We all try “do our bit” but some of us don’t know why, we just know we should. We may even know some of the benefits but not what an impact recycling can have. Here are 10 benefits of recycling. Some you may know and some you may not.
1) Recycling saves the planet’s natural resources.
If we re-use the materials we already have available to us then we don’t need to find ways of collecting new raw materials. This saves us mining the earth and cutting down trees which helps protect our wildlife too. Currently it is estimated that 150 acres of the Amazon is being destroyed every minute. This equals 78 million acres per year. The Amazon produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen. If we cut down the Amazon Rainforest the air quality globally will worsen. It is already known carbon dioxide emissions is a global issue. By recycling and reusing we can protect natural resources such as the Amazon Rainforest. We are already on our way to destroying one of the Earth’s most valuable natural resource…
2) Recycling saves energy.
Similar to saving the planet’s natural resources we also save energy. This can be in many forms. Electricity used to cut down trees or mine metals, vehicles using petrol to transport materials globally and the manufacturing of creating a raw material. For example the process of mining metal all to create an aluminium can which we have no shortage of. Was it really worth all that effort? By recycling we save the whole process of gathering raw materials and going back to square one to produce every day items that we don’t need to recreate.
3) Recycling protects the Earth.
By reusing items and materials it decreases air, water, soil and noise pollution. Extracting raw materials leads to the deconstruction of land both directly to the area being effected and the surrounding area. Fracking for example is hugely controversial in the UK. Is this truly a last resort? Last I checked while fossil fuels are not replaceable we have energy sources that are. There seems to be an irony to relying on fossil fuels and living in the dinosaur age.
4) Recycling reduces waste.
Seems an obvious one doesn’t it? Well if it’s so obvious why is was the UK rate of recycling for the years 2016/17 only 43.7%? EU target is 50%. (Yes I know about Brexit, that’s a whole other mess but we should still be aiming above and beyond 50%.) I take my recycling home with me in the same bag I bring my lunchbox in. It takes no effort. My recycling bin is in the kitchen or I pass the bin outside getting into my home. Either way I feel there is no excuse to make a fraction of the effort. If we reuse we reduce our landfills. I can’t think of a downside to waste reduction personally.
5) Recycling reduces incineration.
If we have less waste we have less to burn. Humans are the creator for the destruction of our planet. Nobody else, yet humans can be the solution. Whether you are a parent, sibling or friend I am sure you or someone you know suffers from asthma. Asthma is on the rise due to air quality and climate change which has led to an increase in pollen. How many people do you know suddenly developing hay fever? Are you yourself a sufferer out of nowhere?
6) Recycling can lead to more jobs.
If it is possible to have an endless supply of sustainable energy then we need skilled people to keep the flow of renewable energy. The last deep coal mine in the UK closed in December 2015. The death of a industry that helped make Britain what it is today. But with limited resources comes limited opportunity. We aren’t going to run out of wind, sunlight and waves. Three sources of energy we know can convert to electricity. Whether it is increasing efficiency of how we gather sustainable energy or increasing how we harvest the earth’s natural power, unlike coal mining this is not a limited opportunity.
7) Recycling prevents the loss of biodiversity.
Protecting our biodiversity isn’t just animals in our forests but mining can have a major effect on our ecosystems. Mining leads to soil and water pollution destroying the habits of our smaller animal friends and plants that contribute to the Earth’s health. Recycling will also help protect habitats of animals. As we run out of places to legally dump our waste it leads to illegal dumping. There are so many heartbreaking features about seeing a polar bear and their cub walking on land with no snow, surrounded by rust and bags of what could be anything.
8) Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Burning of materials, transportation and unnecessary production of raw materials all contribute to greenhouse gas emissions we can avoid. By reusing, reducing and recycling we can reduce our carbon footprint. I’m currently sat on a second hand bar stool which cost £15. This was bought from a small business and collected by myself a couple miles away from my home. Less demand… Less supply. I saved money, contributed to a small business and reduced my carbon footprint in the process. If I can buy from a charity shop I will. The mirror in my hallway was £10 from Facebook marketplace. Tell me again why I should buy new from a major business?
9) Recycling keeps our communities clean.
This may be slightly individual but unless you are fortunate enough to live in a clean country (Sweden you are nailing this one), then you will know the ugly site of litter. If we produce less material as a global community then we allow less waste into our environment. No one wants their child to pick up litter, cut their self on broken glass or find your dog choking on a plastic wrapper while out on a walk.
10) Recycling can change the world.
It really is that simple. Look after your planet and it will look after you. By cutting your carbon footprint you will increase your quality of life. We know pollution levels have been linked to poor health. Do you want this to be your future?
No? Then make One Change Now. Future generations will thank you and your child won’t have to walk to school covering their smiles.