How recycled materials benefit the environment and the economy
The environmental impact of household waste is enormous. Considering that more than half of what's thrown into garbage—and your local landfill—could actually be recycled, there's certainly plenty of room for improvement when it comes to our waste management practices. Doing your part by recycling is a positive start, but you can help even more by choosing recycled products whenever possible.
The defining feature of recycled products is that they are mostly or entirely made up of recycled materials drawn from identical or similar sources. For example, recycled paper is made by salvaging what's usable from paper that would otherwise have been destined for the local landfill. It is reprocessed and reformed into a quality product that's all from indistinguishable from its non-recycled counterparts.
The Benefits of Using Recycled Products
Glass recycling provides an excellent example of why the process is important. In a landfill, a glass bottle will take about 4,000 years to decompose, and even then, it will leave behind residual chemicals which are not part of the natural environment. Why throw glass in the garbage when it can be recycled over and over and over again without limit? Aluminum recycling and plastic recycling are much the same; these materials take an extremely long time to degrade naturally, but can be recycled indefinitely.
Beyond the obvious environmental benefits of reducing landfill volumes, recycling can also help you save money. Many communities have programs in place which offer a small payment in exchange for dropping off suitable items at your local recycling services depot.
Choose Recycled Products Whenever Possible
Recycled paper, plastic and glass are the most visible and readily available products, but there are many other ways you can support recycling programs and their efforts to reduce waste that may not be obvious at first. For example, choose rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones, and discover the benefits of sustainable furniture when you're doing some redecorating around the house.
When you're participating in your municipality's recycling program, make sure you closely follow their guidelines as to what are and what are not acceptable materials. Throwing trash in your recycling bin only adds to the cost of producing the recycled products that hold such promise for reducing waste.