How Does Recycling Help the Environment? 10 Facts You Should Know
It’s not easy to answer the question How does recycling help the environment because recycling does not have just one effect on our planet. We can help preserve our resources in many ways and it’s important to realize that even the smallest step can have significant results.
Most of us are very aware about the fact that we should recycle. However, the why of the matter is not always clear. Are you really making a difference if you put the soft drink can in a recycle bin instead of throwing it out with the trash? Is composting as helpful as people make it out to be? If we understand the benefits of recycling better, we have a higher inclination of embracing recycling as an important part of life.
How Does Recycling Help the Environment?
People today are more responsible with their recycling habits, more so than our grandparents were. It’s because we became more aware of the damage we could do to the environment and the proper practices that could help us preserve it. Every day, we dispose tons and tons of garbage. We should recycle and reuse our materials before we end up losing our natural resources.
There are many steps – small and big – that you could start taking in favor of the environment. Here are 10 of the most important effects of recycling:
1. Recycling Reduces Energy Consumption
Manufacturing items from virgin sources often uses more energy than simply recycling existing products. For instance, producing paper from recycled pulp is much less energy intensive than making paper from new wood. Not to mention that growing trees is more beneficial than cutting them down, given their ability to consume the carbon in the atmosphere. Therefore, recycling reduces the need to use more energy to produce new items.
2. Recycling Reduces the Size of Landfills
One of the most important effects of recycling is its power to reduce the strain local landfills have on our environment. We can use waste products in a constructive way to slowly decrease the size of our (otherwise massive) landfills. With an increase in population, landfills will soon become unable to hold so much trash. The next logical effect is a severe pollution to our cities and natural landscapes. Not to mention poisoning and the many health problems these garbage mountains cause. Recycling helps us keep the pollution in check.
3. Recycling Helps Minimize Pollution
Recycling and reusing used items instead of throwing them in the trash helps us minimize our pollution. This is an additional benefit of #2. Burning garbage harms the ozone layer and produces harmful gases. In turn, this often leads to respiratory diseases, including asthma and cough. On the other hand, throwing garbage in the ocean affects and kills our coral reefs and marine resources. That’s why reducing waste, reusing, and recycling our garbage keeps pollution out of oceans.
4. Recycling Improves the Soil
Composting (read more about this green living practice) or simply mulching organic waste such as kitchen scraps, lawn clippings, and leaves keeps them out of a landfill. The benefits, however, are even greater, because organic waste contains nutrients that can enrich the soil. Composting encourages beneficial organisms and reduces the need for artificial fertilizers and other soil amendments.
5. Recycling Conserves Natural Resources
Our landfills are full of used rubber tires, old bottles, scrap cars, and junk mail. They may seem endless, but the truth is we have less and less of the resources required to make. Recycling allows us to use all of this junk over and over again, so as to reduce our dependence on new resources. At the same time, recycling conserves natural resources such as coal, minerals, gas, water, oil, and timber. It allows puts more emphasis on creating advanced technology to use the items we already produced.
6. Recycling Saves Money
The truth is that recycling is good both for manufacturers and consumers. On one hand, manufacturers benefit from it because recycled source materials are often cheaper than virgin ones. On the other, consumers save money through recyclables that companies are willing to pay for, such as copper and aluminum. It’s even easier to save money through reusing objects. Using homemade compost is a way to save money (it’s obviously cheaper than buying commercial compost). The recycling cause saves us money and it ultimately helps the environment.
7. Recycling Creates Green Jobs
Recycling also provides green jobs to millions of people. Communities that invest in recycling garbage and other waste materials give people the chance to work and earn their living. They can take jobs in collecting the garbage, segregating it, transporting it, and recycling it into useable products. You save the environment and they can earn money.
8. Recycling Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions
When you decide to go green and recycle products, you save energy. In turn, that results in less greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the atmosphere. GHG are primarily responsible for increasing climate change. Recycling reduces water and air pollution by cutting down the number of pollutants released into the environment. A recycling rate of 30 percent is the equivalent of removing around 30 million cars from the roads.
9. Recycling Prevents Loss of Biodiversity
When you get in the habit of recycling products, you need fewer raw materials. The beauty of recycling is that it helps conserve resources, as well as prevent loss of biodiversity. Soil erosion and water pollution will be reduced due to recycling, which in turn protects native animals and plants that need forests to survive. Deforestation, which is currently on rise, will also significantly reduce if recycling becomes even more important in our green goals.
10. Recycling Brings Communities Together
At the end of the day, recycling can bring us all together. A community can become more unite through initiatives of picking up trash from the roads or collecting waste materials to raise money for local schools. Simple programs like these can make a community stronger. The many benefits of recycling can encourage people to employ more efforts in proper waste disposal. The result? Towns and cities that are cleaner and happier.