The word recycling has been on everyone’s lips lately, as news stories and social media posts reference a global waste crisis and a broken system. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the negative information and be discouraged from doing your part to reduce the amount of trash we produce. But if you take a closer look at the bigger picture, there are countless reasons why it’s still worth it to recycle.
The most obvious reason to recycle is that it helps the environment. When materials are recycled, they are diverted from landfills, incinerators and other disposal methods that can leach harmful chemicals into the soil and water. This means less land needs to be dedicated to waste management, which in turn cuts down on the use of natural resources.
Recycling also helps save energy. Creating new products from recycled materials takes significantly less energy than creating them from raw materials, which requires growing or mining those materials. The first step in the recycling process is sorting, and this can be done by hand or with machines depending on the size of the material.
Once the materials are separated they need to be transported to a processing facility where they can be turned into new, usable items. This can be done with trucks, trains, ships or planes. Once the material is made into new products, it can be used for everything from paper airplanes to building materials.
Another important reason to recycle is that it creates jobs. The more people there are working in the recycling industry, the easier it is for the economy to grow. This is because it cuts down on the cost of purchasing materials from abroad. It also helps to create a sense of community by connecting people who share the same goals and values, such as caring for the environment.
Finally, recycling provides a way to make America self-sufficient by tapping into a domestic source of materials. It supports American manufacturing and conserves valuable resources that would otherwise be exported to foreign markets. This makes the country more resilient in times of economic uncertainty.
There are many things you can do to help increase the rate of recycling in your home, school or office. Educate yourself on what you can and cannot recycle by reading up on how each material is processed. Start by making two containers for trash and recycling, labeling one “Recycling” and the other “Trash.” If you don’t have a designated bin or cart at work or school, consider setting one up yourself and encouraging others to follow your lead. You can also volunteer to organize a recycling program at your workplace or school, and make sure that everyone knows what goes in each container by posting a list of acceptable items. If you’re looking for more ways to get involved, there are tons of online resources that can point you in the right direction.