Recycling is the process of turning waste into something useful; it is the act of improvising materials to reuse. The original purpose of this method is to bring balance to the Earth. It’s the counter-attack to the rapid spread of waste materials.
However, as people grow to realize, they start to wonder:
“Is recycling good for the environment?”
The answer is YES, but there is still some downside to the process.
Why? Because, as stated earlier, waste is rampantly growing, and its outcomes are very much tragic. Waste pollution leads to many consequences: floods, storms, landslides, and many more.
Upon performing the process of recycling, it takes energy. Also, in some aspects, recycling can cause harmful effects, which will be discussed later in this article.
In this blog post, you can discover how recycling practically helps us and the environment. Also, we’ll let you see what this process can negatively do if not managed the right way.
The Importance of Recycling
Waste is becoming a major issue as more wealth brings in more products that lead to being waste, specifically single-use materials. Further, the growing population also contributes largely to this waste pollution.
Another prospect contributor to this problem is the packaging and technological advancement in development. Most of the products these “innovations” would make are non-biodegradable.
Mainly, there are two things that explain why recycling is significant in our modern world. These two things are the environment and us, humans. Let’s evaluate how it works.
Its Significance To The Environment
Recycling is the answer to the billions of waste humans irresponsibly threw away in the waterways, forests, and other natural habitats. These waste materials are collected to be rebuilt into something new and useful.
Our reckless acts damage the natural environment, and that’s why we need to make it up for mother nature.
These wastes harm the planet in a variety of ways. For example, the rubbish in landfill sites releases hazardous chemicals and greenhouse gases. Because of this helpful process, the rubbish can be turned into something useful rather than just being burnt.
Because we need raw materials to make products, we use natural resources. One major natural resource we make the most out of is trees. That’s why there is deforestation, a very dangerous act with a very dangerous effect. However, if we apply recycling, forests and natural resources will be preserved, because it decreases the demand for raw materials.
Turning raw materials into real and useful items will require energy, a lot of energy. However, this process can reduce the energy needed for production.
Its Significance to Humans
If the environment is in a good state, it means that humans will too. It’s common knowledge but people don’t seem to mind this mentality. If we recycle, it shows that we are trying our best to put the environment in good hands, which will also benefit our living.
This process is vital to every place humans live in: cities, towns, counties, islands, and more.
In most places, landfills are almost full. There’s no space for more trash. Recycling makes it possible for trash to be converted to handy materials and reduce the useless waste in landfills.
As already stated, turning raw materials into usable things need energy. But that’s not all. It will also require high financial expenditure. That’s why recycled materials are more affordable and good for the economy compared to raw materials.
The natural resources we mentioned earlier are finite. They are not unlimited. We need to preserve them, so that future generations can benefit from them and see their beauty.
What Are The Costs of Recycling
As we’ve already previewed earlier in this blog post, recycling also has another side of the coin. However, this is only when recycling is done improperly. There are also costs. It is not just the energy cost that we will talk about here. We’ll tackle the things that not many people find obvious about this method.
First of all, air pollution is still a problem. Why? The process of recycling itself can add up to air pollution. For example, recycling trucks give off exhaust that pollutes the air with over three dozen airborne toxins. As the recycling campaign grows, more trucks will be used. This means more exhaust and more pollution.
Speaking of exhaust, there are also recycling plants. In Washington DC, a recycling plant is noted as the biggest toxin emitter.
Another matter is contamination. This disadvantage is one of the biggest concerns of recycling industries. If there are contaminations or toxins on the original material, they can still make it through the recycling process and end up buried in the new product, which should turn out to be used. This is very alarming as impurities are not visible until you experience the effects of it.
Well, this is pretty bad. However, the answer to this is three steps.
How to Avoid Waste Contamination
Step 1. Talk about it
The most effective way to solve most issues is through communication, and in this case, that should be with your recycling provider. Study or reach out to your provider to set the best way to plan your recycling according to the demands of your provider.
Step 2. Segregate Wastes
Single Stream Recycling is what many communities have for this. That means classifying on your end is not needed. However, we can also give a little extra effort. What this means is, to lessen the existence of contaminants, try marking each recycling container with what can be and what can’t be recycled.
Step 3. Maintain Cleanliness
Always bear in mind that hardworking people are classifying the items you are recycling. Without them, these materials would just be useless. Try helping them out by having order and cleanliness in your recycling methods.
Different Effects of Different Recycling Materials
Recycling plastic is very beneficial compared to landfills and incineration. It has the weakest global warming potential and energy use. That is why for plastic wastes, recycling is the best way to go.
For metal, energy use is also prudent. For example, converting aluminum cans into new cans makes use of 95% less energy than producing new ones. If the recycling process is handled effectively, metals can be used over and over again. This will lessen the need for mining, preserving more natural resources.
According to studies, recycling metals are between two and 10 times more energy-saving than smelting the metals from a fresh ore. This is very helpful as the extraction of metal alone adds greatly to climate change.
When it comes to recycling paper, it depends on the type of paper. Some types of paper will have the same or lesser environmental footprint to create new, while others are better when they are recycled.
The Bottom Line
The careless actions of man have brought us many problems that do not only impact us but also the planet we stand on. Because of this, we need to make up for our mistakes. That’s how the recycling method was born. Recycling is not a perfect method, but it is undeniably beneficial for the environment. It is a two-sided coin. There may be some negative impacts of it, but it still gives us better results than landfills and the rapid growth of waste pollution. Recycling helps both us and the environment we live in.