As you all no doubt know, we cannot sustain our consumerist lifestyle by exhausting Earth’s resources. Many of the products we use are wrapped in several layers of easily recycled packaging. It’s not difficult to keep a recycling bin in your house to recycle the plastic water bottles and scratch paper you use on a daily basis.
That is why this week’s Be Better challenge is to recycle everything you can. Whether it’s plastic, aluminum, paper, wood or tin, recycling helps conserve Earth’s valuable resources.
According to Xtremeenvironmental, throwing away a single aluminum can, instead of recycling it, is like pouring out six ounces of gasoline. Last year, Americans recycled enough aluminum cans to conserve the energy equivalent of more than 15 million barrels of oil.
What if every American doubled the amount of cans he or she recycles this year? We have the opportunity and the power to conserve oil through recycling.
Recycling is Earth-friendly. Throwing waste into landfills runs the risk of contaminating our underground water with dangerous chemicals. Burning our solid waste is effective and energy-generating, but it pollutes the air, which can affect our physical health. One astounding statistic from pacebutler notes that recycling just 35 percent of our trash would reduce toxic emissions as much as taking 36 million cars off the road would. We would save huge amounts of energy and decrease air pollution significantly.
There is money in recycling. On an individual level, we can each make money by recycling. Walk around a field during a soccer tournament, collect all of the plastic bottles and cans, and take them to the recycling center to redeem them for cash! You probably have several things lying around the house that you no longer want or need, including old cell phones, PDAs, or ink cartridges. Pacebutler buys old cell phones for cash and recycles them. Send in a phone for recycling, and earn nearly $50. There are also financial benefits for the community when you recycle. For example, aluminum cans are the most valuable item in your bin. Recycling aluminum cans helps fund the entire curbside collection. It’s the only packaging material that more than covers the cost of collection and reprocessing.
And consider this: It takes more energy to manufacture a brand-new aluminum can than it does to recycle 20 aluminum cans.
5 Ways to Reduce the Amount of Trash we Create
1. Bring a reusable grocery bag to the store.
2. Purchase in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging.
3. Request email confirmations for receipts and paper statements.
4. Avoid using disposable utensils and plastic cups.
5. When wrapping a gift, use a reusable gift bag instead of wrapping paper.
Recycling helps build our local communities. Most cities have thrift shops, such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army, that take your unwanted possessions and resell them to raise money for the nonprofit organization. These donations are also tax-deductible.
It’s also important to buy products made from reused materials. You can identify them by the recycling symbol on the product’s packaging.