When Was the Last Time YOU Recycled?

by Isabella Talamantes


How you can do your part!

What are the three R’s?

Reduce: to diminish the amount of created waste

Reuse: using objects more than once before throwing away

Recycle: instead of throwing away an item, that product is put to a new use

Where does my recycling go?

So, what actually happens once you put the recycling in the bin? Well, once your recycling is collected, it is taken to a plant. At the plant, it is sorted and then, once enough of the same kind of material is collected, it is compressed into a large block called a bale (1,000-1,500 pounds per block). After it is sorted and compressed, these bales are sold to third party companies who then clean, process, and produce new products out of the recycled materials

Why should I recycle?

Have you ever seen a plastic bottle, noisily and wistfully making its way down a street? Well if you see another wandering bottle, CATCH THAT SUCKER! If you see trash blowing around or lying around, don’t leave it be- pick it up! However, after you pick it up, your instinct is going to be to throw that item into a garbage can: Don’t do that! Wait up a second. Before you toss another misunderstood recycle-able into a trash can, make sure you know it’s intended for the waste container and not the recycling bin. The majority of recycle-able materials, sadly, end up in the wrong can. Things like plastic can sit in landfills for 20-500 YEARS before they decompose, and even then, they still aren’t completely gone! Which proves how big of an impact a small decision makes, and how important it is to differentiate recycle-able materials from trash. By putting recycle-ables in the CORRECT bin, you are helping the environment in the following ways:

1) You are helping prevent overflow in landfills, as well as in incinerators (You are additionally reducing some of the incredible pollution that incinerators create.).

2) You are keeping your environment clean. No one wants to see trash littering the sidewalks, or plastic bags flying around. Help maintain the cleanliness of your neighborhood!

3) You are also reducing the amount of total waste, as well as keeping the environment and its wildlife safe.

Another reason why you should recycle is that recycling helps in the conservation of many nonrenewable resources. What are nonrenewable resources, you may ask? They are natural resources that are not replenished at the speed at which they are consumed. Fossil fuels like oil, natural gases, and coal are all examples of nonrenewable resources. Not only should we be recycling to reduce our use of these finite resources, simply because they will eventually run out, but also because of the harmful process that comes with extracting raw materials from the earth. Another benefit of recycling is that it protects the environment by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants. Air and water pollution is the consequence of harmful gas and ash releasing into the air when these materials are extracted from earth’s core. Recycling scrap metal as well as reusing plastic and aluminum reduces the need for natural resources and restrains the hunt for raw materials.

Not convinced?

Recycling creates jobs, saves energy, helps conserve natural resources, AND keeps the environment clean, as well as healthy. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be recycling. Too hard? -deal with small inconveniences. Can’t find a recycling bin? -help advocate for more bins! Don’t know how? Use this guide! Getting informed is a great way to get started, but your mindset and actions are just as important. Don’t let yourself think that you aren’t making a difference, or that an action is ever too small! If everyone were to recycle one thing everyday it would make a big impact. Change starts with you.

Sources:

· https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UuUeoyYmxI

· https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWpaN6S16xY

· https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/importance_of_recycling.php

· http://www.recycling-guide.org.uk/importance.html#:~:text=Harmful%20chemicals%20and%20greenhouse%20gasses,the%20rainforests%20can%20be%20preserved.

· https://sanjoserecycles.org/5-reasons-to-recycle/

· https://chariotenergy.com/blog/how-long-until-plastic-decomposes/#:~:text=Plastics%20can%20take%20anywhere%20from,on%20the%20material%20and%20structure

· https://www.planetaid.org/blog/incinerators-vs-the-environment#:~:text=When%20examined%20closely%2C%20its%20clear,produce%20incredible%20amounts%20of%20pollution.&text=This%20ash%20from%20incinerators%20often,air%2C%20soil%2C%20and%20water

· https://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/nonrenewableresource.asp

· https://www.capitalscrapmetal.com/interesting-scraps/7-ways-recycling-protects-the-earths-resources/#:~:text=Extracting%20raw%20materials%20from%20the,by%20reducing%20the%20greenhouse%20emissions.

· https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4LZwCDaoQM

· https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/how-recycling-centers-work#:~:text=Recyclables%20are%20actually%20considered%20a,make%20them%20into%20new%20products.

· https://www.solarschools.net/knowledge-bank/sustainability/reduce-reuse-recycle#:~:text=Reduce%20means%20to%20minimise%20the,instead%20of%20throwing%20it%20away