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Over the last few decades, exploitation and degradation of our environment have drastically gone up at an alarming rate. Environmental issues such as global warming, acid rain, air pollution, ozone layer depletion, water pollution, climate change, etc. have raised major concern for countries, groups and organizations.
Slowly nations and conscious organization have started taking actions by playing a part in protecting the planet. Recycling is one of the most effective ways that we can do to preserve our planet. But what is recycling? Why do we need to recycle? And what should we recycle?
What is Recycling?
Recycling is the method of turning used and waste materials into new products. This process uses less energy and resources than making a new one, so it offers a big boost to our environment.A lot of our household waste can be broken down and reprocessed to make new things.
Recycling Process is a loop process that includes 3 important steps.
Step 1. Collection of the wastes materials– In the first step of the recycling process, the recyclable materials are collected by the methods of curbside, drop-off centers, buy-back centers , and deposit/refund programs etc.After the collection, the recyclable materials are then sent to a materials recovery facility to be sorted, cleaned, and baled, so that it can be converted into a marketable raw material and sold to processing companies.
Step 2. Processing the wastes– In the second step, once the recyclables are cleaned and sorted, they are processed to retrieve the raw materials, and the raw materials are then used in manufacturing and recycling into a new product.Almost all the recyclables need to be broken down, crushed, shredded, melted or liquefied into its basic raw elements to be remolded into new product
Step 3. Purchasing recycled products– The third step includes the purchasing of recycled products by consumers. After the products are made, it is returned to the market and purchased by the consumers. A lot of products nowadays content full or partial recycled content. With the rise in demands of environment-friendly products by the consumers, many manufacturers are continuing to produce high quality recycled products to meet the demands
The above three steps are vital for the loop to be completed. The value and benefits of the recycling greatly reduce, should any of the steps are missed.
(Image Source: www.brainfeedmagazine.com )
Why do we need to recycle?
Other than having a positive impact in the world we all live in, there are plenty of more important reasons for us to recycle such as:
Saves Energy: Mostly, recycling uses less energy in the manufacturing process than it does to produce items with raw material. For example, recycling aluminium saves 95% of the energy required to produce aluminium cans from virgin mined bauxite. It also brings down the prices of the products.
Conserves Resources: Recycling diminishes dependence on virgin raw materials when manufacturing new products and also reducing demands on increasingly scarce natural resources and raw materials such as minerals, trees and petroleum distillates, thus avoiding the environmental damage.
Pollution Control: Recycling drastically reduces air pollution, water pollution and land pollution that is caused by discarded or burning of waste. It also tapers the need for Landfills, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling can surely achieve the objective of keeping materials out of the landfill by providing materials that will be used again to manufacture new products.
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What Should We Recycle?
There are a lot of wastes products and items that can be recycled. Some common materials that should be recycled include:
• Paper – such as office paper, newspapers, magazines, junk mails, envelopes, and cardboard packaging etc.
• Metal – such as cans, metal food containers,foil, steel, tin, aluminium and empty aerosols
• Plastic – such as bottles, carrier bags, tubs, food containers, wrappers, juice and milk cartons etc.
• Glass – such as bottles, jars, and food containers
Indoor and outdoor recycling practices
-Use a recycling bin to easily organize your recyclable waste.
-Recycle your organic food waste such as fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds and eggshells by making compost out of it
-Use biodegradable bath and cleaning products so that you can water your plants with a leftover bath or sink water.
-Only use recyclable products by identifying the universal recycling symbol on the packaging to reduce the use of resources and energy
– Take your clothes to clothes-recycling service if they are no longer wearable or give them to charity, friends and family.
-Recycle electronics and gadgets where possible.
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Recycling and Reusing of the wastes play a significant role in sustainability because it reduces the negative impact that human activities have on the environment. You may be an individual consumer or be part of a business organization or government,but you have an important role in making recycling a success.
The earth is a beautiful place and it will be unfair on the future generation to leave it exhausted and depleted for them.