Recycling has been a big part of our living styles for some time. By the start of the twenty first century, separating recyclable items from household trash was a part of life for most Americans. (Joseph) Why should we recycle? Is it a waste of time? What do we recycle? How do we recycle? It is said that recycling has many benefits. But most of all recycling benefits not only our environment but individuals also.
Recycling is the process of turning used products into raw materials that can be used to make new products. (Ackerman) The purpose of recycling is to conserve natural resources and reduce pollution. Recycling reduces energy consumption, since it generally takes less energy to recycle a product than to make a new one. Recycling causes less pollution than manufacturing a new product, and conserves raw materials. Recycling also decreases the amount of waste sent to landfills or incinerators. (Ackerman) Although people have always reused things, recycling as we know it today emerged as part of the modern environmental movement.
We recycle because it is good for the environment. To encourage recycling many communities also charge the residents for the quantity of trash put out for collection. A number of school systems have instituted environmental education programs to increase environmental awareness among their children. The primary goals of these programs are to increase environmental knowledge, instill proenviromental attitudes, and encourage proenviromental behaviors. (Smith) About ninty percent of the material going to landfills has a market value. Given today's economy, we wont be burrying that value for long.
The level of energy consumption is directly related to the individuals knowledge of energy conservation activities. (Nyamwange) Recycling conserves natural resources, it reduces the amount of waste that is buried or burnt. Perhaps the most valuable benifit of recycling is the saving in energy and reduction in greenhouse gases and pollution that result when scrap materials are subsituted for virgin feedback. Recycling also reduces emmissions of pollutants that can cause smog, acid rain, and the contamination of water ways. If done right, there is no doubt that recycling saves energy and raw materials, and reduces pollution. But as well as trying to recycle more, it is also important to try to recycle better. As technologies and materials evolve, there is room for improvement and cause for optimism.
We recycle lots of different items. Everyone know that we should recycle plastic, glass, alumimum and paper or at least, we know we're supposed to. (Walsh) Top three recycables are paper plastic and glass. But what about food scraps? It's a rare service in the U.S., less than three percent of the more than Thirty million tons of organic waste produced annually is recycled. ( Walsh ) Food scraps are a recent focus for recyclers in part because, unlike glass and plastic, organic waste will decompose once it's put in the ground. But that becomes a problem in municpal landfills. As buried food breaks down in these oxygen-free enviroments, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas that has a warming effect twenty-three times as potent as carbon dioxide. Financially, organic recycling is a no brainer. It's cheaper in many areas to recycle food waste than to consign it to valuable landfill space and the compost can be sold as organic fertilizer. ( Walsh )
Recycling recovered materials is simple for metals and glass. They can be melted down, reformed, and reused. Paper, the most important recycled material, must be mixed with water, and sometimes de-linked, to form a pulp that can be used in papermaking. Plastics recycling requires an expensive process of seperation of different resins.
Recycling aluminium can reduce energy consumption by as much as ninty-six percent. Aluminium requires ninty-six percent less energy to make from recycled cans than it does to process from bauxite. Recycled glass uses only about twenty-one percent less energy, but still comes out ahead. Recycled plastic bottles use seventy-six percent less energy and newsprint about fourty-five less . (Hutchinson) Plenty of old bottles and cans are recycled into more of the same. But these everyday materials also get transformed into roads, carpets, bike parts, and other products. ( Joseph )
Convience is a factor in recycling. (Nyamwange) Lots of communities now offer curbside recycling . All americans have to do is put the recycables in the bins and set them at curbside on pick up day. Another way is that lots of communities have set up recycling centers. You can locate the center closest to you and drop all. Even with metals and aluminiums, a person can take to a recycling center and get cash back. Schools have also set up centers for families to recycle. Know what is recyclable and save it.
Recycling can be as easy as throwing the items into the trash can. Wither one decides to recycle or not, each choice affects many. Even though people think it isn't a big deal not to recycle, affects them and the environment. People all over the world don't recycle due to the lack of knowledge of how and what to save. The internet is one of the biggest information booths available.
Ackerman, Frank, and Emily Monosson. "Recycling." N.p., 11 Apr. 2008. Web. 09 Feb. 2011. <http://www.eoearth.org>. Hutchinson, Alex. "Is Recycling Worth It?" Popular Mechanics Dec. 2008: 68-76. Academic Search Premier. Web. 09 Feb. 2011. Joseph, Pat. "Recycling Resurrected." Sierra Nov.-Dec. 2005: 47. Academic Search Premier. Web. 09 Feb. 2011. Nyamwange, Monica. "Public Perception Of Startegies for Increasing Participation in Recycling Programs." Journal of Enviroment Education Summer 1996: 19-22. Academic Search Premier. Web. 09 Feb. 2011. Smith, Jeffery M., Christine Rechenberg, Larry Cruey, Sue Magness, and Peggy Sandman. "The Impact of Recycling Eduction." Education Winter 1997: 262. Academic Search Premier. Web. 09 Feb. 2011. Walsh, Bryan. "Recycling Food Scraps." Time 23 June 2008: 116. Academic Search. Web. 09 Feb. 2011.