as our methods of extraction causes damage to the animals and environment which they depend on.
Reducing the amount of waste which ends up at landfill
There is already an incredible amount of waste at a landfill site which cannot be recycled, such as certain types of plastic. We don’t need to add resources that can be repurposed onto this pile. The more we recycle the less waste goes to a landfill site. This is important as when waste starts to decompose, it releases methane (a pollutive Greenhouse Gas) and contributes to global warming.
If something which could be recycled and repurposed ends up in a landfill site then it is not only a needless contribution to methane levels but also a waste of precious resources that could be used to construct something new.
Recycling creates jobs and keeps production local
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that recycling helps to create jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industry. Repurposing recycling material also means that materials from around the world do not need to be imported, as by relying on local recycling plants for construction, no new material is needed to make something.
What can be recycled?
A lot of what can be recycled depends on your local area and their recycling abilities. To find out what can go in the green bin and what can’t, enter your postcode into this website for your local recycling rules: https://www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling?gclid=CjwKCAjwltH3BRB6EiwAhj0IUGP_iDw-Arz11t9I5dRXfNgGausVlhctorI2jv06Nf8xMK0knvDiIhoC5CgQAvD_BwE
Why it is important to recycle paper and cardboard
Like recycling anything else, recycling paper saves energy, reduces Greenhouse Gases, and helps to preserve natural resources. It also, however, helps contribute to preventing deforestation, as if we can reuse the paper we already have, there will be no need to cut down any more trees.
It has been estimated that one tonne of recycled paper saves around 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, and an estimated 4,000 kilowatts of energy (which would power your home for around six months). To put this into context, consider this; it has been theorised that around 6.3 million tonnes of paper are thrown away each year.
Recycling paper is therefore of especial importance to the environment as trees are responsible for absorbing the CO2 we release into the atmosphere and therefore prevent the global temperature from rising. This rise will lead to further melting of the ice caps, a subsequent rise in sea levels, and a consequential altering of the current, ecosystems, and food chain.
To prevent this from happening, we must endeavour to continue to recycle paper and use the resources we already have to make more.
Why it is important to recycle metal
Scrap metal is one of the most valuable things we have. It can be reshaped and repurposed into something entirely new and usable and metal is unique in the fact that it is a resource that will never be depleted. Therefore, building quarries and mines, to harvest the material needed to construct metal is a pure waste of resource and a needless release of Greenhouse Gases. It makes no sense to discard something of value so don’t; recycle metal instead and give it a new lease of life!
Why it is important to recycle plastic
Although it is important to recycle all material wherever possible, plastic is of special concern.
Plastic waste is one of the main contributions to the littering of the planet and the unbalancing of ecosystems. The production of plastic began only around six decades ago yet, despite the relatively young age of this product, the amount that has been created is astounding. According to National Geographic, it has been estimated that, as of 2018, around 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic has been created. As if this wasn’t staggering enough, they also theorised that 91% of plastic isn’t recycled. It takes more than 500 years for plastic to decompose. This means that the 8.3-billion-tonne mass we have created still exists – and we are producing more. When this is considered alongside the fact that the majority of plastic we buy is single-use, it’s no wonder that we are being overwhelmed with the amount of plastic waste we are creating.