How Does Recycling Help
Recycling is a daily activity for more than 100 million Americans and a great way to protect our environment and stimulate our economy. Recycling saves resources, prevents pollution, supports public health, and creates jobs. It saves money, avoids landfills, and best of all, it’s easy.
To understand the value of recycling, we must look at the entire lifecycle of a product ― from the extraction and processing of raw materials, to the manufacture of the product, to its final disposal. Recycling creates a closed-loop system where unwanted products are returned back to manufacturers for use in new products. This prevents the pollution and destruction that occurs when virgin materials –like trees and precious metals– are extracted from the earth.
By recycling about 30% of our waste every year, Americans save the equivalent of 11.9 billion gallons of gasoline and reduce the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road
Land-filling is not a sustainable planning approach.
Landfills are the largest source of human-caused methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The EPA admits all landfill liners will eventually leak and their toxic leachate, or garbage juice, can seep into and contaminate soil and groundwater supplies. Roughly 20% of the sites on the Superfund list (the nation’s most hazardous sites) are solid waste landfills
Recycling conserves resources
The demand for raw materials used to make plastics, glass, papers, and metals is reduced when we collect recyclables and convert them into new products. Less demand for petroleum distillates, minerals, and trees helps to reduce the pressures of oil refining, mining, and logging on the environment.
Recycling saves energy
Using recycled materials in the manufacturing process uses considerably less energy than that required for producing new products from raw materials – even when comparing all associated costs, like transport.