Since its beginning phases in the 1970s, recycling has been offering individuals a way to “do their part” to protect the environment and create jobs, by simply placing items in a recycling bin.
Today, the good news is that recycling is still here to offer that “feel good” feeling every time you properly throw away a recyclable item in your bin and send it off to become something new. Whether it is for economics, your community, or the environment – recycling just makes sense and it is easy to do.
Recycling is as easy as tossing something in the trash, except, unlike items you throw in the trash, items in your recycling bin are recovered to become something new. Recyclables have the power to become new packaging and products. When your recycling becomes something new; U.S. jobs are generated, greenhouse gases are reduced and natural resources are saved.
Saving natural resources and creating jobs is a great idea!
Think of it this way, all of those plastic bottles, aluminum cans, paper envelopes, and cardboard boxes had to come from somewhere. In most cases, it came from a natural resource, whether it be petroleum, bauxite ore (makes aluminum), or trees. These resources had to be extracted from the earth, refined, processed, shipped, and manufactured into packaging material – all using energy and precious water along the way. It’s a lot to think about – and hard to think about when it goes to waste!
When packaging and products are made with recycled content, instead of raw materials, the energy, and resources that went into making the material are reused all over again. To put it into perspective, recycling 10,000 tons of material saves the energy equivalent of 20,000 barrels of oil and nearly one million gallons of gasoline. Even when considering the transportation that happens when collecting the material and sending it to manufacturers, recycling still saves energy!
This energy savings equals a reduction in greenhouse gases. Using a model created by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, if the U.S. recycling system was fully functioning, it would save the greenhouse gas equivalent of removing 20 million cars a year from the road.
If saving the environment is not enough, recycling is also an economic driver. Nationwide, the recycling industry is responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs jobs. In addition, Recycled materials provide valuable, energy-efficient resources to manufacturers worldwide. These economic contributions help build the green economy.
Let’s feel good about recycling the right materials.
Recycling correctly is a critical part of conserving natural resources, creating healthier air to breathe, cleaner water to drink, and jobs.
So, what are we waiting and wasting for?
Place a recycling bin right next to your trash bin – not letting a plastic bottle or aluminum can ever go to waste again – and you too can have that “feel good” feeling.
Pretty sure you already know what to throw in your recycling bin? Check your recycling knowledge at our online quiz.