Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Benefits of Recycling

Benefits to the planet:
         Similar to how it requires much less time and effort to make a cake that comes from a box and is ready to go with a few ingredients versus making one from scratch (although in this case making one from scratch is better), it takes significantly less energy to recycle products compared to the energy that it costs to make a product.
Recycling also reduces the amount of harmful chemicals that are released in landfills. Chemicals such as CO2 and methane gas have been described as causing global warming. Recycling reduces this because if more recyclable material is actually recycled, than the amount of waste in landfills will be reduced, thus reducing the amount of CO2 emitted. Likewise, if paper is actually recycled it will reduce the amount of methane gas produced. Overall, landfills are horrible for our planet because they take up space and they take years and years to decompose. This is extremely bad because of the amount of garbage that people produce daily (4.5 pounds). Nonetheless, landfills contribute to these harmful chemicals in the atmosphere but are not the only ones.
Benefits to people: 
Two words: health and money. We are all human and we want to be healthy and we like to make extra cash whenever we can!
By knowing the implications of not recycling it is easy to see that a healthy planet equals healthy people. As stated before, recycling reduces the amount of harmful chemicals that contribute to global warming. In the long run, this can be helpful. If we do not do something about it now, obtaining clean water may become an issue through out the world in the future. If we continue to dump waste (including recyclable items) in landfills instead of reusing them, we are likely to run out of space. The chemicals and the waste can end up contaminating our water. If we want future generations to be able to live on the planet we have to make changes now, before it’s too late. In addition, global warming and climate change affects all life on earth. I learned about this topic in my ecology course this semester. Not only is the average temperature increasing, it is also causing extreme weather. It affects precipitation, thus affecting water availability. 
Moreover, we can also benefit from recycling by making money from it! I know that my parents collect soda cans and once they have a good amount, they take it to a recycling center where they get cash for the cans. I think this is such an easy way to make some extra cash and also make a difference for our planet. There are other items that are recyclable for cash, this includes: plastic bottles, glass bottles, certain metals, and even electronics. Similarly, one can also save money by composting. Composting is when organic materials are basically mixed together and the great thing about this is that it can be put back into the earth as fertilizer. 

What YOU can do:
         Hopefully by now I have convinced you that recycling should be an important habit for you in your daily life! Here are a few suggestions for you to get started on helping our planet:
  • An easy way to transition is to begin reusing things, and this works for most things. You could use plastic reusable plates instead of plastic plates; you could reuse glass containers for storage. A great one (which my dad started to do) is to purchase a couple of reusable bags for your groceries, instead of using the plastic ones that they give at the supermarket. Lastly, invest in one or two reusable water bottles! You have a couple options like metal or a plastic one and there are so many designs. This also saves you money because you won’t have to keep buying water bottles, while using less plastic!

  • Now, if you do not want to reuse those glass jars or containers or you must continue to purchase plastic water bottles, make sure you recycle them! Also, just be make sure you try to recycle as much as you can! It all makes a difference.
  • As mentioned before, you could set aside a bin for soda cans or other recyclables that can be sold and make some extra money as you help out our planet.

  • Compost, (yay!) the great thing about composting is that many foods can be composted instead of thrown into the waste bin. Other organic items such as leaves that have been raked are usually thrown away in the waste bin, but can be composted. This will definitely make a difference. With that said, many places have taken the initiative to compost, such as my school: the University of Arizona. Through out campus there are compost bins (as well as different recycling bins). They also have instructions to show guide people into placing the correct items in the compost bins. The student-run organization that leads this program is the Compost Cats. If you are in school and you enjoy clubs and being a leader, you could consider creating a similar program for your school!


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