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Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling can benefit your community and the environment. Here are some recycling basics, courtesy of United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Benefits of Recycling
-Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
-Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
-Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
-Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
-Helps sustain the environment for future generations
-Helps create new well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States
Steps to Recycling Materials
Recycling includes the three steps below, which create a continuous loop, represented by the familiar recycling symbol.
Collection and Processing
There are several methods for collecting recyclables, including curbside collection, drop-off centers, and deposit or refund programs.
After collection, recyclables are sent to a recovery facility to be sorted, cleaned and processed into materials that can be used in manufacturing. Recyclables are bought and sold just like raw materials would be, and prices go up and down depending on supply and demand in the United States and the world.
More and more of today’s products are being manufactured with recycled content. Common household items that contain recycled materials include the following:
-Newspapers and paper towels
-Aluminum, plastic, and glass soft drink containers
-Plastic laundry detergent bottles
Recycled materials are also used in new ways such as recovered glass in asphalt to pave roads or recovered plastic in carpeting and park benches.
Purchasing New Products Made from Recycled Materials
You help close the recycling loop by buying new products made from recycled materials. There are thousands of products that contain recycled content. When you go shopping, look for the following to make your contribution to the world’s recycling efforts:
Products that can be easily recycled
Products that contain recycled content
Below are some of the terms used to identify such products:
Recycled-content product – The product was manufactured with recycled materials either collected from a recycling program or from waste recovered during the normal manufacturing process. The label will sometimes include how much of the content was from recycled materials.
Post-consumer content – Very similar to recycled content, but the material comes only from recyclables collected from consumers or businesses through a recycling program.
Recyclable product – Products that can be collected, processed and manufactured into new products after they have been used. These products do not necessarily contain recycled materials. Remember not all kinds of recyclables may be collected in your community so be sure to check with your local recycling program before you buy.
Some of the common products you can find that can be made with recycled content include the following, adding to your knowledge of recycling basics:
Laundry detergent bottles
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repeat. Simple instruction to make a difference right? Are you asking why you should recycle? Oh let me count the reasons! 🙂
For me, the easy, simple reasons; less garbage, its inexpensive, and its good for the environment. You get a sense of pride when you know, that by recycling items, you are keeping waste from giant landfills and our precious oceans and water sources. What can be recycled? Nearly everything around us can be recycled. Recyclable items can be biodegradable items, clothes, batteries, metals, plastics, glass, electronics, paper, wood and so much more. With the hustle and bustle of current lifestyles, there are more ‘to go’ meals, resulting in more recyclable containers and materials. So make the effort to get those containers where they belong, in your recycling bins!
Nearly everywhere you go now, you can find a recycling bin too. This convenience allows everyone to participate. It just takes a conscience effort. Think about the money you save by recycling. Reducing the amount of garbage, on garbage day, could lower your bill, as most recycling services are free or inexpensive. Purchased items that are made from recyclable materials are cheaper. Fewer raw materials, like trees, have to be processed to make items, saving the earth, and your money. Less energy is needed to make items using recycled materials, than raw materials. By saving energy, the impact on global warming and the carbon foot print left behind is reduce too. These simple reasons should give you enough motivation to participate in recycling. It is as simple as:
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repeat.