Recycling is one of the easiest, but most impactful ways you can help support our environment. Though the concept has been around for many centuries, it is becoming increasingly popular as people are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment. Here are twenty reasons why recycling is good for the planet and our economy.
1. It saves energy
It takes an incredible amount of energy to extract raw materials from the environment. Recycling allows for us to reuse these already extracted materials and manufacture them into new products while using less energy and resources. If you were to recycle one aluminum can, the amount of energy saved could power a television for three hours.
2. Conserves natural resources
When someone recycles, not only are you reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving energy, but you are reducing the need to extract more raw materials from the environment. Along with that, many of the areas where ore and oil are harvested are also home to millions of species of plants, fungi, and animals, including indigenous tribes.
3. More jobs are created
The recycling industry provides a tremendous amount of jobs compared to solid waste management. As stated by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), for every 10,000 tons of solid waste that are removed, six jobs are created. If that same amount of materials were to be recycled, the process would provide thirty-six jobs.
4. Oceans are cleaner
You’ve all heard of the Great Garbage Patch that lies in the Pacific Ocean, right? Even waste that is properly thrown away may still end up in our waterways, due to overflowing landfills or poor waste management practices. Recycling reduces the amount of garbage ending up in our landfills, which is related to the number of plastic pieces in our oceans, lakes, and rivers.
5. Offers cash benefits
For people to recycle scrap metal or aluminum cans in many states, you can earn some extra cash by hauling your recyclables to a scrap yard or materials reclamation facility. You get paid for recycling and are also doing a good service to the environment. Some states, including California and Michigan, even offer cash back for recycling plastic and glass.
6. Prevents loss of biodiversity
Many of the resources needed to produce packaging are irresponsibly harvested from different ecosystems around the world. For example, the process of clear-cutting trees in the rainforest can lead to soil erosion and water pollution, which ultimately destroys the chance for reclamation of these forests. Many organisms are extremely sensitive to sudden change and areas where mining or logging occur can easily disturb the natural balances that exist there.
7. Brings a community together
Recycling and its processes can bring a community closer together by finding common ground with a passion for the environment. Groups that care deeply about the planet focus on making the world a better place to be for future generations. For example, we might organize events, such as a community cleanup day or starting a donation drive.
8. Encourages the development of greener technologies
When more and more people recycle, this creates a demand for greener and more sustainable technologies. Solar and wind power, for example, have been on the rise due to people’s increasing awareness of pollution and its effects.
Overall, recycling has an enormous amount of benefits compared to throwing the same items away. We only have one Earth, and we need to preserve it. We are the protectors of this planet and we must change the path on which it is headed. It is our only option.