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There are many good reasons to recycle but did you know, according to a 2011 government report, Australia generates roughly 50 million tonnes of waste a year, around 50-60% of which is recycled.
The more we recycle the less materials have to be used for the manufacture of new products. Recycling is good for both the economy and the environment.
Recycling has become a major industry, from those employed in the recycling of used materials to those employed in turning recycled materials into new products. The recycling industry employs thousands of people, something that will increase as recycling becomes more common. It can also mean less money is wasted on getting rid of unwanted waste and sourcing raw material.
Recycle for the environment
The most obvious benefit is the impact on the environment. The more materials can be reused the less the impact on the environment; from oil being used to manufacture plastic to trees being chopped down for wood. Not only does using raw materials have a negative impact on the environment but getting rid of waste does too.
Natural resources are needed when brand new products are being made. This involves a long process that can include mining or forestry. Natural resources are used and energy is wasted. It always takes less energy to use recycled materials than to manufacture products from scratch. Energy is used in sourcing materials and extracting materials. Transportation also wastes energy with certain materials having to be transported from one side of the world to another. With recycled materials this is not the case. A good example of this is with aluminium cans. The recycling process for aluminium cans uses just five per cent of the energy of extracting the required materials. Twenty recycled cans can be made with the energy of manufacturing just one from raw materials.
More Reasons to Recycle
Landfill is a problem. We often get rid of waste by burying it in the ground at so-called landfill sites. Eventually space at a landfill site runs out so more sites have to be created. It is not just space that is a problem though. There is the environmental impact of chemicals leaking into the earth, potentially ending up in streams and rivers. This can make its way into our drinking water and have an impact on wildlife.
Gases and chemicals do harm to the earth. Mining raw materials produces gasses, and in some cases, chemicals. This is another way in which recycling can benefit the environment. Although there are times when recycling produces gas it is to a lesser degree.
There is no real reason not to recycle. It is very simple to do and can have a major positive impact on the world we live in. Most households in Australia have curb side collections for recyclable products. These vary from area to area but can include pickups for plastic, glass, cardboard, paper, food and garden waste. If in doubt about your local collections, contact your local council. Even if certain products are not collected you can take them to your local. Even if certain products are not collected you can take them to your local recycling centre.
Although this takes a little effort, is it not worth this effort to benefit the earth and in particular our children’s and grandchildren’s generations?
At the moment over half of rubbish that is not recycled could be. While this is a lower figure than it once was this could be better. It is possible we could halve the amount of waste we currently produce.