Recycling pays. That’s not only true in terms of saving the environment but also when it comes to saving some cash.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive estimates that recycling and manufacturing industries contribute one million manufacturing jobs and more than $100 billion in revenue. There are also environmental benefits, including preventing pollution and sustaining the natural resources on which we depend.
Continue reading to see how recycling collections pay.
Recycling, according to the EPA, reduces the need to build landfills and incinerate trash. It decreases the need to manufacture products from virgin materials, which cuts down on pollution. It also conserves natural resources including water, trees and minerals.
The National Recycling Coalition, quoted by the website Recycling Revolution, states that recycling gets cheaper to do as more people recycle. It adds that well-run recycling collection programs can cost less to operate than waste collect, landfills and incineration.
The EPA tells consumers that paper recycling reduces energy and water consumption. It saves landfill space and reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, as less energy is required to make a number of paper products.
When it comes to paper recycling, the EPA estimates that recycling a ton of paper would save enough money to power the average American home for six months. It would save 7,000 gallons of water and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.
It would save 17 trees.
The South Carolina Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling adds that recycled paper makes up more than 37 percent of materials used to make new paper. That would have to come from trees if it weren’t for recycling.
The EPA estimated that Americans generated about 31 million tons of plastic waste in 2010. Only 8 percent was recycled.
Though numbers are lacking, there are markets for some recycled plastic resins that are expanding. That includes PET or polyethylene terephthlate, which often becomes fiber for carpet and textiles, and HDPE or high-density polyethylene, which gets made into bottles.
Toys, park benches, car parts and drainage pipes can all come from recycled plastic. The website Green Student U states that recycled soda bottles can be made into filling for pillows and jackets. Recycled plastic can also become plastic lumber.
According to the website, more than 200,000 jobs are created because of the plastic recycling business. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, giving a boost to the environment.
According to the Glass Packaging Institute, more than 41 percent of glass beer and soft drink bottles were recycled in 2010. Nearly a quarter of wine and liquor bottles and more than 33 percent of all glass containers were recycled.
Each ton of glass recycling conserves more than a ton of natural resources. A ton of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is reduced per every six tons of recycled container glass used.
The EPA warns that today’s electronics contain a wide number of materials, including some such as lead, nickel, cadmium and mercury that can damage the environment and harm humans.
It estimates that recycling a million laptops saves an equal amount of energy as it takes to power 3,657 American homes in a year. A metric ton of circuit boards may contain 40 to 800 times as much gold and 30 to 40 times the amount of copper mined from a metric ton of ore in the United States.
Every million cell phones that are recycled help recover 35,724 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium. Cell phones, if in good working order, can also be re-purposed by giving them to domestic violence shelters and other charitable programs’ clients.
Appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners and humidifiers can, if disposed of improperly, damage the environment. That increases the importance of making sure they are disposed of properly.
If they still work, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) suggests taking them to a local used appliance dealer or secondhand store. Otherwise, search around to see if your community has a drop-off center or an upcoming drop-off event that includes household appliances.
ODNR also recommends that if you are buying a new appliance, see if the vendor will take the old one away and recycle it. You may also want to see if a scrap dealer may pay for it.
The EPA recommends contacting your electric company to see if there is a bounty program in your area. A bounty program pays the owner a “bounty” to allow an ecycler to collect the used appliance. The program may also offer a discount or coupon toward buying a new ENERGY STAR energy saving model of the appliance.
The website AsphaltRecycling states that recycling asphalt reduces mining and oil consumption. It keeps about 75 million tons of material out of landfill and reduces consumption of fuel.
The recycled asphalt, called reclaimed asphalt pavement, is what’s left when asphalt pavement surfaces are milled off before it is repaved, repaired or replaced.
The EPA cautions that batteries contain heavy metals including mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel that all can pollute the environment when batteries are not property disposed. Recycling batteries keeps these materials out of landfills, and the recovered plastic and metals get another life as new batteries.
Many states require consumers to recycle batteries.
Recycling metal products, GreenStudentU states, takes 95 percent less energy than manufacturing meals from new materials. This helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and helps us conserve our natural resources.
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