The five most important reasons, according to Environmental Systems of America, Inc. are:
Recycling saves natural resources by reducing the need to drill for oil and dig for minerals.
Recycling saves energy. It often takes less energy to make products from recycled material than raw materials; for example, recycled aluminum takes 95% less energy than new aluminum from bauxite ore.
Recycling helps keep the air and water cleaner. Making products from recycled materials typically creates less air and water pollution than making products from virgin materials. Recycling saves landfill space by reusing products that would otherwise have gone to a landfill or been incinerated.
Recycling saves money and creates jobs. The recycling process creates more jobs than landfills or incinerators and the cost of recycling is often lower than or about the same as other forms of waste management.
For more information on recycling, rainforests, energy, climate, and solid waste, be sure to check out the Environmental Systems of America, Inc. website.
Recycling benefits us all in some way. It reduces pollution, reduces the need to harvest natural resources, saves landfill space, creates jobs, and can save you money. By choosing to recycle, you are improving your environment today. In addition, you are helping to ensure that future generations have clean air to breathe, water to drink, ample natural resources, and more land for parks and playgrounds (by reducing the need for landfills).
It often feels as though there is nothing we, as individuals, can do to help our environment; however, every one of us has the power to improve our immediate environment. Every step we take to reduce, reuse, and recycle benefits our air, our water, and our earth. Even seemingly small steps can have a dramatic impact. For example, 90% of the total electricity used by a standard incandescent light bulb is wasted as heat. Replacing that one bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb (which burns much cooler) will result in a reduction of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere over the bulb's lifetime as well as help lower your electric bill. (Source: Grist Magazine). Now think about how many light bulbs there are in your house. Still think you can't make a difference?
Recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 3.5 hours (Source: DEP). Americans throw away enough aluminum every three months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet. Americans discard enough glass containers to fill the 1,350-foot twin towers of New York's World Trade Center every two weeks! You can make 20 cans out of recycled material with the same amount of energy it takes to make one new can. Incinerating 10,000 tons of waste creates 1 job, landfilling the same amount creates 6 jobs, recycling the same 10,000 tons creates 36 jobs. Everyday Americans buy 62 million newspapers and throw out 44 million. That's the equivalent of dumping 500,000 trees into a landfill every week. American's throw away enough office and writing paper annually to build a wall 12 feet high stretching from Los Angeles to New York City. One tree can filter up to 60 pounds of pollutants from the air each year. It takes 75,000 trees to print a Sunday Edition of the New York Times. One ton of recycled paper uses 64% less energy and 50% less water, creates 74% less air pollution, saves 17 trees, and creates five times more jobs than one ton of paper products from virgin wood pulp.
Car parts, appliances, and nearly everything made of metal (and many other materials, as well) can, and should, be recycled. Here are some interesting statistics on automobile and steel recycling we found in Roscoe's Recycle Room:
It takes about 45 seconds to shred the average automobile into fist-sized pieces of steel for recycling.
Recycling just one car saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.
The steel found in just six cars, when recycled, is enough to build a brand new house, using steel framing of course!
Using steel framing to build a house means less waste! In fact, the amount of waste generated at a steel housing construction site would fit into a regular garbage can. And, more importantly, that waste can be recycled!
We are currently checking with Warren and Jamestown retailers to see if anyone locally sells recycled products. If you own or know of a local business that offers recycled merchandise, please contact us.
Major chains, such as Kmart and Wal-Mart, typically have some merchandise that is at least partially manufactured from post-consumer recycled materials; just check the labels. Many grocery stores offer some recycled paper products, which are often less expensive than their non-recycled competitors, and seem to be of comparable quality. There are a few online merchants that offer products made from recycled materials. Some of their prices seem a little high, but they do offer some very interesting items.
Another interesting site we found while surfing is Recycler's World. Recycler's World is home of the recycler's exchange, very comprehensive site where you can buy or sell almost anything, thereby recycling it. Recycler's World was established as a world-wide trading site for information related to secondary or recyclable commodities, by-products, used, and surplus items or materials.
If you've read everything up to this point, you already know there are things you can do, right now, to make a difference. You can replace some (or all) of your incandescent light bulbs with the newer, more energy-efficient, fluorescent bulbs to reduce your energy bill and carbon dioxide emissions. You can recycle your cans, glass and plastic bottles, newspapers, automobiles, appliances, and many other items, either by taking them to local recycling drop-off centers, reusing them, or selling or giving them away. You can start a compost pile, which you can use to add valuable nutrients to your (or your neighbor's) soil, as well as help reduce the need for landfills. There are many other things we can do to have a positive impact on our environment and our wallets, such as implementing alterative energy sources at home (wind or solar power, for example) or on the road ("green" cars and trucks). By developing environmentally friendly habits today, we help to ensure that future generations have the same (or better) quality of air, water, and land that we have today. Check out the links below for related sites.