Thursday, April 24, 2014

Recycling: A Sustainability Action We All Can Do

By Anthony Vigna

"Heavy Metal"  (photo: Jan Barry)

Did you know that we dump 100 million tons of garbage annually in the United States? Many of the things we use go through a very linear system, in which a product is made and then thrown out to be dumped in a landfill. In terms of world sustainability, this is incredibly dangerous to the environment and causes many pollution issues to this day.

Before we celebrated Earth Day and spread awareness about this issue, our waste problem was even worse than this and peaked at 150 million tons of garbage in a single year. That’s a lot of garbage!

However, once people became more aware about the environment, they began to understand that a linear disposal system would be extremely harmful. These people realized that they should be focusing more on a cyclical system in which a product is used and then reborn to be used again. In essence, this is exactly what recycling accomplishes. By engaging in this process, we are able to dramatically lower the amount of waste we create and maintain a more sustainable world.

It’s important to recognize the progress made since the 1980s, when recycling programs got underway, because we still have so much work to do. Just because people have recycled a lot more in the past doesn’t mean that we no longer have to worry about the process anymore. Again, we still dump 100 million tons of garbage every year in our country, so there is a ton of room for improvement.

So, if you have something that is recyclable, recycle it instead of just throwing it out. It may seem insignificant, but it helps make a huge difference.

There are a number of benefits from recycling products. For example, recycling prevents us from using up all of the world’s resources. If we reuse the same material, we can prevent this from happening. Also, using recycled material may take up less energy to make an item as opposed to using brand new materials. For instance, recycling steel would require less energy since it no longer needs to be mined, refined, and forged.

Plus, if we keep using the same material, our country will save a lot of money that would have been spent on wasting new natural resources.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and take a more proactive approach to recycling. Recycling helps us become more sustainable in a big way, and with numerous recycling spots designated around the world, there’s no excuse to ignore it.

So, please recycle and help make the world a better place to live.

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