You may tell yourself when you’re about to throw away a glass jar “it’s only one jar, I don’t feel like cleaning it out.” The problem with that line of thinking is that if everyone thought that way (which sadly there are a lot who do), the planet would be in big trouble. Of all discarded items in homes and businesses across the United States, 99% of it ends up in a landfill within six-months. Most people do not realize how much is actually recyclable. A vast amount of trash can be recycled. Recyclable materials commonly include batteries, biodegradable waste, clothing, electronics, glass, metal, paper/cardboard, plastics, and more. Different materials require different techniques when recycled.
In addition to waste management, recycling helps to keep our planet sustainable. For example, everyone knows paper comes from trees and trees are being cut down to produce paper. By recycling it, we can help lessen the number of trees that are cut down, which in turn gives the planet more oxygen. Products made from raw materials that came from our natural resources should be recycled so that we can help preserve the environment. Another reason is that it helps to save energy. It takes less energy to process recycled materials than to process virgin materials. Saving energy also has its own benefits like decreasing pollution. This creates less stress on our health and our economy.
Here is the reality of the situation. According to a study done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April of 2015, the average American consumes 167 bottles of water each year. Of those bottles only 12% of those reach a recycling center. This is about 4.4 lbs. of waste from plastic water bottles alone per person in the United States every year.
It is also important to mention that there is an island in the Northern Pacific called “Garbage Island.” This island is the size of Texas and is mostly made up of plastic bags and bottles, fishing net, and other man made products that do not break down easily or at all. When in the ocean it is cooled by the water and gets coated with algae that shields it from sunlight so it won’t break down. Because of these factors, the plastic in the world’s oceans will remain. This is SEVERELY affecting sea life with choking hazards and poison risks.
Benefitsofrecycling.com says, “By saving energy in industrial production through recycling, the greenhouse gas emissions from factories and industrial plants are lessened and the use of fuels that emit harmful gasses during production is also minimized. Recycling non-biodegradable waste (rather than burning it) will contribute significantly to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gasses that deplete the ozone layer.” So keep the planet clean. Reduce, reuse, and recycle!
Your responsibility does not end at your curb on trash day. Here is a list of ways you can help even more.
*Always encourage friends, family, and co-workers to participate in recycling.
*Contact your favorite companies to find out if they recycle, if not inspire them to.
*Use rags to clean house and newspaper to wash windows instead of paper towel.
*Use cloth napkins instead of paper or paper towel.
*Support other companies that use recycled materials. That’s called voting with your dollars.
*Re-purpose materials for crafts and artwork.