As far as the population in the world is growing, every person brings the significant quantity of waste to the planet throughout his/her lifespan. Only in New York, people produce so much litter in one day that it is enough to fill the whole Empire State building. However, if every individual repurposed the copy of the newspaper “The New York Times”, it would be possible to save 75,000 trees (Schenker, 2014). Nowadays, natural resources and energy are being used too fast: every second, rapid deforestation destroys the forests by producing tons of waste. The process of recycling is essential to the environment as it can improve it in multiple ways. This paper discusses all the environmental benefits of recycling as well as presents the new and creative ways of this process.
Recycling is a process that includes collecting and processing used materials that would be thrown away as litter or trash and making new products out of them (Schenker, 2014). As a rule, a recyclable product turns back into its raw form to create a new and usually different thing. All recycling attempts will significantly decrease the amount of additional waste that might harm the planet as well as future generations. As natural resources are limited on the planet; therefore, humans must make the most efforts to save, recycle, and reuse things whenever it is possible.
The Importance of Recycling
There are many advantageous reasons for incorporating recycling into the daily human routine from personal activities to a global benefit. Recycling human waste makes people more responsible when they do it. According to the research, individuals who do recycling instinctively often reduce buying unwanted goods at the supermarket (Schenker, 2014). Such people usually think about the ways of utilizing the packaging or used thing before they buy it. As a result, humans save a major amount of money and make their contributions to protecting the planet on which they live.
Additionally, individuals, some companies, and governing bodies can be proud of the way they minimize their waste because these actions help to decrease the damage to the global environment. Also, they make the Earth a better place for life. This is a direct way how every human being can pay for his/her living on the planet.
The Benefits of Recycling
One of the most important reasons for recycling is its help in reducing pollution. The manufacturing process of various goods produces waste that seriously pollutes the environment. For instance, chemicals that are used in the manufacture cause water pollution, especially in cases when the soiled water is not purified appropriately before getting into the environment. Producing energy, power plants emit gasses that contaminate the air.
The waste humans usually produce is in the form of boxes, bottles, cans, clothing, furniture, paper and glass products, packaging, paperboard, plastic, aluminum, and metal. All these wasted things release poisonous chemicals and gasses into the environment during the process of utilization. If these unwanted things were send for recycling, the number of those that should be incinerated or buried in landfills will be decreased. Actually, the Environmental Protection Agency claims that 75% of litter thrown away in the USA is possible to recycle (“Environmental Benefits of Recycling,” n.d.). Thus, the amount of poisonous chemicals and gasses that are dismissing into the water, air, and land from the rubbish can be lowered. With less waste, there will not be the necessity for a large number of incinerators.
Conserving Resources by Recycling
The natural resources on the Earth, unfortunately,are limited. Nature cannot replenish metals and fossil fuels within the human lifetime. The resources more humans extract, the less they leave for future generations.
Resorting to recycling, people need less raw or prime materials, resources that need planting, growing, harvesting, and less space for these products. Also, recycling helps them to use the precious materials fully as humans spend a lot of resources, energy, and efforts to excavate them. Humans do not need to hesitate with recycling since it gives numerous benefits.
Conserving Energy by Recycling
Another importance of recycling is conserving energy. It takes less energy to make products from recycled materials than from their raw forms. Making products from raw materials requires much energy for the production process, excavation of natural resources, and their transportation to the manufacturing plants. Here is a good example of conserving energy by recycling. It is possible to save about 95% of the energy used for producing aluminum from virgin materials by applying recycled aluminum instead. This economized energy can be used for the television during three working hours (“Environmental Benefits of Recycling,” n.d.). The same can be done with paper as it is easier to recycle it than cut down new trees. The broken glass that goes to recycling needs lower temperatures during melting, which allows the glass production industry to decrease the times and temperature in the furnace. Reducing the energy required for the production of new materials by recycling enables humans to conserve their energy resources for present as well as future generations.
Reducing Deforestation by Recycling
People get many resources from the forested land that include wood for paper, fuel, and furniture, and herbs for medicine. Massive deforestation on the globe has a large impact on humans as well as the climate. Hence, it is necessary to apply recycling as it decreases the need for raw materials and thus preserves the forests. In fact, recycling one ton of paper can effectively save about 15 trees (“Environmental Benefits of Recycling,” n.d.).
Cost Savings by Applying Recycled Goods
Some people make money by recycling. They recycle leaves from the trees, grass, fruit peels, and other food waste (but without oils or meat) as this is a great way for composting. It creates the better smelling kitchen, produces good nutrients for the garden, and cleans the environment (Pullen, n.d.). Moreover, applying homemade compost is much cheaper than buying a ready-made one; it is a good way to economize on purchases. Also, saving money by recycling helps the environment as well. If people see the advantage in their pockets, then they will definitely support such recycling process.
Creating Jobs by Recycling
In addition to the environmental advantages, recycling can provide employment opportunities for people. When humans put their waste in various bins for paper, glass, plastics, wood, or metal, the contents of each of them are further separated and passed to the recycling plants. The power of working people who are involved in the logistics as well as processing waste is considerable. Thus, by making recycling, humans maintain workplaces for employees in jobs and assist in their family’s welfare. This idea of creating and keeping people employed by providing recycling is quite an appropriate tactic in today’s tough economic times.
The global climate change that may cause danger to humans and the environment has forced people to take resolute measures to reduce the pollution levels and then eradicate such phenomenon. As a result, the government worldwide set necessary targets for recycling.
New and Creative Ways of Recycling
The researchers at the University of Illinois developed a method that helps to make diesel fuels from used plastic bags. Every year, Americans throw away100 billion plastic bags, and only 13% of them are recycled (“University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,” 2014). Thousands of animals (dolphins, whales, seals, turtles, and birds) die after meetings plastic bags in the oceans or eating them by mistake. It requires 1000 years for plastic to decompose; even after animals die because of swallowing plastic and their bodies putrefy, this material again gets back to the environment.
According to the studies, the researchers can turn the plastic into a very clean form of multiple diesel fuel (unlike other processes when plastic was returned into crude oil). Moreover, it is possible to add this clean product straight to ordinary diesel. Kumar Sharma, a scientist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, admitted that they can get only 55% of fuel from purifying petroleum crude oil. Nevertheless, “since this plastic is made from petroleum in the first place, we can recover almost 80 percent fuel from it through distillation" (“University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,” 2014, para. 4).
However, this process is quite new and needs some time to be mastered. No one knows exactly whether this method can seriously affect the overall plastic issue. If made commercially successful, it will be a significant step in the right direction towards solving the problem of plastic waste as well as offering alternatives to the recycled fuel.
Creative Ways of Recycling
There is a new recycling program “The PepsiCo Dream Machine” that implies collecting empty aluminum cans and plastic bottles. In return, it gives points to the customers that provide discounts at hotels or movie theaters. This program functions in parks, grocery stores, and gas stations in some US states such as North Carolina, Southern California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma (Caldwell, 2012).
The U.S. Postal Service connected with Clover Technologies Group has invented another original way of recycling. They created a special program that allows free recycling of ink-jet cartridges, digital cameras, BlackBerries, iPods, and MP3 players. Approximately 1,500 post offices in the USA participate in this project.
Old sports equipment including baseballs, tennis balls, and yoga mats can also be recycled as well as reused by other sportsmen or athletes since they contain plastic. There is a recycling program that fits the needs of every sportsman. For example, old athletic shoes that gathered at Nike stores are possible to turn into new sneakers or running tracks with the help of Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program (Caldwell, 2012).
Additionally, artistic people who like to reuse old jars, tubes of paper into new things can turn recycling into their hobby. They only need to use their imagination and apply some crafts that include using old newspapers to decorate or paint jars, plastic containers, and tin cans as well as use them for collecting tiny but necessary things.
There is no simple answer to the question about how recycling helps the environment because this process is significant to both the society and nature. There are various methods to improve the environment through recycling, and even the smallest step will bring good results. Among the main benefits of recycling are the following: reducing pollution and deforestation, conserving resources and energy, cost savings by applying recycled goods and creating jobs. Government and local communities provide different special programs that invent new and creative ways of recycling. Every step that humans take can greatly support the environment. By getting each person involved, from children to adults, people will produce better living conditions on the planet Earth for future generations.