Most people want to find ways to help the earth. Some do this by driving their car less often or skip buying products like plastic water bottles. It’s good to always look for new tips to live a greener lifestyle, but old habits like recycling can have just as much of a positive impact on the planet.
Recycling started going mainstream decades ago, which is one of the reasons why people often cast it aside. They might believe it’s an old way of going green, but it still improves the earth in several ways.
The following are a few of the positive effects of recycling on the environment. Check them out as it may give you a renewed sense of drive to minimize your waste by recycling everything you can.
1. Recycling Maintains Oxygen Levels
Paper is a material many people take for granted. It’s what we use at work or school to learn and convey messages. It fills books and wraps presents, but most of it comes from trees that get ripped from the ground.
Recycling paper is an easy way to help maintain oxygen levels around the world, which is especially necessary during the current unprecedented rise of global warming. Every time the New York Times prints their Sunday edition, the paper requires the demolition of 75,000 trees to form the many pages. One tree can produce over 260 pounds of oxygen, so creating new paper out of recycled materials minimizes oxygen depletion from forests.
2. Recycling Reduces Landfill Waste
Landfills are a common resource for people looking to throw away junk, but they contain materials that could be recycled instead. See if you’ve thrown some of these materials into your local landfill and commit to recycling the resources you use every day.
What to Recycle
- Cardboard is easy to breakdown and made into new cardboard.
- Recycled glass gets melted and reformed, even glass made with the Float Glass Process like with windshields.
- Aluminum recycling factories shred and melt it into new objects, such as cans.
What to Throw Away
- Styrofoam isn’t reusable, even though it pollutes the air with dioxins as it decays.
- Lightbulbs made of glass get sent to landfills because most recycling centers don’t have the resources to separate the glass from the materials inside.
- Plastic bags end up in landfills because they require different separating and processing equipment most recycling plants don’t have.
3. Recycling Conserves Energy
Compared to the energy it takes to burn and process landfill waste, recycling plants save more energy than they use. They do require electricity to operate, but they use much less energy per material than if the paper, plastic and glass ended up in a landfill. The amount of energy saved only grows larger compared to the electricity needed to create products from fresh materials and not recycled ones.
4. Recycling Saves Natural Habitats
The destruction of trees to make new paper does more than reduce the oxygen in the atmosphere. It also eliminates natural habitats due to forest reduction. The animal kingdom is already facing a population crisis due to climate change, which isn’t helped by humans taking their food and housing resources like trees.
5. Recycling Cleans the Oceans
Plastic is easy to recycle, but eight million metric tons still end up in the ocean and hurt marine wildlife every year. If it’s not plastic soda rings and bottles filling the stomachs of innocent sea life, then the microplastics are harming animals even down to microscopic levels. Recycling helps prevent plastic products from ending up in the ocean.
Pay It Forward
Recycling gives back to the earth with these numerous benefits. So, take the time to recycle in order to pay the planet’s kindness forward. With a quick trip to your closest recycling center, you’ll improve the living conditions of the earth for all who inhabit it.