It just makes sense to recycle. Or does it? While the planet is in a precarious position of being overused and overwhelmed, more people are waking up to the need to preserve our natural resources. Clearly, we must reduce our use and acceptance of single-use products as a whole, and certainly, we can decrease our dependence on plastic. But did you know that recycling makes dollars and sense?
In comparison to making a product out of new vs. recycled materials, recycled materials win with less energy required overall and less downstream pollution. When you aren’t sure if an item is recyclable, keep in mind that recycling contamination is the number one challenge and reason that the recycling industry isn’t operating at peak levels. If we could reduce our recycling contamination, the demand for bulk recycled materials would increase. Also, as more socially responsible companies make the choice to use recycled materials, and the consumer demand for recyclables grows, this is a very good thing for the recycling industry.
So how good IS the recycling industry doing? Very well, actually… Take a look at some of the recent numbers from Recycle Across America. We hope they will encourage you about the future of recycling!
- Recycling is a $200 billion industry in the U.S.
- Recycling generates 7-10 more jobs than landfills and waste to energy plants.
- Recycling properly creates valuable resources for U.S. manufacturing and can become a highly valuable export to countries such as China and India.
- Five plastic bottles (PET) recycled provides enough fiber to create one square foot of carpet or enough fiber fill to fill one ski jacket.
- Recycling a stack of newspaper just 3 feet high saves one tree.
Glass can be recycled and re-manufactured an infinite amount of times and never wear out.