Recycling: Why It Matters

Do you ever stop and wonder why recycling is so important? There are a number of good reasons for that. You can find some of them here.

We Are Facing A Worldwide Crisis

Humanity is at a turning point. Due to pollution and destruction of the environment, the future looks bleak.

Anthropogenic global warming, also known as man-made global warming, is a scientific fact. That was made abundantly clear once again in 2013, as the IPCC noted that “climate change is unequivocal”, and that “human influence is at least 95% certain”.

In addition, the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that up to as much as 75% of all waste in the states is actually recyclable. Only about 30% is currently recycled though. As a species, we generate almost 22 million tons of food waste each year.

Indeed, as a species, we face a worldwide crisis. And that’s the main reason why recycling matters.

Recycling: A Huge Business Opportunity

Businesses, such as Aim’n, that proactively begin working with recycling will likely end up with competitive advantages. By transforming to sustainable production, their image will improve, and money will be saved.

Recycling: The Obvious Choice For The Future

It is expected that we will begin observing shortages in terms of resources and energy in the future. As such, it is of utmost importance that we begin transforming how we deal with resources and production. By recycling products, not only do we improve environmental affairs. We also save money.

Is Recycling Worth It?

Does recycling have any benefits? While some critics have argued that recycling isn’t the right path, mother nature has indeed benefitted from this noble cause. In this article, we have shared five reasons why the proponents of recycling, for example, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) champion recycling.

Environmental Conservation

You will agree with me that the world is no longer the same as it was two hundred years ago. Human activity has taken a toll on mother nature, and from the look of things, we are headed the wrong way. We are currently depleting natural resources, especially through manufacturing. But with recycling, the world can now cut down on the exploitation of natural resources.

A good example is the manufacture of plastics, which leaves the atmosphere polluted, and plastic waste filling our oceans. Studies suggest that in 2050, the number of plastics in the oceans will exceed that of fish. On the other hand, recycling steel cuts down energy consumption by up to 74% and reduces emissions. That is enough reason to recycle steel.

Economic Security

With trade wars and sanctions looming, recycling can help countries and regions in enhancing their economic security, especially when it comes to sourcing raw materials. With the right recycling policies, it’s possible to cut the reliance on raw material imports.

The UK government has led by example and today, the UK exports over half a million tons of plastic to other countries. This has been a strategic way of managing the plastic problem in the UK, and also, it’s a foreign exchange earner. Also, The Navigation Acts, as well as the recent Japan vs China trade war, attest to the importance of self-reliance when it comes to crucial raw material imports.

Job Creation

Today, the recycling industry is huge, as companies are finding a profit in recycling old stuff and turning it into finished products. In turn, this has contributed to the growth of jobs in different industries. Recycling has also proved to be a great self-employment idea for many, and there are some truly inspiring stories.

Veolia UK, FCC Environment, Suez Environment UK and Bigga Group are among the biggest recycling companies in the UK. We also have stories of entrepreneurs who have made a fortune from trash.

Summary

Indeed, recycling is a worthy cause that should be embraced by the entire human population. Let’s think of the damage we are causing with plastics, chemicals, emissions, and deforestation. Research shows that in the last 25 years, we have already depleted 10% of the remaining wilderness, and there will be none left for our future generation. Embracing recycling, at a personal, domestic and industrial level is something everyone should work towards.

What is Recycling?

Recycling is the repurposing of waste material into meaningful purpose instead of sending it to landfills as waste or to incinerators. Recycling is a noble cause that helps to conserve the environment in many ways, and above all, it is cost-efficient. This is regardless of whether you are recycling at a personal/domestic level, or it is large scale recycling.

Save for the DIY recycling projects, recycling on an industrial scale has to meet three thresholds. These are the three stages of recycling, as discussed below.

Collection

Unless you are recycling a single item, the first stage in large scale recycling is the collection and processing stage. Here, the material waste is collected from the community using kerbside collections, junk collection services, and dedicated drop off centres. After that, the materials are sorted depending on the type of project at hand. Once the amount of waste is enough, it is moved to the respective plants ready for manufacturing.

Grading and Manufacturing

The waste material is taken to the respective recycling plants where it is graded and prepared for recycling. The recycling process varies depending on what is being recycled. But the idea is to use as little resources as possible to come up with entirely new products. It’s imperative to note that in today’s world, a lot of products are manufactured from recycled waste, and these include newspapers, steel products, plastic, and so on.

Sale of Recycled Products

The goal of recycling is to come up with final recycled material products for sale. Here, it is important to note that recycled products take different forms. There are products made from 100% recycled materials. In contrast, others are just parts of an entire product, or the products are partly made from recycled material. When shopping, it’s a great idea to buy recycled products to be part of the change.

Recycling is an efficient and cost-effective waste management method. But then there have been criticisms regarding the energy used in material flow and remanufacturing, as well as the poor working conditions witnessed in most recycling plants. But at the end of the day, the benefits outweigh the shortcomings of the process. Without recycling, the plastic problem will explode, our emissions will increase, and worse still, we will deplete our resources.

Three Recyclable Household Items

Recycling is a sustainable way of conserving the environment, and the good thing is, everyone can be part of this noble cause. In this article, we have shared three household items that you should consider recycling.

Plastics

All households have plastics, from the soft drink bottles and plastic containers to polythene bags that are used to pack foodstuffs, among other items. Instead of disposing of them together with your organic garbage, consider putting them in a separate bin and sending them to a recycling centre. You can also label them as recyclable plastics to help the garbage collectors sort them.

Paper Products

Another category of recyclable household items is paper products, and these include junk mail and cards, old books, shredded paper, cardboard boxes, and milk and juice cartons, among others. Paper products are easily recyclable and separating them from the other garbage can go a long way in reducing the amount of waste we send to landfills and incinerators.

Old Electronics and Appliances

Many are times we have old electronics and appliances that we want to dispose of. Data from Statista shows that eWaste is increasingly becoming a problem. Today, electronic waste is the “fastest-growing waste stream in the world”, and the worst thing is that these items can’t decompose and also contain harmful chemicals. That said, it’s important to discard all the eWaste from your home responsibly; call a recycling centre, and they will come for all your eWaste.

There you have it folks, three household items that can be recycled. The idea here is to ensure that what can be recycled doesn’t end up in the landfills and incinerators. In the landfills, most of this garbage will not decompose while in the incinerators, they will only multiply the emissions.

Mandatory Composting Law in San Francisco

There are many successful recycling projects started by governments and even individuals. In today’s feature, we focus on San Francisco and mandatory composting.

Did you know that in San Francisco, it is an offence not to have a composting arrangement in your property? This is according to a new law that requires residents to recycle all organic waste. Residents turn food waste and all other organic garbage to valuable compost.

Over a short period, mandatory composting in San Francisco has been a success and today, the state is diverting 72% of the trash that would have otherwise gone to the landfills and incinerators. The authorities say that if all the organic waste is recycled, the state will achieve a 90% recycling rate.

Several other states are looking to adopt such laws and Vermont could be the next to have mandatory composting requirements.

In the UK, there are no laws on recycling. Still, the government and other institutions advocate recycling, and there are elaborate plans to control the amount of waste disposal. But then, not everything can be recycled, and it’s actually illegal to recycle something that is not recyclable.

Pepsi Reverse Vending Booth Pays You to Recycle

In this recycling success feature, we look at Pepsi’s new idea to encourage recycling by buying back their used cans and bottles.

While the traditional vending booths require money to offer the beverages, there’s a new one that buys back the empties. Dubbed ‘The Dream Machine’ this is a brilliant idea implemented in New York. Pepsi sponsors it in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful and Waste Management.

The system is basically a GreenOps computerised booth that has been designed to scan the barcodes of empty aluminium cans and PET plastic bottles. After that, it awards depositors points which can be redeemed for prizes on the Greenopolis website or at the host’s venues.

Since their introduction over a decade ago, ‘The Dream Machines’ have recycled millions of plastic bottles and metal cans which would have otherwise ended up in the landfills, or the ocean.

The Pepsi Reverse Vending Booth is a great way to ensure we reduce plastic pollution as well as the exploitation of our natural resources. If adopted by other beverage companies, we could at least minimise the impact of pollution on mother nature.

Four Brands Lead in Plastic Pollution: Call for Stiffer Measures

You will agree with me that plastic pollution is a menace. Studies show that by 2020, there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish. This should be a significant cause for alarm and calls for the participation of all stakeholders in the recycling of plastics.

Unfortunately, four top brands are leading when it comes to pollution, thus aggravating matters. This is according to a report by Tearfund, a UK-based Christian relief and development organisation. In the report dubbed “The Burning Question: Will Companies Reduce Their Plastic Use?”, the agency names Coca-Cola, NestlĂ©, Unilever and PepsiCo as the companies responsible for vast plastic pollution.

The Daily Mail reports that in the research conducted in six countries, the four brands are responsible for over half a million metric tons of plastics that are dumped in landfills, sent to the incinerators or burned in some way.

Coca Cola is the biggest culprit with a 200,000 metric tons plastic pollution footprint followed by Pepsi at 137,000 metric tons. The third is NestlĂ© with 95,000 metric tons, and Unilever comes in at fourth with 70,000 metric tons. These are annual figures, and that tells you there’s a problem.

In different responses, the four companies seemed to acknowledge the fact that there is a problem. But all promised that they have strategic plans underway to cut down on plastics and embrace recycling in the next five to 10 years.

But it’s not just the companies; we have a responsibility to ensure we collect the plastics we use for proper disposal and recycling.

Coronavirus Sparking Cardboard Shortage in the UK

The new coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a nightmare to businesses, including the recycling industry. In the latest news, the pandemic could spark a shortage of cardboard in the UK and the whole of Europe. This is because most recyclables collection services have been suspended as the world as a whole continues to grapple with the effects of the pandemic.

Now, The Recycling Association is warning that there could be a shortage of fibre and other recyclables that are used to manufacture cardboard. This is because most of the fibre ends up in household bins. In the end, residents resort to ‘backyard burning.’ Recently, there have been more than 12 fire emergencies in Wigan alone that escalated from ‘backyard burning.’

Fibre, which mainly consists of used paper and cardboard, is widely recycled to manufacture packaging cardboards and boxes. With the sudden drop in fibre waste, we are more likely to witness a crisis as essential supplies, including food and medicine, will be hard to package for distribution.

Now, the only hope is for the authorities, in conjunction with the stakeholders and the public, to step in and find ways through which collection services can resume, but obviously, with the necessary measures in place to protect workers.

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