Many utility and city programs around the country have started to participate in recycling. Not only is it becoming more popular, but people are seeing it as an easy way to help the planet and conserve resources. There are many benefits of recycling, ranging from environmental and economical.
Many city programs have started recycling to reduce the amount of garbage in landfills. In the 1980s, Americans sent close to 150 million tons of garbage to landfills each year. Currently, Americans still dump an average of 100 million tons each year. In many large cities, space for landfills is scarce, and many people do not like them around. It is estimated that today, 32 percent of waste is recycled which prevents 60 million tons of garbage from ending up in the landfill.
One of the main reasons for recycling is that it helps to consume fewer resources from the earth. Many products today are made from recycled materials which help to use less trees, metal, and plastic. It is an obvious answer to use these materials again, many of which do not easily break down in the environment. It is estimated that every ton of paper recycled each year saves close seven thousand gallons of water and 17 trees. For every ton of glass recycled, 10 gallons of oil are saved.
For the main part, recycling also uses less energy. While this benefit is often debated, many of the recycling processes use less energy than it would to make the same item from new resources. One example of this is plastic. It is very expensive to manufacture new plastic. However, it also is an extensive process to recycle plastic. There are many variables in this debate. One could argue that saving the landfill space itself is the most important aspect of the picture.
Another benefit is recycling is saving money. Many city programs have found that recycling can save money in addition to adding more jobs and creating revenue. Some cities around the country also encourage their citizens to recycle by providing incentives such as money back or gift cards to stores. In addition, many companies offer money for recycling certain goods such as old computers, cell phones, aluminum cans, or other metals. Some people even use this as a side hobby as a simple way to earn money.
The development of recycling constantly pushes the development of greener technology. Many companies and even city programs are continually trying to find a better way to recycle or experimenting with new materials to recycle.
With recycling comes the reduced risk of pollution in the environment. The U.S. EPA estimates that the second largest source of greenhouse gas is methane. Landfills account for about 37 percent of methane gas output. Reducing landfill size will reduce methane gas produced. In addition, less dump in the landfill means less toxic waste that will end up in our environment.
Obviously, there are many benefits to recycling. With so many cities and countries participating in this important program, it is becoming easier for many people to take part. In many cases, it is as easy as sorting your trash, putting it in a bin, and rolling the bin to the curb once a week.