Recycling is not a modern concept. According to RecyclingCenters.org, pre-industrial Europeans were recycling bronze and other precious metals, while the British repurposed dust and ash from wood and coal fires to be used in brick-making. In the United States, conserving and recycling materials became a necessity during the Great Depression and World War II.
Today, many communities and cities in the United States have recycling programs, including drop-off sites and curbside programs. But have you ever wondered why recycling is such a good idea? Here are 10 reasons to consider.
- Energy conservation. It's simple math. It takes less energy to recycle most materials than it takes to create new materials. Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to power a computer for 30 minutes, according to the Glass Packaging Institute.
- Waste reduction = consumer savings. The average American tosses about 4.4 pounds of garbage daily. By recycling, you can reduce your garbage output, saving on waste management fees.
- Landfill reduction. Recycling equals less waste, which means less is dumped into landfills. Sending less waste to landfills reduces the risk of toxic leaks and other environmental issues.
- Reduces toxic chemical usage. According to the RecyclingExperts.org, "Making products from already refined waste materials reduces, and often avoids altogether, the need for manufacturers to use toxic chemicals."
- Reduces water pollution. When products are made from recycled materials, it creates less water pollution than when products are made with newly manufactured materials.
- Saves valuable resources. NorthCarolinaForestry.org reports that the average American uses about 700 pounds of paper products each year. Recycling paper helps valuable resources lumber and trees to be used to their fullest potential without excess waste.
- Helps keep wildlife safe. Recycling and using recycled materials can actually reduce damage done to wildlife habitats. These animal homelands can remain untouched and safe from human pollution and destruction.
- New products. The more we recycle, the more new products can be made from the recycled materials. It becomes a continuous cycle benefiting the environment and the consumer.
- New jobs. The recycling industry is continually growing. With this growth, more jobs are made available. According to the EPA, the recycling industry creates about five times as many jobs as the landfill industry.
- Economic booster. Recycling can be an economic booster. States, cities and towns benefit from new jobs recycling can bring to their communities. In addition, local companies can use the raw materials generated from recycled products to make new products, saving natural resources and energy.