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  • Social Impact

How Does Recycling Help the Environment? (& 10+ Materials to Recycle)

Recycling is great, and we all know it. but, how does recycling help the environment here are the important benefits of recycling..

Christian Eilers

Why is recycling important? What are the benefits of recycling?

We’ve all heard of the Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle . 

As a slogan, it’s about perfect—it is short, can’t be misunderstood, and has the pleasant ring of alliteration.  

To reduce is to cut down on what is produced and what we consume.

To reuse is to find ways to repurpose items which otherwise are designed to be discarded.

To recycle is to submit items to be broken down into base materials and converted into future products.

Though this catchy phrase makes an easy-to-live-by rule, it only makes us question further. So, in this guide, we’ll look at ways recycling helps the environment. Shortly after, we’ll discuss common materials you can separate and recycle, as well as why those materials are important to recycle.

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How Does Recycling Help the Environment?

Recycling is one of the best ways to fight climate change .

Here are a few ways recycling helps the environment and fight climate change:

1. Recycling Conserves Resources

When we recycle plastic, we reduce the need for more plastic to be manufactured. By recycling paper, we do our part to lessen deforestation and save trees from being cut down . Separating cans and other metals helps to cut down on damaging mining and our growing need for raw materials. 

2. Recycling Saves Energy

It takes much more energy to create industrial-grade materials from scratch than it does just to reform old materials and reuse them. For example, it is estimated that “recycling aluminum saves 90% to 95% of the energy needed to make aluminum from bauxite ore.” Recycling saves energy because recycled materials don’t require factories to expend so much greenhouse gas emissions than they would if they had created the same item again from scratch using raw materials.

Related Read : 15 Earth Day Tips to Support the Environment & Stop Climate Change

3. Recycling Protects the Environment

When we cut down on the amount of new materials and natural resources we need to extract from the earth, whether through farming, mining, logging, etc., we protect vulnerable ecosystems and wildlife from harm or eradication and allow them to exist for generations to come. Recycling materials emits way less greenhouse gases into the environment than primary production.

According to the Inventory of Average Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Denmark, Norway and Sweden , here are the differences in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from primary production vs. production from recycling:

* Unit used is kg CO2-equivalent/kg material.

4. Recycling Slows the Spread of Landfills

In the United States alone, there are 2,000 active landfills all full of solid waste and emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as it all slowly decomposes. This doesn’t account for the many that have been closed due to reaching capacity, or the future landfills that’ll have to be created when the active landfills become land full .

5. Recycling Creates Jobs

That’s right: believe it or not, one of the benefits of recycling is that it actually helps create jobs! A study by Friends of the Earth determined that reaching a 70% home recycle rate would create 51,400 jobs in the United Kingdom alone. In the US, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that reaching a 75% recycling rate nationwide would create 1.5 million new jobs.

6. Recycling Supports the SDGs

Our future and the future of all generations after us depend on sustainable production and consumption. As such, recycling is one of the best ways to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals .

Related Read : 15 Tips for Conserving Water at Home

What Should Be Recycled?

So, we’ve covered some top ways on how recycling helps the environment. 

Here are the most common materials to recycle and how to go about it:

1. Plastics

Plastics are the absolute worst .

Your flimsy plastic grocery bag? It takes 10–20 years to decompose.

That single-use water bottle you bought? It can take up to 450 years to break down in a landfill. 

Other, more durable plastics? Up to 1,000 years!

Plastics are difficult for the environment, sure, but unfortunately they are difficult to recycle, as well. Not all plastics can be recycled, first of all. Then, there are different types of plastics which require varying processes and considerations.

The Resin Identification Coding System ( RIC ) separates plastics into seven different types. These seven types of plastic are:

  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE or PET)
  • High-density polyethylene (HDPE or PE-HD)
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or just V)
  • Low-density polyethylene & Linear low-density polyethylene (LDPE & PE-LD)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polystyrene (PS)
  • Other plastics (OTHER or O)

The number above also corresponds to the recycling number of a plastic, which you can most often find on the bottom of the item, along with an abbreviation (in parentheses above).

When you recycle plastics, you cut down on the long degradation time, while helping to make sustainable new products. According to Weill Cornell Medicine , “recycled plastic bottles are used to make carpet, clothing and even auto parts.” 

Paper products are relatively simple to recycle. 

Depending on your country, city, and district regulations, you may separate all paper together, or separate simple paper products from plastic-coated paper products, such as a Starbucks cup or orange juice carton. In the latter case, this is because it takes special chemicals and an extra step to remove the glue, plastic, and other residue from the paper in order to reuse it.

Glass is just about the longest-lasting man-made material, taking up to 1 million years to degrade in the environment!

If that’s not enough reason to recycle your glass bottles, there’s also the sand loss. Sand is the key ingredient in most glass, but the supplies are dwindling. Yes, believe it or not, sand is not as infinite as you might imagine—in fact, scientists are saying we’re facing a growing sand shortage, some going as far to call it a sand crisis.

The good news is that it’s one of the easier materials to recycle. First, a treatment plant sorts them by colors. Then, they give them a wash and remove stickers and other impurities. Finally, they melt down crushed glass pieces and shape them into new bottles and jars ready for us to purchase again.

Metals must be mined from the earth, which damages the areas and environments those mines are dug. 

Recycling metals can be tricky, as there are dozens of metals. However, the good news for the average person is that most metals can be recycled together, as recycling plants sort them into their respective categories.

5. Organic Materials, Food & Compost

Organic waste such as food is the most biodegradable of the lot. The best way to recycle your own organic waste is to start composting it. Compost is organic material that has broken down, and it may appear to you as rich, dark soil. 

Making compost is simple, and all you need is the passage of time. Then, when you’ve transformed past eggshells and orange peels into nutrient-rich dirt, use it for planting, gardening, or dump it in a public park (check your local laws first!). In some cities, such as New York , brown bins for organic waste are available, since there’s not much room to dispose of compost you create.

6. Electronics

Known as E-waste (short for electronic waste ), this includes all discarded electronic items, whether broken, unwanted, or at the end of their working lives. 

The hard part of recycling electronics comes down to their constituent parts—there are dozens of gadgets and gizmos on the average circuit board, made out of a variety of metals, epoxy, glass, and other materials.

However, the good news is that almost all of the components can be reused. According to the EPA , “for every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.”

To recycle your used electronics, there are often bins at large retailers, such as Best Buy or Staples, where you can donate. 

7. Batteries

Batteries require special consideration when discarding them, as they contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals which shouldn’t decompose at your average landfill. Though there’s a potential for great harm to the environment should batteries end up there, there is also a lot of value in recycling batteries. 

For the general public, we don’t have to worry too much about the various metals, chemicals, or battery types, such as lithium, alkaline, or zinc. Rather, just as with consumer electronics, there are often used battery receptacles located at many big-box stores around town.

8. Tires & Commercial Rubber

When a tire goes flat or the tread wears off, that’s about it, even though about 99% of the tire remains. Not only is there a lot of waste in this type of waste, but they take up lots of room at landfills, as well, with 75% of their volume being void space.

Many tires, and other commercial rubber materials, are difficult to recycle, so much of them have been burned to get rid of them, even when properly discarded. However, as technology advances, there have also been advances in the materials used for tires, with an increasing amount of biodegradability and reuse potential.

When getting rid of your tires, avoid the landfill. Instead, Google around for a recycling facility which specifically takes care of tires. If they can retread the tire, it could go back on the shelf for you or the next consumer. Otherwise, at least they’ll dispose of it in a way which won’t poison the ground and the creatures around.

Got a little time to kill and some DIY spirit? Here are some fun, funny, and creative ways to recycle your old tires .

9. Clothing & Textiles

Textile recycling, which includes clothing, rags, sheets, curtains, linens, and other similar materials, is a key way to reduce municipal solid waste (MSW). According to the EPA , the US generated 16,890 tons of textiles in 2017, of which just 2,570 tons were recycled.

If they make their way to landfills, clothing and other fibrous materials can take up to several hundred years to break down. But, recycling these textiles helps the environment by skipping the landfill and sending the clothing to plants to be sorted, cleaned, shredded, and respun.

To recycle clothing, check your local mall or retailers, such as H&M, as they often have bins where you can donate your used and unwanted garments. And an added bonus—many often give you a shopping discount for turning in your old clothes! 

10. Fiberboard & Paperboard

First, is there a difference between fiberboard and paperboard? 

Usually, most people use the term cardboard to refer to both items, but there’s a difference, according to some sources (though nothing official). 

Paperboard is thin and formed of one layer, like paper, but thicker, less foldable, and more rigid than paper (think of a greeting card). Corrugated fiberboard is the three-layer kind you may be familiar with in shipping boxes, consisting of two rigid layers sandwiching a wavy middle one for strength.

In some recycling programs, there’s a differentiation between fiberboard recycling and paperboard recycling—some accept paperboard with paper, others accept paperboard with fiberboard separate from paper, and a few want all three to be separated. 

So, to sum up on the benefits of recycling and how recycling helps the environment—well, there are plenty of reasons, as you have seen. From reducing carbon emissions to conserving natural resources, recycling is one of the best ways we can fight climate change.

Have any feedback, questions, or other ways recycling protects the environment? Let us know in the comments below! 

Oh, and if you have any recycling ideas, large or small, share them with the Goodwall community to help it get the visibility, traction, and support it deserves! Not a member of Goodwall yet? Sign up quickly and easily with the links below.

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Hi Christian, I have read your blog about recycling and it is very useful information. I would like to start recycling more as well, as I have a deep passion for marine mammals and planet earth. I am new to this but I’m willing to learn more. I have my own website as well about recycling and was wondering if we can both share each others information to benefit our communities and learn more about how it may be beneficial to many individuals. Please don’t hesitate to reach out! Thanks! 🙂

Working to bring developers, builders and homeowners cutting edge green technology would really help in our advocacy to green living. Informative article. Lets go green!

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Empty glass bottles in a crate, waiting to be returned for reuse/recycling

7 benefits of recycling

We need to drastically improve our recycling habits at home, in schools and at workplaces. 

The UK government has a target to recycle 65% of municipal waste by 2035, but we've got a long way to go to reach that goal – currently, the UK's recycling rate is about 45%. 

We need to remember that recycling is crucial to the future health of our planet. Here are 7 reasons why...

1. Conserving  natural resources

The world's natural resources are finite, and some are in very short supply.

At a basic level:

  • Recycling paper and wood  saves trees and forests. Yes, you can plant new trees, but you can't replace virgin rainforest or ancient woodlands once they're lost. 
  • Recycling plastic means creating less new plastic , which is definitely a good thing, especially as it's usually made from fossil fuel hydrocarbons.
  • Recycling metals means there's less need for risky, expensive and damaging mining and extraction of new metal ores.
  • Recycling glass reduces the need to use new raw materials like sand – it sounds hard to believe, but supplies of some types of sand are starting to get low around the world.

Heap of empty, squashed plastic bottles ready for recycling

2. Protecting ecosystems and wildlife

Recycling reduces the need to grow, harvest or extract new raw materials from the Earth.

That in turn lessens the harmful disruption and damage being done to the natural world: fewer forests cut down, rivers diverted, wild animals harmed or displaced, and less pollution of water, soil and air. 

And of course if our plastic waste isn't safely put in the recycling, it can be blown or washed into rivers and seas and end up hundreds or thousands of miles away, polluting coastlines and waterways and becoming a problem for everyone. 

3. Reducing demand for raw materials

The world's increasing demand for new stuff has led to more of the poorest and most vulnerable people (for example, those living around forests or river systems) being displaced from their homes, or otherwise exploited. Forest communities can find themselves evicted as a result of the search for cheap timber and rivers can be damned or polluted by manufacturing waste.

It's far better to recycle existing products than to damage someone else's community or land in the search for new raw materials.

photo of cut timber batons in store

4. S aving energy  

Making products from recycled materials requires less energy than making them from new raw materials. Sometimes it's a huge difference in energy. For example:

  • Producing new aluminium from old products (including recycled cans and foil) uses 95% less energy than making it from scratch. For steel it's about a 70% energy saving.
  • Making paper from pulped recycled paper uses 40% less energy than making it from virgin wood fibres. 
  • The amount of energy saved from recycling one glass bottle could power an old 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours and a new low-energy LED equivalent for a lot longer.

5. Cutting climate-changing carbon emissions

Because recycling means you need to use less energy on sourcing and processing new raw materials, it produces lower carbon emissions. It also keeps potentially methane-releasing waste out of landfill sites. 

Reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere is vital for stopping disastrous climate change.

6. Cheaper than waste collection and disposal

Lambeth council in London pointed out that "it is 6 times cheaper to dispose of recycled waste than general refuse." So, the more you recycle, and the less you put in the bin, the more money is saved, which should be good for households, businesses and local public services.

Recycling food waste and green waste is a great idea too, often generating lots of valuable compost that can be used to grow more food and other crops. 

Worker collecting recycling, emptying bin

7. Tackles youth unemployment 

The coronavirus pandemic has caused devastation in all areas of our lives, including employment. There are over 500,000 young people aged 16-24 out of work, and numbers are expected to grow substantially with the end of the furlough scheme. 

Instead of propping up declining, polluting industries, the government must future-proof livelihoods by investing in more green jobs .

Right now, young people are being taught and given careers advice on jobs that may not even exist in 10 years' time. We're setting them up to fail where we could be training them to succeed .

Youth strikers at the Global Climate Strike, 20 September 2019

If in doubt, remember those three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The truth is we all need to get into the habit of using less stuff  in the first place. And the things we do use ought to be reused as much as possible before being recycled, to minimise waste .

This would significantly aid the response to the global waste management challenge, which has seen many countries in the Global South unfairly shoulder the responsibility of managing the waste of countries in the Global North. The question of what to do with waste is one that governments cannot ignore. 

It's important that we combine our efforts to manage our waste with increased calls for tougher government action on reducing plastic waste .

Discover easy ways to reduce your environmental impact, from food to fashion.

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  • How Does Recycling Help the Environment?

Glass is just one of the many materials that can be recycled.

The global population has been increasing at an unprecedented rate, which has in turn also caused an increase in the creation of waste on our planet. Recycling is the process of turning waste into usable materials that are to be used again. Examples of the waste that can be recycled includes metals (such as aluminum and steel), glass, paper, and plastic. With proper implementation, recycling has the capacity to reduce the use of natural resources and therefore reduce the already-devastating human degradation of the environment. The recycling of both biodegradable materials as well as non-biodegradable materials is possible.

Some natural resources used by humans are non-renewable, including oil and coal. Recycling these products is a critical link in order to prevent the overconsumption of these resources. Recycling is both significant to people as well as to the environment. It helps reduce the need for mining, quarrying and logging. These are all activities that harshly pollute the air and water of our planet. Recycling also saves energy and reduces greenhouse gases. All of these things cumulate to help combat climate change, which helps preserve the planet for future generations.

How to Recycle

Most cities and towns around the world have a location set aside for use of landfills, where the waste produced within the city is dumped. The waste dumped in landfills becomes an environmental hazard over time by emitting greenhouse gasses and allowing toxins to steep into the soil and water table.

As much as 7% of the waste that the average person throws out daily could instead be recycled and turned into objects such as park benches, picnic tables, or high-chairs. Recycling is made possible to the general public in three ways, depending on where the individual lives. These methods are curbside collection, buy-back centers, and drop-off centers.

  • Curbside collection is sorted by the individual in their home before it is picked up by a waste collection vehicle. It used to be ideal to sort all different types of recycling before it was picked up by trash collection. However, increases in sorting technology means that this is no longer the case in most communities.
  • Buy-back centers are a place where cleaned recycled materials are purchased, which serves as an incentive for the general populace to recycle. These centers usually do have to be funded through government subsidies as they themselves are not profitable.
  • Drop-off centers exist so that those who wish to recycle can drive their own materials to the centers in order for them to be processed.

presentation on help the environment by recycling

Manufacturing of items using raw materials is actually usually more expensive than using recycled materials. Another line of thinking is the reduction in energy cost which also has an undeniable economic impact. The manufacturing of metals from natural ores consumes colossal amounts of electricity, and this is most evident in aluminum whose raw production consumes 90% more energy than recycled aluminum.

The recycling industry has become an important source of income for many entrepreneurs who have in turn become job creators with the industry employing as much as 14,000 people in the state of Ohio while the state of California injects $10 billion in its economy through waste recycling and management every year. Some countries face an extreme shortage of natural resources and therefore rely on recycling local and imported waste for production of commodities such as paper in countries such as Japan, China and South Korea. By 2014, EU had about 50% of world share of waste and recycling industries, with more than 6,000 companies employing 0.5 million people and having a turnover of €24 billion.

The recycling industry is a lucrative injecting as much as $236 billion in the US economy, but it has faced a few challenges in recent years. The main issue has been the drop in the global crude oil prices which in turn have made plastic made using crude oil cheaper than with recycled plastic. Levels of public awareness and government involvement can also play a factor in the recycling rate within a community.

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Earth ’s natural resources include air , water , soil , minerals , fuels , plants, and animals. Conservation is the practice of caring for these resources so all living things can benefit from them now and in the future. All the things we need to survive , such as food , water, air, and shelter , come from natural resources. Some of these resources, like small plants, can be replaced quickly after they are used. Others, like large trees, take a long time to replace. These are renewable resources . Other resources, such as fossil fuels , cannot be replaced at all. Once they are used up, they are gone f orever . These are nonrenewable resources . People often waste natural resources. Animals are overhunted . Forests are cleared, exposing land to wind and water damage. Fertile soil is exhausted and lost to erosion because of poor farming practices. Fuel supplies are depleted . Water and air are polluted . If resources are carelessly managed, many will be used up. If used wisely and efficiently , however, renewable resources will last much longer. Through conservation, people can reduce waste and manage natural resources wisely. The population of human beings has grown enormously in the past two centuries. Billions of people use up resources quickly as they eat food, build houses, produce goods, and burn fuel for transportation and electricity . The continuation of life as we know it depends on the careful use of natural resources. The need to conserve resources often conflicts with other needs. For some people, a wooded area may be a good place to put a farm. A timber company may want to harvest the area’s trees for construction materials. A business may want to build a factory or shopping mall on the land. All these needs are valid, but sometimes the plants and animals that live in the area are forgotten. The benefits of development need to be weighed against the harm to animals that may be forced to find new habitats , the depletion of resources we may want in the future (such as water or timber), or damage to resources we use today. Development and conservation can coexist in harmony. When we use the environment in ways that ensure we have resources for the future, it is called sustainable development . There are many different resources we need to conserve in order to live sustainably. Forests A forest is a large area covered with trees grouped so their foliage shades the ground. Every continent except Antarctica has forests, from the evergreen -filled boreal forests of the north to mangrove forests in tropical wetlands . Forests are home to more than two-thirds of all known land species . Tropical rainforests are especially rich in biodiversity . Forests provide habitats for animals and plants. They store carbon , helping reduce global warming . They protect soil by reducing runoff . They add nutrients to the soil through leaf litter . They provide people with lumber and firewood. Deforestation is the process of clearing away forests by cutting them down or burning them. People clear forests to use the wood, or to make way for farming or development. Each year, Earth loses about 14.6 million hectares (36 million acres) of forest to deforestation—an area about the size of the U.S. state of New York. Deforestation destroys wildlife habitats and increases soil erosion. It also releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere , contributing to global warming. Deforestation accounts for 15 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation also harms the people who rely on forests for their survival, hunting and gathering, harvesting forest products, or using the timber for firewood. About half of all the forests on Earth are in the tropics —an area that circles the globe near the Equator . Although tropical forests cover fewer than 6 percent of the world’s land area, they are home to about 80 percent of the world’s documented species. For example, more than 500 different species of trees live in the forests on the small U.S. island of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea. Tropical forests give us many valuable products, including woods like mahogany and teak , rubber , fruits, nuts, and flowers. Many of the medicines we use today come from plants found only in tropical rainforests. These include quinine , a malaria drug; curare , an anesthetic used in surgery; and rosy periwinkle , which is used to treat certain types of cancer . Sustainable forestry practices are critical for ensuring we have these resources well into the future. One of these practices is leaving some trees to die and decay naturally in the forest. This “ deadwood ” builds up soil. Other sustainable forestry methods include using low-impact logging practices, harvesting with natural regeneration in mind, and avoiding certain logging techniques , such as removing all the high-value trees or all the largest trees from a forest. Trees can also be conserved if consumers recycle . People in China and Mexico, for example, reuse much of their wastepaper, including writing paper, wrapping paper, and cardboard. If half the world’s paper were recycled, much of the worldwide demand for new paper would be fulfilled, saving many of Earth’s trees. We can also replace some wood products with alternatives like bamboo , which is actually a type of grass. Soil Soil is vital to food production. We need high-quality soil to grow the crops that we eat and feed to livestock . Soil is also important to plants that grow in the wild. Many other types of conservation efforts, such as plant conservation and animal conservation, depend on soil conservation. Poor farming methods, such as repeatedly planting the same crop in the same place, called monoculture , deplete nutrients in the soil. Soil erosion by water and wind increases when farmers plow up and down hills. One soil conservation method is called contour strip cropping . Several crops, such as corn, wheat, and clover , are planted in alternating strips across a slope or across the path of the prevailing wind . Different crops, with different root systems and leaves, help slow erosion.

Harvesting all the trees from a large area, a practice called clearcutting , increases the chances of losing productive topsoil to wind and water erosion. Selective harvesting —the practice of removing individual trees or small groups of trees—leaves other trees standing to anchor the soil. Biodiversity Biodiversity is the variety of living things that populate Earth. The products and benefits we get from nature rely on biodiversity. We need a rich mixture of living things to provide foods, building materials, and medicines, as well as to maintain a clean and healthy landscape . When a species becomes extinct , it is lost to the world forever. Scientists estimate that the current rate of extinction is 1,000 times the natural rate. Through hunting, pollution , habitat destruction, and contribution to global warming, people are speeding up the loss of biodiversity at an alarming rate. It’s hard to know how many species are going extinct because the total number of species is unknown. Scientists discover thousands of new species every year. For example, after looking at just 19 trees in Panama, scientists found 1,200 different species of beetles—80 percent of them unknown to science at the time. Based on various estimates of the number of species on Earth, we could be losing anywhere from 200 to 100,000 species each year. We need to protect biodiversity to ensure we have plentiful and varied food sources. This is true even if we don’t eat a species threatened with extinction because something we do eat may depend on that species for survival. Some predators are useful for keeping the populations of other animals at manageable levels. The extinction of a major predator might mean there are more herbivores looking for food in people’s gardens and farms. Biodiversity is important for more than just food. For instance, we use between 50,000 to 70,000 plant species for medicines worldwide. The Great Barrier Reef , a coral reef off the coast of northeastern Australia, contributes about $6 billion to the nation’s economy through commercial fishing , tourism , and other recreational activities. If the coral reef dies, many of the fish, shellfish , marine mammals , and plants will die, too. Some governments have established parks and preserves to protect wildlife and their habitats. They are also working to abolish hunting and fishing practices that may cause the extinction of some species. Fossil Fuels Fossil fuels are fuels produced from the remains of ancient plants and animals. They include coal , petroleum (oil), and natural gas . People rely on fossil fuels to power vehicles like cars and airplanes, to produce electricity, and to cook and provide heat. In addition, many of the products we use today are made from petroleum. These include plastics , synthetic rubber, fabrics like nylon , medicines, cosmetics , waxes, cleaning products, medical devices, and even bubblegum.

Fossil fuels formed over millions of years. Once we use them up, we cannot replace them. Fossil fuels are a nonrenewable resource. We need to conserve fossil fuels so we don’t run out. However, there are other good reasons to limit our fossil fuel use. These fuels pollute the air when they are burned. Burning fossil fuels also releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Global warming is changing ecosystems . The oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic , which threatens sea life. Sea levels are rising, posing risks to coastal communities. Many areas are experiencing more droughts , while others suffer from flooding . Scientists are exploring alternatives to fossil fuels. They are trying to produce renewable biofuels to power cars and trucks. They are looking to produce electricity using the sun, wind, water, and geothermal energy — Earth’s natural heat. Everyone can help conserve fossil fuels by using them carefully. Turn off lights and other electronics when you are not using them. Purchase energy-efficient appliances and weatherproof your home. Walk, ride a bike, carpool , and use public transportation whenever possible. Minerals Earth’s supply of raw mineral resources is in danger. Many mineral deposits that have been located and mapped have been depleted. As the ores for minerals like aluminum and iron become harder to find and extract , their prices skyrocket . This makes tools and machinery more expensive to purchase and operate. Many mining methods, such as mountaintop removal mining (MTR) , devastate the environment. They destroy soil, plants, and animal habitats. Many mining methods also pollute water and air, as toxic chemicals leak into the surrounding ecosystem. Conservation efforts in areas like Chile and the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States often promote more sustainable mining methods. Less wasteful mining methods and the recycling of materials will help conserve mineral resources. In Japan, for example, car manufacturers recycle many raw materials used in making automobiles. In the United States, nearly one-third of the iron produced comes from recycled automobiles. Electronic devices present a big problem for conservation because technology changes so quickly. For example, consumers typically replace their cell phones every 18 months. Computers, televisions, and mp3 players are other products contributing to “ e-waste .” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that Americans generated more than three million tons of e-waste in 2007. Electronic products contain minerals as well as petroleum-based plastics. Many of them also contain hazardous materials that can leach out of landfills into the soil and water supply. Many governments are passing laws requiring manufacturers to recycle used electronics. Recycling not only keeps materials out of landfills, but it also reduces the energy used to produce new products. For instance, recycling aluminum saves 90 percent of the energy that would be required to mine new aluminum.

Water Water is a renewable resource. We will not run out of water the way we might run out of fossil fuels. The amount of water on Earth always remains the same. However, most of the planet’s water is unavailable for human use. While more than 70 percent of Earth’s surface is covered by water, only 2.5 percent of it is freshwater . Out of that freshwater, almost 70 percent is permanently frozen in the ice caps covering Antarctica and Greenland. Only about 1 percent of the freshwater on Earth is available for people to use for drinking, bathing, and irrigating crops. People in many regions of the world suffer water shortages . These are caused by depletion of underground water sources known as aquifers , a lack of rainfall due to drought, or pollution of water supplies. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 2.6 billion people lack adequate water sanitation . More than five million people die each year from diseases caused by using polluted water for drinking, cooking, or washing. About one-third of Earth’s population lives in areas that are experiencing water stress . Most of these areas are in developing countries. Polluted water hurts the environment as well as people. For instance, agricultural runoff—the water that runs off of farmland—can contain fertilizers and pesticides . When this water gets into streams , rivers , and oceans, it can harm the organisms that live in or drink from those water sources. People can conserve and protect water supplies in many ways. Individuals can limit water use by fixing leaky faucets, taking shorter showers, planting drought-resistant plants, and buying low-water-use appliances. Governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations can help developing countries build sanitation facilities. Farmers can change some of their practices to reduce polluted runoff. This includes limiting overgrazing , avoiding over-irrigation, and using alternatives to chemical pesticides whenever possible. Conservation Groups Businesses, international organizations , and some governments are involved in conservation efforts. The United Nations (UN) encourages the creation of national parks around the world. The UN also established World Water Day, an event to raise awareness and promote water conservation. Governments enact laws defining how land should be used and which areas should be set aside as parks and wildlife preserves. Governments also enforce laws designed to protect the environment from pollution, such as requiring factories to install pollution-control devices. Finally, governments often provide incentives for conserving resources, using clean technologies, and recycling used goods. Many international organizations are dedicated to conservation. Members support causes such as saving rain forests, protecting threatened animals, and cleaning up the air. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is an alliance of governments and private groups founded in 1948. The IUCN works to protect wildlife and habitats. In 1980, the group proposed a world conservation strategy . Many governments have used the IUCN model to develop their own conservation plans. In addition, the IUCN monitors the status of endangered wildlife, threatened national parks and preserves, and other environments around the world. Zoos and botanical gardens also work to protect wildlife. Many zoos raise and breed endangered animals to increase their populations. They conduct research and help educate the public about endangered species . For instance, the San Diego Zoo in the U.S. state of California runs a variety of research programs on topics ranging from disease control in amphibians to heart-healthy diets for gorillas. Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London, England, work to protect plant life around the world. Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank , for example, works with partners in 54 countries to protect biodiversity through seed collection. Kew researchers are also exploring how DNA technology can help restore damaged habitats. Individuals can do many things to help conserve resources. Turning off lights, repairing leaky faucets, and recycling paper, aluminum cans, glass, and plastic are just a few examples. Riding bikes, walking, carpooling, and using public transportation all help conserve fuel and reduce the amount of pollutants released into the environment. Individuals can plant trees to create homes for birds and squirrels. At grocery stores, people can bring their own reusable bags. And people can carry reusable water bottles and coffee mugs rather than using disposable containers. If each of us would conserve in small ways, the result would be a major conservation effort.

Tree Huggers The Chipko Movement, which is dedicated to saving trees, was started by villagers in Uttar Pradesh, India. Chipko means hold fast or embrace. The villagers flung their arms around trees to keep loggers from cutting them down. The villagers won, and Uttar Pradesh banned the felling of trees in the Himalayan foothills. The movement has since expanded to other parts of India.

Thirsty Food People require about 2 to 4 liters of drinking water each day. However, a day's worth of food requires 2,000 to 5,000 liters of water to produce. It takes more water to produce meat than to produce plant-based foods.

Tiger, Tiger Tigers are dangerous animals, but they have more to fear from us than we have to fear from them. Today there are only about 3,200 tigers living in the wild. Three tiger subspecies the Bali, Caspian, and Javan tigers have gone extinct in the past century. Many organizations are working hard to protect the remaining tigers from illegal hunting and habitat loss.

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Reducing and Reusing Basics

The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Making a new product emits greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and requires a lot of materials and energy - raw materials must be extracted from the earth, and the product must be fabricated then transported to wherever it will be sold. As a result, reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment and save money.

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Benefits of Reducing and Reusing

Ideas on how to reduce and reuse.

  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. 
  • Prevents pollution caused by reducing the need to harvest new raw materials.
  • Saves energy.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change.
  • Helps sustain the environment for future generations.
  • Reduces the amount of waste that will need to be recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators.
  • Allows products to be used to their fullest extent.
  • Saves money.
  • Think Green Before You Shop .   Reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions by thinking green when you shop.
  • Reduce your food waste  by shopping smart, buying what you need, composting food scraps, and donating unused food to food banks or shelters. More ways to  reduce  your impact. 
  • Reuse or repurpose items  such as old clothing, cloth grocery bags, and containers to prevent waste.
  • Buy used items  to reduce waste as well as the emissions created by producing new materials or disposing of them in landfills.  Donate  unused clothing, electronics and building materials to make sure others can reuse them too! 
  • Buy products made with recycled content .  Check labels to see if a product or its packaging is made from  recycled materials . 
  • Know before you throw.  Know what items  your local recycling program  collects and encourage your household to  recycle right and recycle more .
  • Learn about  what else  you can do  at home, at school, at work and in your community! 
  • Maintain and repair products , like clothing, tires and appliances, so that they won't have to be thrown out and replaced as frequently. 
  • Borrow, rent or share items that are used infrequently, like party decorations, tools or furniture. 

One person's trash is another person's treasure. Instead of discarding unwanted appliances, tools or clothes, try selling or donating them. Not only will you be reducing waste, you'll be helping others. Local churches, community centers, thrift stores, schools and nonprofit organizations may accept a variety of donated items, including used books, working electronics and unneeded furniture.

Benefits of Donation

  • Prevents usable goods from going into landfills
  • Helps your community and those in need
  • Tax benefits may be available

National Donation Resources

  • Federal Trade Commission- Facts for Consumers on Charitable Donations
  • Better Business Bureau- BBB Wise Giving Alliance  
  • FEMA- Volunteer and Donate Responsibly - tips for donating after a disaster.

Resources for Donating Specific Goods and Materials

Households and personal items.

  • ClothingDonations.org (a service of Vietnam Veterans of America)
  • Donate your used electronics

Building Materials

  • Habitat for Humanity  
  • American Institute of Philanthropy - Tips for Donating a Car to Charity  
  • Purple Heart  
  • If you’re looking to donate a vehicle to Goodwill, it’s best to give your local Goodwill organization  a call first to find out any rules or restrictions around these items.
  • Recycle Home
  • Reduce and Reuse Basics
  • Recycling Basics and Benefits
  • Frequent Questions on Recycling
  • How Do I Recycle...
  • What You Can Do
  • Used Electronics
  • Used Batteries
  • Food Waste Prevention
  • Composting at Home
  • Students and Educators

recycling and our environment

Recycling and Our Environment

Mar 21, 2019

180 likes | 331 Views

Recycling and Our Environment. Dianne Thomas MPH Walden University PUBH-6165-7/PUBH-8165-7 Environmental Health Instructor: Rebecca Heick 2009. Purpose. To Encourage awareness in K-12 students Of the effect trash has on the environment and How recycling can help the environment Goal

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Presentation Transcript

Recycling and Our Environment Dianne Thomas MPH Walden University PUBH-6165-7/PUBH-8165-7 Environmental Health Instructor: Rebecca Heick 2009

Purpose • To Encourage awareness in K-12 students • Of the effect trash has on the environment and • How recycling can help the environment • Goal • is for K-12 students to • Understand What Recycling is • Get involved in recycling programs • Develop own programs • Help make earthly decisions Making these decisions can contribute in assisting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Recycling Coalition (NRC), NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)- Bureau of Solid Waste Reduction & Recycling, NYC Department of Sanitation, and New York City Borough Presidents.

Our Environment What is our environment ?

OUR ENVIRONMENT • Air • Water • Land • Animals • People • Plants and Trees

What is happening?

How Can We protect Our Environment? • Reduce • Reuse • Recycle

What is Recycling? SEPARATE COLLECT REUSE

What can be recycled? • Aluminum & Metal • Plastic Bottles & Jars • Glass • All paper products (phone books, paper bags, cardboard, newspapers, mail, food boxes) • Old computers, cell phones, re-chargeable batteries

Why Should I Recycle? • Save the Environment • Reduce Waste • Save Money • Saving natural resources • Save Energy

Why Should I Recycle? Save the Environment Reduce Waste Save Money Saving natural resources Save Energy

Who Should Recycle? • Everyone • At Home • At School • At Work

How Do We Start to Recycle?

How Do We Start? • Earth Day • APRIL 22, 2009 • America Recycles Day • NOVEMBER 15, 2009

References: Environment: Definition from the Merriam-Webster online Dictionary Retrieved online April 10, 2009 from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/environment Geography4kids.com:Atmosphere Composition Retrieved online April 10, 2009 from http://www.geography4kids.com/files/atm_composition.html ThinkQuest: Library Retrieved online April 10, 2009 from http://www.thinkquest.org The Carbon Footprint Retrieved online April 10, 2009 from http://www.gdrc.org/uem/footprints/carbon-footprint.html

References: The Carbon Footprint Retrieved online April 10, 2009 from http://www.gdrc.org/uem/footprints/carbon-footprint.html Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Resource Conservation. US EPA Retrieved online April 10, 2009 from http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserv/rrr/ A Recycling Revolution. Retrieved online April 10, 2009 From http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-facts.html Justforkids: What is Recycling Retrieved online April 10, 2009 from http://www.dep.web.state.pa.us/justforkids/cwpview.asp? a=3&q=469934-30k- David H. Foltz (1991). Recycling Program Design, Management, and Participation: A National Survey of Municipal Experience., Public Administration Review, 1991 Retrieved online April 10, from http://www. Questia.com

References: Resource Recycling System Inc. Retrieved online April 12, 2009 from http://www.recycle.com/faqs.html Bucknell University. Retrieved online April 12, 2009 from http://www.bucknell.edu/x4774.xml Pennsylvania-Department of Environmental Protection Just for Kids Page Retrieved online April 12 2009, from http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/just for kids/cwp/view.asp?a=3&q=469941 National Recycling Coalition – Why It’s Important Retrieved online April 12, 2009, from http://www.nrc-recycle.org/whyitsimportant.aspx NYCWasteLe$$: What to Recycle in New York City Retrieved online April 12, 2009 from http://www.nyc.gov/htm/nycwasterless/html/recycling/recycle_what.shtml

Resources: Recycling is Important Retrieved online April 12, 2009, from http://www. Recycling –guide.org.uk/importance.htm Why Everyone Should Recycle Retrieved online April 14, 2009, from http://www.professorhouse.com/your-home/environmentally-friendly/why-everyone-should-recycle.aspx Earthworks Group (1990). The Recycler’s Handbook.. Berkeley, CA. The EarthWorks Press. Newman, S. & Schwarz, M. (1993). 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Recycle. Berkeley, CA: EarthWorks Press. Paper Stock Institute (1990). “Why Recycle Paper?” Retrieved online April 19, 2009 from http://www.bringrecycle.org/benefits.html America Recycle Day – Celebrate America Recycles Day… Retrieved online April 19, 2009 from http://www.environment.about.com/od/environmentalevents/a/america-recycle.htm

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The impact of textile production and waste on the environment (infographics)

With fast fashion, the quantity of clothes produced and thrown away has boomed. Find out more about the environmental impact and what the EU is doing about it.

Fast fashion is the constant provision of new styles at very low prices.

To tackle the impact on the environment, the EU wants to reduce textile waste and increase the life cycle and recycling of textiles. This is part of the plan to achieve a circular economy by 2050 . Find out about the circular economy's definition, its importance and benefits

Infographic showing the environmental impact of textile consumption per person in the EU in 2022 (use of land, water, raw materials and carbon footprint)

Overconsumption of natural resources

It takes a lot of water to produce textile, plus land to grow cotton and other fibres. It is estimated that the global textile and clothing industry used 79 billion cubic metres of water in 2015, while the needs of the EU's whole economy amounted to 266 billion cubic metres in 2017 . To make a single cotton t-shirt, 2,700 litres of fresh water are required according to estimates, enough to meet one person’s drinking needs for 2.5 years.

The textile sector was the third largest source of water degradation and land use in 2020 . In that year, it took on average nine cubic metres of water, 400 square metres of land and 391 kilogrammes (kg) of raw materials to provide clothes and shoes for each EU citizen.

Water pollution

Textile production is estimated to be responsible for about 20% of global clean water pollution from dyeing and finishing products.

Laundering synthetic clothes accounts for 35% of primary microplastics released into the environment . A single laundry load of polyester clothes can discharge 700,000 microplastic fibres that can end up in the food chain.

The majority of microplastics from textiles are released during the first few washes. Fast fashion is based on mass production, low prices and high sales volumes that promotes many first washes.

Washing synthetic products has caused more than 14 million tonnes of microplastics to accumulate on the bottom of the oceans. In addition to this global problem, the pollution generated by garment production has a devastating impact on the health of local people, animals and ecosystems where the factories are located .

Greenhouse gas emissions

The fashion industry is estimated to be responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions – more than international flights and maritime shipping combined.

According to the European Environment Agency, textile purchases in the EU in 2020 generated about 270 kg of CO2 emissions per person . That means textile products consumed in the EU generated greenhouse gas emissions of 121 million tonnes.

Textile waste in landfills and low recycling rates

The way people get rid of unwanted clothes has also changed, with items being thrown away rather than donated. Less than half of used clothes are collected for reuse or recycling, and only 1% of used clothes are recycled into new clothes, since technologies that would enable clothes to be recycled into virgin fibres are only now starting to emerge.

Between 2000 and 2015, clothing production doubled, while the average use of an item of clothing has decreased.

Europeans use nearly 26 kilos of textiles and discard about 11 kilos of them every year. Used clothes can be exported outside the EU, but are mostly (87%) incinerated or landfilled.

The rise of fast fashion has been crucial in the increase in consumption, driven partly by social media and the industry bringing fashion trends to more consumers at a faster pace than in the past.

The new strategies to tackle this issue include developing new business models for clothing rental, designing products in a way that would make re-use and recycling easier (circular fashion), convincing consumers to buy clothes of better quality that last longer (slow fashion) and generally steering consumer behaviour towards more sustainable options.

Infographic showing growth of textile production over the time (58 million tonnes in 2000, 109 million tonnes in 2020 and projection of 145 million tonnes by 2030)

Reducing textile waste in the EU: what are the solutions?

Work in progress: the eu strategy for sustainable and circular textiles.

As part of the circular economy action plan, the European Commission presented in March 2022 a new strategy to make textiles more durable, repairable, reusable and recyclable , tackle fast fashion and stimulate innovation within the sector.

The new strategy includes new ecodesign requirements for textiles, clearer information, a Digital Product Passport and calls companies to take responsibility and act to minimise their carbon and environmental footprints.

The EU must legally oblige manufacturers and large fashion companies to operate more sustainably. People and the planet are more important than the textile industry’s profits.

On 1 June 2023, MEPs set out proposals for tougher EU measures to halt the excessive production and consumption of textiles. Parliament’s report calls for textiles to be produced respecting human, social and labour rights, as well as the environment and animal welfare.

Existing EU measures to tackle textile waste

Under the waste directive approved by the Parliament in 2018, EU countries are obliged to collect textiles separately by 2025. The new Commission strategy also includes measures to, tackle the presence of hazardous chemicals, calls producers have to take responsibility for their products along the value chain, including when they become wasteand help consumers to choose sustainable textiles.

The EU has an EU Ecolabel that producers respecting ecological criteria can apply to items, ensuring a limited use of harmful substances and reduced water and air pollution.

The EU has also introduced some measures to mitigate the impact of textile waste on the environment. Horizon 2020 funds Resyntex , a project using chemical recycling, which could provide a circular economy business model for the textile industry.

A more sustainable model of textile production also has the potential to boost the economy. "Europe finds itself in an unprecedented health and economic crisis, revealing the fragility of our global supply chains," said lead MEP Jan Huitema (Renew, the Netherlands). "Stimulating new innovative business models will in turn create new economic growth and the job opportunities Europe will need to recover."

More about waste in the EU

  • Waste management in the EU: facts and figures
  • New EU rules for more sustainable and ethical batteries
  • E-waste in the EU: facts and figures (infographic)
  • The EU strategy to reduce plastic pollution

How to reduce packaging waste in the EU (infographics)

Find out more.

  • Environmental impact of the textile and clothing industry

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WEATHER ALERT

2 warnings and an advisory in effect for 4 regions in the area

New agreement eliminates curbside recycling in clay county starting october, the curbside collection assessment of $262 will be included in november’s property taxes.

Aleesia Hatcher , Multimedia Journalist

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Clay County commissioners announced changes to garbage and recycling services starting Oct. 1, which include the elimination of the curbside recycling service.

These changes are part of the new agreement with FCC Environmental Services, the new hauler that will be providing curbside service in Clay County.

According to the county, the curbside collection assessment of $262 will be included in November’s property taxes.

County officials said this new contract will bring an automated garbage collection service. Also, curbside recycling will no longer be available under the new agreement due to “unprecedented cost increases” to residents.

According to the county, adding curbside recycling to the new agreement would have increased the cost to residents now and even more over the next 10 years.

The commission said they do not want to raise the cost of collecting and processing recyclables for residents since about only one-third of residents recycle in the county.

We spoke to a resident who said she is not for this new service.

“My feelings are I’m very disappointed because they’ve gotten rid of recycling altogether,” And we can’t keep putting things into landfill. We’ve got to recycle,” resident Kathy Kass.

Officials said residents will still have service for high-value items until the current contract with Waste Management expires on Sept. 30.

While commissioners voted to remove this service, they said they are open to considering recycling options in the future.

RELATED | Sorting out the new recycling rules in Clay County

Here’s what residents can expect from new garbage/recycling services:

  • Garbage pickup once a week
  • Residents will get a 95-gallon wheeled cart with an attached lid
  • Yard trash pickup once a week
  • Bulk item pickup once a month
  • Additional services to accommodate large amounts of trash or assistance to residents who can’t bring their carts to the curb are available.
  • Residents will get their carts and more information on the additional services available in September
  • Old trash cans can be used for yard trash

If you have any questions, you are encouraged to send an email to [email protected] .

Copyright 2024 by WJXT News4JAX - All rights reserved.

About the Author:

Aleesia hatcher.

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    Clay County commissioners announced changes to garbage and recycling services starting Oct. 1, which include the elimination of the curbside recycling service.