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Why Is Recycling So Important?

Recycling symbol on bottleThere’s plenty of facts out there on why recycling is important. The world population is growing, not shrinking, and currently each human being adds significant waste to the planet over his or her lifetime. In New York alone, people produce enough trash in one day to fill the entire Empire State building. The frustrating thing is, in most developed countries it’s not all too difficult to make a difference. And what a difference we can make. If everyone repurposed their copy of a single edition of The New York Times, we could save 75,000 trees.

What Exactly Is Recycling?

Recycling basically involves turning used materials that are labeled as recyclable over to your local waste facility designated in a disposal container as “recyclable” materials to be taken and reused as material for a new purpose. A recyclable product is turned back into a raw form that can be used to create a new and different product. Not only are natural resources limited, but recycling efforts can significantly reduce additional waste that will not only harm the planet today, but future generations as well. The natural resources on our planet earth are limited so we must make the most to conserve, recycle and reuse whenever possible.

What Can I Recycle?

What you can recycle depends on your area, not all materials may be recyclable. Check with your local recycle center to find out what you can and cannot recycle. You’ll notice that recyclable products are labeled with numbers from 1 to 7, 1 being the most recyclable, and 7 being the least recyclable. Also check with your city to make sure that you have the correct disposal containers available to ensure your efforts are being put to good use and heading to the recycling center rather than the landfill you are working so hard to avoid!

Purchase Products Made from Recycled Materials

Trash floating in waterYou’re no doubt aware by now why this is so important. However, the effort involves not only recycling existing products, but purchasing products that have already been recycled. Today, thanks to a strong push in the green movement recently, you’ll notice more and more products made from recycled materials. To purchase products made from reused materials, simply look for a recycling symbol and language on the product’s packaging. Every day manufacturers are finding new ways to create items that are recyclable including paper towels, cardboard boxes, plastic containers, crayons, ink cartridges, paint, garden supplies such as hoses, furniture, wallpaper, and even garbage cans. And don’t forget the packaging. It is often too big for the product inside and uses non-recycled materials. This is wasteful and should be minimized as well when making a purchase decision. Voting with your wallet is one of the best ways to make an impact while sending a clear message to the companies that make these products as to your desire for more attention to recycle-friendly products.

Ways to Reduce the Amount of Trash You Create

Another way to help the planet is to simply cut down on the amount of non-recyclable materials you throw out. What’s a good way to do this?

  1. One of the most effective ways to help us to bring your own reusable cloth bag to purchase groceries. If you forget, insist on paper, and pack as many goods in one bag as possible, without double bagging.
  2. Try to reduce the amount of packaging you purchase by buying products in bulk.
  3. Have any paper statements that are normally mailed to you – such as bills, financial statements, newsletters, etc. – e-mailed to you instead.
  4. Buy products that are packaged in cardboard or paper board instead of Styrofoam.
  5. Try to avoid disposable items such as paper plates, cups, and utensils.
  6. When wrapping presents, opt for reusable gift bags instead of wrapping paper – or maybe even reuse wrapping paper.

Composting is another way to reduce trash

Composting is the simple step of setting aside your fruit peals and pits along with other food waste that does not contain oils or meat and then putting it into a compost pile. This will not only create a much cleaner smelling kitchen but also produce great nutrients for your garden. More details on how to compost are available here.

Most Waste Can Be Minimized

Every day we use a variety of products in our households and work places to fulfill our basic needs. Most of these products and their packaging are wasted and dumped in bins, which end up in land fill sites. We ignore the fact that a major portion of our waste can be recycled or reused. It would also be very responsible of us, if we could reduce the consumption of products to the maximum extent possible. So, the three R’s of sustainability are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

The Three R’s of Sustainability – Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle

Recycling things involves using a product, in part or as a whole, in the production of similar or same products again. In regular production, the use of raw materials is sourced directly from natural resources. For example, fresh pulp for which trees have to be cut down is used to create first generation paper. Recycled paper can very well be used in producing new paper without vastly compromising the quality of the final product.

The same applies to most products like metal, glass and plastics. The energy saved due to use of recycled materials also adds up to overall savings. Therefore, it is only a matter of choice and attitude towards protecting and enriching the environment we live in. We have to consider the fact that demand drives the supply and controlling demand can lead to reduced exploitation of natural resources.

Why Recycling is Important

There are many good reasons for adding recycling to your routine, ranging from a personal level to a global advantage.

Recycling your waste makes you more responsible in the way you use and dispose of it. It is evident from studies that people who do this instinctively cut down on buying unwanted things from the supermarket. They think of how to dispose of the packaging or the product after use before even buying it. As a result, people end up saving a considerable amount of money while also saving the planet.

Individuals, governing bodies and companies can take pride in minimizing their waste as they are helping to reduce global environmental damage and making this earth a better place on which to live. It is a direct contribution that every one can take price in.

Recycling Creates Jobs

Apart from the environmental benefits, think of the employment that it can generate. When you put your waste in different bins for paper, plastics, glass and so on, the contents of each are further segregated and taken to recycling plants. The man power involved in the logistics and processing of your waste is considerable and thus you are helping to keep them in jobs and aid in welfare of their families. What could be more appropriate in tough economic times as now to create and keep people employed?

The danger of global climate change has forced us to take drastic measures to cut down on pollution levels to slow down if not eradicate this phenomenon. In view of this, ambitious but necessary targets for recycling are also being set by governments around the world.

To meet these targets, more and more people must take action regularly. As a result, the amount of waste reaching the landfill sites is reduced and the quantity of land fill sites is reduced. Hence better land use for other constructive purposes is ensured.

Trash Creates Pollution

1-800-GOT-JUNK $10 OffIncineration of waste from land fill sites is a common way of destruction of waste. But we have to remind ourselves of the emissions that result from the incineration. Some times the heat generated is used to generate electrical power (waste to energy plants) to offset the damage and minimize the carbon footprint.

Even though this sounds positive, there are concerns about the type of waste being incinerated and if it has any toxic effects on the surrounding areas.

You are Paying for Your Own Waste

Landfill sites are taxed and there are fines for exceeding limits of disposal at one time in many regions. Such costs are passed onto the taxpayer. An example of this pass-through tax would be increased city council taxes. Recycling minimizes these additional landfill costs to a great extent.

Some Recycling Facts

Beautiful Mountain Scene Ruined by TrashStudies have shown that:

  • More than 60% of the rubbish that ends up in trash bins can be recycled.
  • Around 16% of the cost of a product is spent on its packaging which is completely wasted if not disposed of properly.
  • 80% of a vehicle can be recycled.
  • Aluminum cans can be recycled completely and put to use in a short time.
  • Thousands of glass jars and bottles are thrown away everyday.
  • Glass can be recycled 100% and reused.
  • Glass products which end up in landfills do not decompose at all.
  • It has been observed that 24 trees are cut down to make one ton of paper.
    • On the contrary, recycled paper is proved to create 70% less pollution compared to normal non-recycled material paper production.
  • Plastics, which can often be recycled, take around 500 years to decompose.
  • One recycled tin can saves enough energy to power a television for 3 hours.
  • 70% less energy is utilized to recycle paper compared to making it from raw materials.
  • Similarly when you recycle one glass bottle, it can save enough energy to power a personal computer for 25 minutes.

Recycling Helps Build Communities

That is not all of the advantages of recycling. Many charities and community groups raise money through reusing and recycling goods. Your city has many charity shops (like Goodwill and the Salvation Army) that will take your unwanted clothes, electronics, furniture and other household items to resell as income for these non-profit organizations and these donations are also tax deductible for you. Other not-for-profit charities can be found who will pass such clothing and other items onto underdeveloped communities around the globe. So, think of the people in need in your local community and in other nations before you shove off all those unused or unwanted stuff into the trashcan next time.

Recycling Reduces Toxic E-Waste

Spruce trees in forestWhen we talk about recycling household and work place things, we tend to ignore or are less aware of how to deal with the electrical and electronic waste (sometimes called e-waste). E-waste is valuable as a source of secondary raw material but also toxic if disposed of improperly. Due to rapid technology change, obsolescent items have created a fast growing mass of electronic waste around the globe.

In order to reduce this, working TVs, monitors, computers, cell phones, batteries  and other consumer electronics can be sold or donated, thereby prolonging their useful life. Some new regulations, for example, the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive in the European Union makes businesses, manufacturers and retailers of electrical and electronics equipment responsible for making sure their goods do not end up in landfill or incineration, where the toxic chemicals, metals and associated solders, glues and plastics can cause both environmental and health problems. Repurposing electronic equipment involves dismantling of parts into metals, plastics and so on and individually processing them depending on the available technology.

In view of reducing environmental pollution and cutting down energy consumption, recycling is an important step to undertake. A sustainable lifestyle is the need of the times and we can very well adopt such beneficial changes in our daily life.

One Man’s Waste Can be Another Man’s Treasure

Hopefully this article has helped you realize just how important your efforts are. Not just to us, but to our kids, grand kids, and anyone that follows in our footsteps. Take care of your planet, and it will take care of you.


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About Alex Schenker

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50 comments

  1. It almost seems as though some people think that we have an unlimited about of resources. The truth is though, we are running out of many of those resources including many beautiful types of trees. Whether it's old kitchen cabinets or all those water bottles, recycling is more important than many people realize. What some people don't know is that many waste disposal facilities now sort through the trash to claim recyclables. However, this shouldn't be used as an excuse not to recycle. This process eats up tax dollars and recycling is something you can easily do at home.

    Not only can you set up bins to put your recyclables in as soon as you use an item, but you can find ways to reuse many things around your home. For example, plastic containers can be used for leftovers and a number of items can be used in craft projects. I have added so many items to my craft supplies that most people would have thrown away. Whether it's ribbons from candy boxes or even expensive candy boxes, I have found ways to recycle and reuse many items. Before you throw away that piece of “trash” think about how it could be reused and if it can't be place it in the recycle bin.

  2. When I started reading this, I was like, whoa, whoa.  First off, I did not realize that the world's population was increasing.  I really did not. That is a scary fact.  I don't know why I didn't realize this, actually I do.  I did hear that the population in China and other countries in Asia was growing and that the governments in those countries were doing things to control the population like making birth control mandatory after 2 kids or something but for some reason in my mind, I thought that was the end of it for some reason, but I don't know why that would be the end of something like that.  We've already done so much to our planet, I don't think there are enough resources for more people. 

    I think we are going in the right direction by trying to eliminate our dependency on oil and with more people buying hybrid cars.  I hope that we can even have all electric cars soon that don't have any need for gas at all and I also hope that the environment starts to change for the better soon as well.

  3. You should join the friends for change program at disneychannel.com/friends for change

  4. this is stupid. We r not aliens dumb people.

  5. Why do we have to recycle?

  6. There are a number of things that people blow off because they feel they have more important things to do. Recycling is one of those things. Everyone understands how important recycling is for the environment, yet many aren't willing to put in the extra effort to save their own planet. I'll admit that even I have fallen off the wagon when it comes to recycling. I started out strong, but soon let it slide. This weekend, I'd like to purchase a bin that makes it easier to recycle.

    I think one of my major problems is that I don't have trash pickup. This means not only having to take off the trash, but also bag up the recyclables to take off as well. I just wish it were easier. I know that isn't an excuse and it's up to me to get the job done.

    The good news is that I do try to reuse items whenever possible. For example, I take clothing that might have a stain or worn spot and reuse it to make crafts. I currently have a project I've been meaning to do where I'll line a basket with some old pajama material and top the edge with a ribbon from an old candy box to hold wash clothes in my bathroom.

  7.  

    It wasn't until a few years ago that I jumped on the recycling wagon. At first I was overwhelmed by cleaning my recyclables so that I didn't have to take off a handful of glass and plastic here and there. Since I don't have local trash pickup, that means I need to put more effort into recycling, but I'm so glad I do. However, I don't just focus on what can be recycled at the recycling center, I also focus on what I can recycle at home.

    One way I love to recycle things at home is to save anything that I might be able to use in a craft product later down the road. This might be ribbons from candy boxes or a blouse that got a hole in it but would make a great pillow. I also love to recycle by donating items I no longer use instead of tossing them in the trash. I also hope to have a compost bin once I get settled in my own place so that I can recycle unused portions of fruits and vegetables into compost for my garden. I feel that recycling is important because it shows respect to God for the home that He has given us. By recycling we are able to cut production so that less greenhouse gases are produced, which gives us a better planet.

  8. These days, I am sure that almost everyone has at least heard about recycling. In many different countries, all different types of recycling programs have been implemented. This ranges from those cute little yellow or blue or green bins that many communities have their citizens place paper and plastic recyclables in for curbside collection to bulk centers which accept a large variety of items.

    This article actually goes into great detail about the business of recycling, which is something that I think not many people have really given a lot of thought to. There are a number of recycling centers, which actually provide employment for a large number of people. It is a large and growing industry in its own right.

    I also found it interesting to think about the recycling of electronic products and reducing e-waste (as the article called these items). Our electronic equipment such as computers, TV's, monitors, cell phones and batteries should be taken care to dispose of properly. We may also want to consider donating them instead of just throwing them away. This will also help to reduce e-waste and even prolong their useful life.

  9. It's hard to break old habits. Most people were raising with one trash can in the house and everything went in there and then out to the curb or off to the dump. The idea of have four trash receptacles just seems like too much clutter. However, there are a number of systems that make it easier to store the containers so that your kitchen doesn't look like the city dump.

    Personally, I love the option of adding a long console table to the kitchen and sliding three bins under it  for the recyclables. You could then attach a piece of fabric to the front with Velcro to hid the bins, but still have easy access to them. This is just one option, there are systems you can purchase that are more expensive, but just as handy.

    I currently live in a very small, 1940s home and it has been difficult to find an option that works for us. We tried keeping bins on our deck with lids, but they didn't last long and we didn't like loading dirty containers into our car. I'm hoping that we can find something that works for our small home because this is an important issue to us.

  10. Adults older than the age of 35 are much more likely to be parents, and instilling a sense of environmental responsibility with their children seemed to be a priority with these groups.  Adults over 35 were also much more likely to be highly educated, with Master’s degrees or more.  Adults with more education were considerably more likely to be very concerned with the environment.

    Does all of this mean that only parents are more likely to be interested in recycling? Not at all. In fact many different groups and types of people from all walks of life were likely to be interested in recycling to some degree or another. Using polls and surveys to really make any kind of firm conclusions about such a personal decision is dangerous and generally not reliable.

    Importantly, it should be noted that, while answers in response to polls or surveys can provide clues and insight into the minds of Americans across the nation, these never tell the complete story.  The trends that polls show do not always tell of peoples’ upbringing, religious affiliations, and personal or professional experiences that may have shaped the way they think and act.  Thus conclusions may be drawn from the responses, but deeper insight into why or how people decide what they do must remain reserved.

    Further research also helped me to get an even clearer picture of additional benefits of recycling. I was fairly impressed with the entire process of what actually occurs when a product is recycled. The first step in the process is collection. Of course, the exact method of collection will depend upon your community. There are generally several acceptable methods for this, including curbside, drop off, buy back centers and deposit or refund programs. Check with your local authorities to see which options are offered in your area and what to do in order to get involved in these programs. Many times, the local waste management organization will provide people with bins to place all of their items. In other case, you may need to drive to a location which will accept your items. In some cases, you may even receive cash for doing this (that can be a nice fringe benefit).

    The next stage is the processing of all the items collected. This is usually the same regardless of which methods of collection were used. The items are sent to a materials recovery facility where they are sorted and prepared into marketable commodities. If this sounds like big business to you, it most certainly is. These items are actually bought and sold like commodities and their prices fluctuate daily.

    The next stage in the process is manufacturing. They are basically made into new products. Oftentimes, they are labeled with a symbol indicating that these new products have been created from recycled materials. The final stage in the process is to buy the new products which were created from the recycled materials and then the cycle repeats itself over and over.

  11. I have found that even if I did not recycle cans or reuse plastic containers, just the fact that I do the compost is something that makes a huge impact. I have saved so much trash from being dumped that I do not even need a trash service anymore. Since I make most of our meals from scratch now, almost all of our waste can go in the compost bin. There are no boxes or plastic bags to worry about because home made noodles do not come in box meals. I think if people could just see how much money they could save with composting alone, they might be more likely to put a bit more effort into the whole recycling concept.

    Money is the thing that talks to people. Maybe we need to focus on spreading the word about how much money people can make and save by recycling. Even if they don't care about the planet, they would care about the money in their pocket.

    I actually think it is pretty sad that we need to take that approach, but I for one am willing to do whatever it takes to make people see that they need to be putting some effort into this. Most people don't take action until if has a direct impact on them, so I guess it's time to let them know what that impact is.

  12. Recycling is something that so many people need to be aware of. There are so many different ways that you can easily recycle and do very little different in your daily life. Many communities offer recycling bins that allow you to save money on garbage bags while still helping the environment. There are so many different recycling products that are available now that will not only make your life easier but also help save the plant. There is no reason that everyone can’t do something to help.

    - Dan the Gardener

  13. Combining those who care a great deal and those who care a fair amount about the environment, the 45-54 demographic appears to be the clear winner in the percentage of concerned individuals. After that, the older age groups had the largest percentage of respondents who consider the environment to be a very important issue.  However, these also had lower percentages of respondents who considered the environment a fairly important issue, and therefore the combined percentage of those who care about the environment within this demographic is comparable to the total percentages from any of the youngest age brackets.

    You may be wondering by now what this all means.   Marketing research experts have the task of taking all this data, compiling graphs, and coming up with reasonable explanations for what the numbers say.  The 18-24 age demographic, for example, cited that they had not really thought about environmental issues much more often than any other age group, which suggests a reason why the lowest percentage from this group described themselves as highly concerned.  Taking this information into account, a marketing research expert might conclude therefore that targeting environmental awareness campaigns at young people would help them to make more informed choices, and as a consequence raise the concern of young people for the environment.

    Other information that is gathered reflects peoples’ attitudes and behaviors about environmental issues.  Certain issues rank more highly on peoples’ levels of awareness, as well as people thinking that certain issues were more important.  What issues about the environment do people care about?  Sustainable energy ranked highest among all groups, with alternative fuel sources as a prominent sub-category within this issue.  Global climate change, habitat restoration, water availability/conservation/management, local and national parks, and environmental regulations in business and manufacturing were the issues most often cited as important in the polls. 

    Younger age groups in the US, those in the two youngest age brackets, were much more likely to think that environmental regulations on business were too restrictive.  This attitude is largely a reflection of the desire of young people to have a stronger, more robust economy, and the view that many have about regulating business getting in the way of that.  Younger people were also more likely to think that the environment had improved in recent years, reinforcing the ideas held by these that environmental regulations are an unnecessary hindrance to business growth.  However, all of the other age groups, comprising adults aged 35-65+, thought overwhelmingly that the state of the environment was getting worse, and that regulations were either as strong as they need to be or could be even more restrictive for the sake of making environmental progress.

    The reasons that the experts speculate that older people care more strongly for the environment is because of time and experience.  People from the older age brackets were much more likely to have disposable income and extra time and education.  Many seemed to use these to take environmental actions.  These demographics most often cited recycling, gardening, composting, re-using grocery bags, and donating old clothes, toys, books, and dishes and so forth as actions taken for the environment.

  14. There was a time when people recycled everything, not to be green, but because it was necessary. Even in the South, people continue to reuse everything from butter containers to aluminum pie pans because not everyone can afford to rush out and purchase new items. For the most part though, we live in a society that prefers to throw things away without considered how they could be used for something else. People are even more likely to toss clothing that needs a simple mending than do the work themselves. It's really a shame to see how lazy and careless people have become.

    Personally, I try to reuse everything. If it's something that can't be reused, I recycle it. Yes, it does take more time than just tossing something, but it's worth it. After all, we're coming to a point where we're running out of many of today's resources. We need to conserve if we hope for anything to be left for our grandchildren.

    Even if you start small, it's important to get started. Start with plastic and then start recycling glass. Just get started. Purchase three bins and check your items to make sure they're recyclable before tossing them into a bin.

  15. I’ve been recently wondering…what age groups care the most about the environment?

    Well reading this article made me start thinking.  I mean the environment is huge on everyone’s mind these days.  We want to be good stewards and not destroy our own planet, yet the rate things are happening is terrifying to people.  At least everyone seems to be pitching in and at least doing something, but sometimes I wonder if all age groups are really going green together. 

    I feel like I see young people into it the most, but that could just be because of my social circles.  I finally started to realize that this was super important actually because if one age group was really not into recycling and other things, then those of us that know someone like this should make a point to show them easy ways to start making good choices for the planet.  I started doing some research and found some interesting statistics.

    Polls of Americans of all ages are constantly attempting to gauge what exactly it is that people care about most.  Issues that have been found to be of greatest interest Americans include health care, the economy, the Iraq war, terrorism, energy policy, and the environment.  In order to gauge how information affects different groups of people, including how information has an effect on people over time, demographics are taken along with polls.  This helps provide some explanation for why certain groups share certain beliefs.  It can also help in the attempt to target specific messages so that the messages will reach a specific audience.  Demographics taken during the polls include age, race, gender, household size, annual income, education level, and occupation.  When discussing age, the usual break-down is not by exact age but rather by age group.  Age groups for most adult-themed polls consist of: Under 18 years old, 18-24 years, 25-34 years, 35-44 years, 45-54 years, 55-64 years, and over 65 years of age.

    Educating the public about environmental issues is a major poll.  The demographics tell the tale of which Americans care most about the environment: Older adults and seniors, followed closely by middle-aged and younger adults.  The group aged 18-24 years responded with the lowest level of those who considered themselves highly concerned about environmental problems, although a much larger percentage than most demographics still considered themselves to be concerned a fair amount.  Those in the 25-34 age demographic tied the percentage level of highly concerned individuals with the percentage levels of the 35-44 and 45-54 age demographics.  The three-way tie percentage was still over ten percentage points higher than the youngest age group demographic.  The percentage who said they cared a fair amount was also the same for the 25-34 age group and the 35-44 age group.  Breaking away from them, the 45-54 age demographic had a much higher percentage that described themselves as interested a fair amount than any other demographic.

  16. What many people don't realize is that many cities sort trash before it is sent to the main dump for that area. However, that doesn't give us the excuse to toss everything in the trash. With a proper setup it takes literally minutes to sort items into recycling bins. If you do it throughout your day, it's a piece of cake. Yet, people don't do it.

    I think many people are under the misconception that everything is infinite, but it's not. We are running through our resources and more importantly we are doing terrible things to the planet and our ozone by not reusing products. While it does take energy to recycle items into new ones, it takes less energy than making new products from scratch.

    Personally, I like to think about the items I'm about to throw away. Is it something I can reuse? Can I use something in a craft project? What other uses does this product have? Don't mindlessly throw away items without thinking it through. Not only will you save the planet, but you'll also save money as well. Every time you reuse something, you're eliminated the need to buy something else. It's a win-win situation.

  17. It is too bad that it has to be pointed out that we need to recycle. Recycling should be something that people do out of habit or lifestyle, not because it is the new fad. But then again, if it has to be cool to be done, then let recycling be the coolest. There are just so many ways to do it that there is no reason not to. Whether you do it through reusing items or taking them somewhere to be recycled, everything can be used at least a second time around.

    I use Freecycle a lot. I also go to flea markets, yardsales and Goodwill. You will find bags of cans in my barn and cloth bags in my truck for shopping with. I even have a compost bin for recycling organic waste. There just really is not limit to how you can reduce the amount of waste you produce. And you aren't just doing something good for the environment. People who sell items to be reused might really need that money. I know places like Goodwill provide jobs and hope for those who didn't have either. Too many people think you have to collect piles of garbage to recycle. It really isn't as hard as people make it.

  18. I found the best part of this article to be the facts and statistics about recycling. I would imagine that most people will learn something from this list. For example, studies have shown that more than 60 percent of the trash that is thrown away could be recycled. To me, this is amazing. If everyone were able to do this and reduce their waste by up to 60 percent that would be a huge effect!

    Another really interesting fact is that about 16 percent of a product cost is spent on its packaging. This is a huge area in which makers and manufacturers must simply begin doing a better job, since this cost is just wasted if recyclable materials are not used.

    I also learned that 80 percent of a vehicle can be recycled. I wonder how expensive it is to recycle those components. I also wonder which 20 percent is not able to be recycled.

    Bottles, cans and containers have always been a big target for recycling. Aluminum cans can be recycled and the process is very fast. Glass can be recycled completely and put to good use.

  19. This article really opened my eyes to the need for recycling. I admit to being somewhat lax in my efforts recently, especially when I feel tired and do not want to make the effort to sort out all my garbage. After reading only the first part about how many trees could be saved by only recycling the paper, I have been scared straight, you might say. Recycling should be a habit, rather than a special event like I was making it. I had no concept of how many resources were saved by recycling as opposed to just throwing things away, and no real concept of how many resources could be saved by recycling, either. Honestly, I would say I am not alone in having very little awareness of where trash goes when I throw it away. Despite having a vague awareness that recycling was a ‘good thing’, before reading this I did not exactly know what good it was doing. When laid all out for me like in this article, I cannot now help but think of the fact that throwing away one glass bottle was essentially wasting the energy it took to read the article and write this response.

  20. When we think of recycling as a term to discuss or ponder, we tend to think of ways that we can reuse things or how we can change items from being something we would dispose of to being something that we can make use of in a different way than it was originally intended. Of course these are all great things to think about and put into action, but there is something else to consider when it comes to recycling and going green in the first place. Why not think before we buy?

    I live in the country and recycling takes a good deal of effort. Of course we do our part because I have always been someone who recycles and it seems that I have always been trying to get closer to nature. I want my son to do the same. That's why I find myself questioning my purchases before I ever make them. I ask myself how long I will actually use whatever it is I am thinking about buying and if I really need it. I also buy in bulk as much as possible to reduce waste from packaging. That bulk purchase even helps me to reuse other items since I need smaller containers. Recycling isn't the way to end a purchase. It's the way to start one.

  21. I completely agree with this article. Recycling is not just for the tree-hugging hippies anymore. There has been research done when it comes to recycling. Recycling is not only beneficial for our environment, recycling also creates jobs.

    All it took for me was one class in Environmental Science to show me that it’s good to recycle. Composting reduces the amount of trash around us. Since a good majority of what people throw away is food, shouldn’t we compost all of our food scraps to cut down on waste? All a person needs to start compost is worms, dirt and food scraps.

    We all know it’s respectable to protect the environment because this is the only planet Earth we have. We all want better for our offspring, so how come we pollute our environment? Some of the things we rely upon are polluting to our environment. For instance, gasoline causes air pollution. Factories produce quite a bit of air pollution as well and so does tobacco smoke.

    Do we want better for our children? If we do, we need to change how we live on Earth.

  22. There are those that act as if recycling is a new idea or the latest craze. I find that to be a sad indication of how our society thinks. Recycling is something that was long forgotten and finally revived again. Technology has made us into such a disposable society that we actually now go out of our way to recycle and tend to have to make a big deal of it because there are so many people that just do not understand the concept at all.

    I find it especially difficult to convey the message to the younger generation. In my house, when something breaks, we fix it. We do not just throw it away. I try to get my son to think beyond the moment so that when we shop, we try to limit the amount of waste we create and we try not to buy things we really do not need, with a few exceptions. The thing is, we are telling children they have to put some effort in to save the planet, but we buy them things are are going to be outdated within the next year or so. It does not do any good to perpetuate a cycle and try to fix it at the same time.

  23. Some studies and research have also shown that recycling is big business. There are a number of firms that are involved in the research and development side of recycling (in addition to those that actually start and support grass root level programs). There are even companies which help to create new products and materials from recycled materials. Some businesses are also involved in creating mechanical and chemical processes and systems to facilitate recycling. In fact, many states are able to put an actual number on the economic impact of recycling. For example, Ohio states that the recycling industry is directly responsible for almost 100,000 jobs 22.5 billion dollars in sales and 3.6 billion dollars in annual payrolls. They also note that landfills and incinerators provide far less jobs as a result of these factors.

    Many common products are able to be recycled. If you are in doubt, just look on the container. Somewhere, either on the bottom or sides, there should be a number from 1 to 7. This indicates how easy it is to recycle that particular container. Those marked with the number 1 are the easiest; those marked 7 are the most difficult to recycle. Of course, your local area may also influence what you are capable of recycling as well. Just check with your local authorities to be sure.

    Another way to help is making a point of looking for products that have been made with recycled material. As you are shopping take note of the recycled material symbol. This should appear on many familiar products such as crayons, paper towels, plastic containers, paint, wallpaper, cardboard boxes, hoses, ink cartridges and even garbage cans.

    Another major point of the article was to reduce the amount of trash you actually create. This includes trash of all kinds, but especially trash of a non recyclable nature. This is hugely important when you consider the fact that the average North American will throw away 600 times their weight in a lifetime (that is over 90,000 pounds of trash for a 150 pound person). However, there are some very simple and easy ways to reduce the amount of waste that we each produce. For starters, make the decision to dump all those paper towels. Substitute with cloth towels and sponges. Take your own reusable bags to the store when you go shopping. Some stores even sell these and a few may give you a small discount for using them. It is very easy to just get a bunch of these and keep them in your car as needed. Buying things in bulk will also save on the excess paper, plastic and other packaging.

  24. One of the best reasons to recycle is saving money. Of course, people who recycle are also usually interested in living a more healthy type of lifestyle and concerned about the planet and saving our resources. These are all wonderful reasons and this article even carries them forward by providing some tips on how to make recycling a part of your actual routine.

    Personally, I have always found it more difficult to recycle than it has been promised. Certainly, I put the paper and plastic into my respective bins and take them out to the curb at the appointed day and time. However, I have always felt like I am not doing enough. I suppose this article has now given some more actionable steps, such as starting to compost and to begin bringing my own reusable cloth bag to the grocery store.

    Another thing to do involves looking for packaging and even products that have been made from recycled materials. Also, trying hard to buy only items which are recyclable, or at least biodegradable. The bottom line is that the author has provided a number of actionable steps which can be used by anyone starting today.

  25. Recycling is an activity that is vital to the future of our planet. Aside from making things better on the environment, there are a number of additional reasons to recycle. For starters, the world population is continuing to increase (although some studies would dispute this). Each additional person added to the planet produces more and more waste that only adds to the accumulated mess already present. Recycling also simply makes sense. The whole idea is that we should take materials that have been used and convert them into a more usable form once again, instead of using up more (scarce) resources.

    In short, recycling conserves natural resources and energy. Obviously, by reusing something its life is extended and we do not need to dip further into the scarce resource pool. Landfill space is also saved, since waste is reduced. Pollution is also reduced, including water and air. Additionally, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced (these are believed in many circles to lead to global warming, although recent studies have placed these conclusions in doubt).

    A further consideration relates to recycling as a business itself. Recycling is big business and there are a number of companies involved in this aspect. Therefore, every time an individual makes a decision to recycle, it further supports businesses within your local community.

    As we continue to follow the sequence of recycling to its logical conclusions, we also see that making products from recycled materials has additional benefits. It slows the depletion of resources which cannot be replaced. This is true for things like metals, oil, and natural gas and even reduces the need for new mining and drilling operations. It also reduces the need for agriculture and timber production, increasing the amount of undisturbed and pristine land.

    Based on this article, I did some further research. This led me to some further statistics and information. It takes twenty times more energy to make aluminum can from bauxite ore than from a recycled aluminum can. Additionally, this act of recycling will save enough energy to run a computer for 3 hours. These factors also lead to reduced costs and even lower dependence on foreign suppliers of energy. There will also be less fossil fuel to burn, further reducing air and water pollution. Furthermore, there will be less runoff from mining operations, farms, soil erosion and the toxic chemicals which are released when raw materials are processed.

  26. I had to laugh a bit at the title. How could someone ask why recycling is important? It just makes me think how the mentality has changed over the years. When I was a kid we hardly recycled because we really didn't have anything to recycle as we think of it today and we never would have used that term for what we did. We bought things that were worth their money and we kept them in good shape. We didn't buy a lot of boxed or canned goods because we ate home cooked meals. And as far as plastic went, we hardly had anything that was made of it. Everything was metal then.

    Today my son and I do recycle. We have a garden and everything that is able to be turned into compost goes right out in the compost bin. If you ever really want to see how much you waste, start a compost bin. It takes more than half of our waste, And I am working hard to see that I can cut down on the other half. We recycle cans and anything else metal. In fact, the only thing we don't really recycle is plastic, but even then we do reuse some of it.

  27. Why do we even have the option of whether or not we should recycle? If we do not recycle, we do waste. It all seems pretty simple to me when it comes right down to it. I am not one to promote government involvement in anything, but if people are not smart enough to try to take care of our planet, them maybe they do need some guidance.

    We reuse just about everything in my house. If we can't use it the way it is, we modify it so it can be used in some other way. When we have no further use for it, it goes in the compost pile if at all possible. This way we know we are not actually wasting anything at all. And I am constantly amazed by the things that are good for a compost pile.

    If we can't reuse it, we recycle it. I try to make it fun by taking the cans in and using the money for a fun activity or challenging the kids to see who can get the plastics in the recycle bin the fastest. I try not to buy too many things that have to be recycled or thrown in the trash in the first place, but if I do, I feel like I need to follow through and do the best I can for the planet and my family.

  28. learnin summit new

    I have been doing course work for the past few weeks and it is based on how much recycling is done locally as well as nationally. I have not only discovered that the government actually does anything to reduce the amount of pollution, but I have actually realized how much the local councilors are doing to reduce the amount of household waste produced by us. What the government has actually done is that they have told the local councils to increase the amount of waste recycled to about 50% or summit or they will increase the charges everywhere to actually recycle. They just about pay the councils. the government has just about got the brains to make enough profit so they can become as rich as they could.

  29. Oakville Landscapers

    Recycling has been a common practice for most of human history, with recorded advocates as far back. During periods when resources were scarce, archeological studies of ancient waste dumps show less household waste—implying more waste was being recycled in the absence of new material.

  30. an environmentally conscious drifter

    Recycling is a MUST in today's world where everyone creates so much waste every single day. Do your part to reduce your consumption, compost as much as you can and then recycle the rest – you will be amazed as to how little trash you actually have if you truly embrace these simple steps.

  31. This article is a good primer about not only why we should recycle but ways to do so. For example, the author uses the example of everyone recycling just a single copy of the New York Times. This alone would save over 75,000 trees. I like that idea, although I think starting smaller would be more practical.

    The idea that I liked best from this article was to try and create ways in which you can actually reduce the amount of waste that you create in the first place. Obviously, if there is less there that even needs to be recycled, then things will automatically be better off. This means doing things like bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store, buying products in bulk and even trying to go as paperless as possible. This includes having bills and statements sent by electronic mail instead of postal mail. The author also mentions avoiding the use of things like disposable paper plates, cups and the like (although there are actually green alternatives for all of these items). Reusing wrapping paper and start composting are other ideas to reduce our waste.

  32. it is vary useful to bulletin boards ideas.

  33. It seems as though a lot of people were on board with recycling for a few years, but have since lost interest. I'll admit that it can be time-consuming to clean and sort everything so that it doesn't smell or attract ants. However, what is more important, spending a little time on recycling or watching 30 more minutes of TV?

    If you want to recycle, but feel overwhelmed, start with buying three large bins to sort your recyclables into: one for plastic, one for paper, and one for glass. If you drink soda or beer, you will also want one for aluminum cans. These should be placed near your trash can so that you can quickly sort items that can be recycled and those that can't.

    If you don't like the look of the bins, you can always purchase a console table to cover the bins and attach fabric to the front to further hide the bins. This not only hides the bins, but also gives you more workspace in the kitchen.

    Remember, the more we recycle, the less waste we have to throw in landfills. This not only prevents an overflow of trash, but also ensures that we have more resources to work with for years to come.

  34. Even though almost everyone in the world thinks that recycling is important, I think that there are still a lot of people that want to do the right thing, but don't know how to begin.  The first thing that you need to do to make a change in life is motivation.  I think this article is a great starter article for people to read.  Like if you're a young person, and your parents aren't recycling or doing good for the environment, this would be a great article for them.  If you've got a coworker that does nothing for the environment and cares nothing about going green, this article breaks it down and makes it simple. 

    Though there are some great environmental movies and articles out there, it can be hard to get someone who doesn't care about the environment to sit still and pay attention through all the technical mumbo jumbo.  This article is delightfully void of any of that, making it an extremely useful tool that you can use to change someone else's thinking and in turn do even more for the environment than you are already doing.

  35. First of all, great article. I can’t believe that this is even an argument for some people. Of course recycling is important. Just take a guided tour of a landfill once and you’ll see why. Or accompany a geologist on a tour of a city and have them show you what man’s impact is on the earth.

    I see a similarity between the “recycling doubters” and those that always argue that global warming (climate change) is cyclical. It doesn’t matter if it’s cyclical or not – maybe it is. The fact is that people, in the millions, are being displaced and losing their homes because of it. So the cause is less important than is the call to action. If we don’t act, we’re contributing to the deaths of millions of our brethren.

  36. The virtues of recycling have been touted for so long now it seems, that it almost goes without saying that it is a good thing to do.  However, there are ways that it impacts our lives that are less than intuitive and need a little explanation.  One way I see recycling as a positive impact on our lives is that ultimately, it will save us time and money in finding new resources to produce new things.

    A simple yard sale is actually a form of recycling and a way to keep things from ending up in a landfill and requiring the production of more stuff.  A couch or a chair or a pair of pants can all be useful to somebody else providing they are in usable condition and rather than discarding this item, make it available to somebody else who may need and want it.  If it seems simple, that’s because it is.  A little effort in discarding something can make a big difference.

    Keep this kind of thinking in mind the next time you want to clean house.  It will seriously affect the world.

  37. Who is this written by?

  38. This article is very helpful…:)

  39. Great post. Recycling is good. Over the years I’ve ordered dozens of catalogs that were printed with less than expected quality, some being downright scrappy. A couple months ago my company in Hobe Sound FL, printed some catalogs with PCA Delta and they were great. I’ve been printing with them ever since. They show care for the environment by using soy based inks, plus recycled papers are available upon request. If you need items printed on recycled paper go to PC Delta Printing, I strongly recommend them.

  40. an environmentally conscious drifter

    I am looking for a company that can turn plastic bottles and waste plastic into a foam or I would like to purchase a machine that can turn waste plastic into a foam.

  41. This is so good.

  42. It is easy to feel like, from a global perspective, there is no real reason to recycle because of how vast the Earth is and how relatively little impact one individual can have.  Thinking of this in finite terms, that is not entirely far from the truth.  But with the population of the Earth growing as it is, we need to be educating ourselves and further generations on how to live in a manner that will not destroy the world we live in.

    Take a single family unit with two parents and three children.  Those three children, if the learn good habits from their parents are likely to have families of their own someday and will likely pass the recycling and conservation habit along to their children.  By the time those children are reaching adulthood and starting families of their own, the potential for impact from the first two parents in the family tree had gone up exponentially.  Continuing down this line of thinking shows just how important it is now to provide a good example.  Make sure to recycle for the greater good of us all.

  43. There is a song about recycling called Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Reduce Reuse Recycle Your Things) on the 2011 Eco Music Challenge by Sold Out Lies. You may want to check it out.

  44. I’m wondering just how effective community recycling programs really are. I know in my community, I called in and the city said I could throw any # of plastic (1-7) in the recycling bin. However, my friends are convinced the city’s machines are only able to handle #1 and #2, and something about only containers that have a top that is smaller than the bottom.

    Does anyone have feedback on their local recycling programs and which #’s of plastic and materials they support?

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think we’re all getting conned into thinking we’re recycling when really it’s all ending up in a giant trash dump.

  45. Learning to reuse items isn't just good for the environment, it's also a key to survival. I understand the importance of being prepared for any situation. Part of being prepared means knowing how to make the most of everything you have. If civilization crumbled tomorrow, could you make the most of the items you have on hand?

    Regardless if it's a survival situation or daily life, recycling and reusing items can make a big difference to our planet. Sadly, we live in a society where people would rather throw things away than try to reuse them. I believe everything has potential. Let's say you have an end table that the kids have ruined with cans of soda and you have some broken and chipped dishes. Don't throw either item away! Go to the hardware store and purchase some mortar to make a mosaic table. You'll have something new in your home and nothing goes to the landfill.

    Recycling is important on many different levels. Not only can it save you money, but it can help you make the most of a bad situation and it's essential for the survival of our planet.

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