Skip to content

Why Is Recycling Important?

Various goods that could be recycled.

Each and every day we throw away vast quantities of items destined for landfill. With waste playing such a key role in our lives, there are many reasons why it’s important to recycle. This article takes a look at the importance of recycling and the many benefits it can have.

Recycling Conserves Resources

When factories produce new goods, they consume various raw materials in the process – both directly and indirectly. Recycling can help to conserve these resources in different ways.

Direct materials are the ones that go into making physical products. Let’s use the example of the automotive industry consuming steel as a direct material. By recycling the steel of our old cars, auto manufacturers can then reuse it to manufacture new ones. This reduces the amount of steel that we need to source from traditional supplies. As a direct result of this, we conserve various natural resources such as carbon and iron ore – both of which are used to produce steel.

Other examples of direct materials include the wood that goes into manufacturing furniture and copper that can be used to make circuit boards and other electrical items. By recycling old furniture, we reduce the need for logging to take place. When we recycle electrical goods, we reduce the need for copper mining to take place.

Indirect materials are those that might be used anywhere else in the manufacturing process or its supply chain. For example, let’s take a look at our automotive industry example once again. In this case, an indirect material could be the energy we use when mining iron ore. By recycling steel from old cars, we reduce the need to mine for iron ore, thus eliminating the energy this process would consume. Whilst metal recycling still consumes significant levels of energy, it is still only a fraction of the energy we use when mining iron ore.

Nowadays, it’s common for new products to contain recycled materials. By using more recyclable materials in new goods, we are helping to conserve the earth’s natural resources.

Recycling Saves Energy

When we extract raw materials from the ground, a significant level of energy is required. When we use recycled materials in manufacturing, we help to conserve energy. To sum up, manufacturing products from raw materials is a bad idea and consumes a lot of energy. Manufacturing products from recycled materials is a good idea and will result in more energy saved.

Recycling Reduces Landfill

A growing problem in today’s society is the scale and number of landfill sites. Every item we throw away has to end up somewhere. Without an efficient recycling system in place, the amount of rubbish we send to landfill will only increase.

Landfill sites have serious implications for the local environment and our atmosphere. They are notorious for producing significant levels of methane (CH4). This is a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. It can also stir up quite a stench that might affect local residents.

The more we recycle, the more waste we are directing away from landfill. As a result of this, we can reduce the impact landfill has on the environment and our atmosphere.

Recycling Protects the Environment

Recycling helps to protect the environment in a number of ways. The most important of these is how recycling conserves natural resources.

Mining, quarrying, logging and refining processes often produce significant levels of air and water pollution. These processes also produce numerous greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide (CO2) which contribute to climate change.

Reducing the level of logging means there are more trees left in the world. Trees help to purify the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere.

Recycling Is Good For The Economy

Often overlooked are the economic aspects of recycling. Recycling is a booming industry, right across the globe. It helps to support economic growth by creating jobs in a number of sectors. From people working on a recycling line to waste management consultants, recycling has helped to create many jobs in many different countries.

Recycling Could Save You Money

Did you know that recycling can save you money? Whilst everyday waste recycling won’t save you money, how we reuse other products might. If you’re thinking of throwing away an item, take a step back and think about how you could reuse it. You might have a use for the item today or at some point in the future. This avoids you having to buy a brand new item to replace the perfectly good one you were thinking of putting in the trash.

What Can You Do?

If you already understand the reasons why you should recycle, here is a list of useful tips you can follow in order to help make a difference:

  • Make Use of Recycling Facilities – Homes in many different countries now have access to recycling bins and containers provided by their local council or government. It’s a sensible idea to make use of these and take the time to fill them. If you don’t have these boxes, you can easily purchase a suitable container for each recyclable product (e.g. paper, plastic, and glass), and then take these down to your local recycling center.
  • Shop Sensibly – Look for products that feature sensible packaging and don’t go over the top with different layers that are actually unneeded. Did you know that in the US, around $1 of every $11 spent on food items is the cost of the packaging? Also, try to only purchase the items you will actually use as this is important in reducing the estimated 21 million shopping bags of food which end up in US landfills each and every year.

The statements above show how easily we can reduce the impact on landfill sites. If the necessary services are in place for your local area, then why not do your part by following the simple steps above?

You can learn more about how you can recycle by visiting the United States Environmental Protection Agency website.

Overview

Hopefully, you now understand the importance of recycling and the many benefits it can have. By recycling more, you will help to conserve natural resources whilst cleaning up the environment and the air we breathe. This is not only vital for us, but also for future generations.