How Recycling Benefits Society

One of the most popular ways to help protect the environment is to recycle.  Recycling refers to reprocessing old, used, unwanted items into new reusable products.  Recycling is not only eco-friendly it offers some financial benefits too.  Here are some ways in which recycling benefits both man and the environment.

Environment advocates and government planners have stated that recycling saves businesses, governments and individual households considerable sums of money.  According to the Institute for Local Self Reliance, communities save money when they treat recycling as a replacement for the traditional waste disposal and waste handling methods.  By implementing recycling initiatives in local communities, community managers and planners have redesigned garbage collection schedules and reduced the operating time for their garbage trucks and equipment.  Many communities have added the convenience of pickup of recyclable materials at the curbside in addition to the regular collection of garbage.

Some skeptics argue recycling costs much more than traditional garbage disposal methods.  Green advocates say the prices paid for scrap materials are a direct measure of the immense value of recyclables.  For example, scrap aluminum fetches a high price because recycling it uses much less energy when compared to producing a new aluminum product.  The US Environmental Protection Agency notes that recycling aluminum cans san save as much as 95 percent of the energy needed to produce new aluminum cans from bauxite, the original source for making aluminum.

According to data from the US Energy Information Administration, a paper mill will actually use 40 percent less energy to make paper from recycled materials than it will to make paper from freshly cut lumber.  Producing recycled paper consumes less energy and water when compared to harvesting, processing and transporting timber.    Proponents of recycling paper also stress that the need to use a second timber or logging truck is avoided when paper is collected and used for recycling.

Recycling actually helps provide new jobs.  Some critics counter that recycling created jobs offer low pay and terrible working conditions.  Recycling advocates stress that the jobs involving the recovery and processing of raw materials, such as work in mining or timber production, are actually more dangerous than the recycling jobs. Mining, timber extraction and other raw material sourcing activities may often result in creating deplorable conditions for both workers and the surrounding communities.

In addition to saving money and energy, recycling helps save our precious natural resources and thus our environment.  Paper recycling, for example, helps to protect forests and helps protect the wildlife habitats.  Recycling allows for a wiser management of our natural resources.  Additionally, recycling cuts pollution, reduces the need for building more landfills and creates more jobs and new business opportunities.