The top reasons recycling is good for the climate
The following things are commonly put in recycling bins even though they shouldn't be. Help spread the word!
We've all heard that recycling is good for the environment, but you may be wondering how much impact it has. Why is recycling important? Can it improve our planet?
1- Why is recycling important?
Recycling is important for several reasons. The first is that it saves energy during the manufacturing process. The second is that it reduces the amount of material that ends up in landfills.
2- Why recycle? Energy savings
Manufacturers use either raw or recycled materials to create products. Raw materials, such as steel or coal, can be harsh on the environment and the entire manufacturing process.
Recycling can save a significant amount of energy throughout these processes. Manufacturing aluminum cans from recycled aluminum result in a 95% energy savings over creating them from raw materials. Producing steel from recycling uses 75% less energy than producing it from iron ore.
3- Energy and resources saved
Recycling conserves essential resources. These include fossil fuels, water, and trees. For every ton of aluminum that is recycled instead of made from raw materials, 14,000 kWh of energy is saved. Forty barrels of oil is also conserved. Recycled plastic saves 5,774 kWh of electricity and 1,000-2,000 gallons of gasoline. Recycling paper saves 4,100 kWh, 700 gallons of water, and 17 trees.
Photo by Catherine Sheila
4- Reduces landfill waste
Landfills are filling at an alarming rate. Space isn't the only concern. As trash breaks down, it gives off methane gas. This is considered a greenhouse gas and is harmful to the environment. Methane is 21 times stronger than CO2, and landfills are the top creator of human-generated methane. Increasing the recycling rate from 28% to 35% would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 10 million metric tons of carbon equivalent.
Much of the average landfill is composed of compostable or recyclable materials. In fact, the average American throws out 1,200 pounds of garbage that can be composted each year and contributes 1,600 pounds of trash a year. Seventy-five percent of the household trash that goes to landfills could be composted. Packaging material composes one-third of all material in landfills. Burning this material produces CO2. In 2005, nearly 100 million metric tons of CO2 were released from discarded packaging material. To put it in perspective, it would take 83 million acres of forest to absorb that much carbon in a year.
Photo by Patricia Valério
5- Climate change
The conservation of natural resources, reduction of waste, and reduced use of energy and fossil fuels all have a positive effect on climate change. The overall impact can't be measured simply in trees or barrels of oil saved. As the weather becomes more unpredictable, the need to take care of our environment becomes more clear. Recycling is one of the most important things you can do to prevent climate change.
6- Reduce and reuse
There are three steps to reduce waste and lessen the impact on the environment. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Reducing waste created and reusing items cuts down on the amount of material that needs to be recycled. These steps work best when used together. You can reduce the amount of waste you create by avoiding items that can only be used once. Paper plates, plastic straws, and disposable diapers are a few examples. Avoid things that are individually packaged. Reusing items is as simple as it sounds. Switch to cloth grocery bags. Purchase used items like clothing and furniture instead of buying new things. Donate unwanted items to thrift stores instead of throwing them away. Buy pieces that are built to last, instead of ones that need to be replaced frequently. Buy recyclable or recycled items when possible. Shopping for items that have been made from recyclable materials or items that can be recycled is a great way to contribute to recycling.
Recycling benefits the local community, the environment, and the world. Even small changes can make a big difference. Decide a few ways you and your family can reduce, reuse, and recycle, and you can become part of the solution.