The Benefits of Recycling
Bobbi Jo Rave
THE BENEFITS OF RECYCLING 2 Introduction
Is recycling beneficial? Yes. Here are some reasons why recycling is beneficial. Recycling is the process that takes used materials and turns them into new products. First of all, this process reduces the amount of waste in the landfills which helps the environment. This would help with using the land for other beneficial reasons and also reduce the pollution risks of our environment. There is already too much land that has been taken over by these landfills. Secondly, recycling also promotes environmental awareness. It’s important to be aware of what the waste is doing to our environment. We wouldn’t want our generations to live in an unhealthy environment. We need to show the future that reusing materials saves energy, provides resources and can also provide more job opportunities. Third of all, recycling will also help with the economical aspect by providing job opportunities, reducing the cost of waste disposal and also providing more land for other beneficial resources. This would be a great benefit for people who cannot find jobs. The environmental, political, and economical situations would all benefit from the recycling industry.
THE BENEFITS OF RECYCLING 3 Abstract
What would happen if we became over run by trash? We probably wouldn’t be living in a healthy environment then. Recycling promotes the reuse of recycled materials to make new products. Most products are made with recyclable materials like plastics, glass, paper, metals, and even rubber can be recycled. All these materials can prevent the landfills from filling up and will also prevent the usage of land. Not everyone stops to think about what happens to the land when garbage is buried in it. Garbage is pollution and when it’s buried in the ground it causes the soil to be contaminated. It pollutes our beautiful natural water resources too. If landfills were reduced with recycling then we would be able to help stop global warming. Trees are cut down every day to make way for new landfills. Trees would be saved also by recycling paper products. If we all recycled, we could prevent this from happening.
THE BENEFITS OF RECYCLING 4 Pollution in Our Environment
One of the many reasons are environment is polluted is because of household waste. Not many realize this but household waste gives off harmful gases if not properly disposed of. Improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health (HHW, 2013. Para. 2). According to EPA (2013), “Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be household hazardous waste” (Para. 1). These products such as paints, oils, batteries, and pesticides all contain harmful ingredients that require special disposal. There are options in the communities to be able to dispose of these materials safely and effectively. There is local environmental, health or solid waste agencies that have information on how to properly dispose of these materials also.
Another reason is the improper disposal of electronic products. Electronic products take up a great deal of room in the landfills. The metals, plastics and glass that electronics are made from are not as easy to dispose of. It will take many years to decompose in a landfill and meanwhile they will let off harmful gases that will pollute the air during this process. There’s a better chance for the environment if these products were recycled or donated. Take computers or laptops for instance, instead of buying new, they can always be upgraded or if that’s not an option they can be donated so that others can have the same opportunity. According to EPA (n.d), “Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials” (Para. 1).
Landfills are made so that we can dispose of waste. But the issue at hand is that they can be hazardous too. Before we realized that the landfills weren’t properly taken care of, they had leaked chemicals and gases into our environment. It wasn’t until the more modern times that they started to worry about the human and environment health risks. Even today there still is a BENEFITS OF RECYCLING 5 risk of these landfills contaminating the environment. EPA has said, “Modern landfills are well- engineered facilities that are located, designed, operated, and monitored to ensure compliance with federal regulations” (Para.1). Many of the new landfills are equipped to collect the harmful gases and convert them into energy. But honestly is that enough?
We need to recognize the issues of having these landfills. Landfills are there, but we wouldn’t need them if we recycled. We would be able to reduce the risk of exposing our environment to harmful pollution if more products were recycled properly. And we wouldn’t need to use the land in harmful ways to do so.
According to EPA (2014), “In 2011, Americans generated about 250 million tons of trash and recycled and composted almost 87 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 34.7 percent recycling rate” (Para. 2). Imagine if we recycled more? EPA also said, “This prevented the release of approximately 183 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the air in 2011- equivalent to taking 34 million cars off the road for a year” (Para. 1). That’s amazing right? It should be and if we recycled all materials then those numbers would be much greater. Environmental Awareness
Recycling does raise environmental awareness. Raising awareness will lead better lives and guarantee a healthier future. With the way things are going, it is very important to acknowledge the importance of recycling. It’s important for our generations to come. We wouldn’t want our generations to live in an unhealthy environment. If we start raising the awareness on recycling now, it will fit into the world like it was meant to be there. We need to show the future that reusing materials saves energy, provides resources, reduces pollution, and can also provide more job opportunities. There are so many benefits to raising awareness; saving trees and land, saving our water sources, providing energy sources and most importantly human health. The reasons alone should be enough to motivate people to recycle. The environment BENEFITS OF RECYCLING 6 would be a much healthier one if we all chose to recycle.
According to an article in the National Geographic, (Zeller.Jr., 2008, para. 1). “Consider the true cost of a product over its entire life—from harvesting the raw materials to creating, consuming, and disposing of it—and the scale tips dramatically in recycling’s favor”. The in National Geographic uses data from recent studies to prove recycling is better for the environment because it keeps trash from going into landfills where it sits buried or burns and emits toxic fumes into the environment. Even though it cost recycling companies more money to recycle one’s trash than to make any financial profits, and the large trucks that pick up the recyclables will emit carbon dioxide and require more consumption of energy, it still makes more sense to recycle considering all the world’s trash. “The short answer is: Yes” (Zeller.Jr., 2008, para. 1).
An interesting point in this article is that the United States is behind on making production companies responsible in sharing the costs for the recycling burden “extended producer responsibility,” such as in Europe known as The Packaging Waste Directive of 1994. In Europe production companies share the costs for recycling because so much of it comes from excessive packaging. The Unites States also exports its share of products globally and uses packaging materials, such as water bottles that require excessive packaging for safe arrival. (Zeller.Jr., 2008)
Supporting the Economy
Recycling benefits the economy by reducing expenditure in other ways. Through recycling, the communities can reduce their waste disposal costs. Also through the recycled materials, communities can offset the cost of their waste disposal and thereby reduce their expenditure. Acres of landfill space can be saved and be diverted for other uses. Saving on the
BENEFITS OF RECYCLING 7 landfill space can generate revenue and can be used for other functions that can be profitable. Saving the space on landfills can mean savings by the millions or it could mean earnings. This would be profitable for the economy to be able to use the land as a beneficial resource. When you recycle, job opportunities are created. Did you know that recycling creates more jobs than waste disposal? According to Recycling Facts.com, (2009-2013, Para. 9)” Dumping 10,000 tons of waste in a landfill creates six jobs while recycling 10,000 tons of waste creates 36 jobs”. All these new opportunities would help people be able to work and be able to provide for their families. And in the United States, according to the U.S Recycling Economic Information Study, there are more than 56,000 recycling and reuse establishments in US and they employ approximately 1.1 million people (Recycling Facts.com, 2009-2013). These jobs opened up for positions like material sorters, dispatchers, truck drivers, sales representatives, process engineers and even chemists. People would be able to provide services for the environment and also help the economy at the same time. It couldn’t get any better than that. Recycling would be absolutely beneficial in this aspect. Conclusion
Recycling all things that can be reusable will be well worth saving the environment. Who would have known what would have happened to the environment if we didn’t already have recycling now. We would probably all be digging our way through garbage every day. People need to take recycling seriously and look at all the positive possibilities that could come from this. Good things would come from making people aware of what the environment, the economy, and the political situations could be like. This beautiful country that we are blessed with should be cherished as much as possible. Minimizing dangerous landfills and creating cost effective waste management systems will lead us to a successful society. Recycling is the beneficial way to go.
BENEFITS OF RECYCLING 8 References
US EPA.(2014, January 10). Landfills. Municipal Solid Waste. Retrieved January 15, 2014, from Http://www.epa.gov/epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/landfill.htm Recycling Facts.(2009-2013). Recycling Benefits to the Economy. Retrieved January 15, 2014, from Http://www.all-recycling-facts.com/recycling-benefits.html Zeller,Tom Jr.(2008, January). Recycling: The Big Picture. Why Recycle?, Pages 3. Retrieved January 15, 2015, from http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2008/01/high-tech-trash/recycling-text