Recycling. Have you ever thought about it?
How it works?
What gets recycled?
Does the term really keep true to its meaning in terms of its implementation?
Here are some facts about recycling that may give you a new perspective:
🌳The EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but only about 30% of it is recycled.
🌳96% of food that could be composted ends up in incinerators and landfills.
🌳Up to 80% of a car is actually recyclable, which would save a lot of waste and energy.
🌳Overzealous recyclers, in their desire to avoid waste, or not knowing what to separate are too often tossing everything from banana peels to wooden picture frames to broken cellphones into recycling bins, making the recycling process harder.
🌳Over half of the UK’s recyclable waste is sent overseas for recycling, but much of it is likely to end up in landfill or the ocean instead.
US cities and trash companies started offshoring their most contaminated, least valuable recyclables” to China.
Some facts about why recycling is great and what its impact can be:
🌈Each ton of recycled paper can save, 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy and 7000 gallons of water.
🌈Recycling one aluminum can, saves enough energy to power a TV for 3 hours and saves 95% of the energy that would be required to make an aluminum can from scratch.
🌈By recycling steel, we safe enough energy every year to supply a decade’s worth of electricity to of Los Angeles.
🌈Recycling one ton of plastic can save up to 2,000 gallons of gasoline.
🌈You can recycle all sorts of materials into useful and new things: e.g. a woman named Monisha from Mumbai has founded an initiative that has recycled over 3.2 million tetra pak cartons into school desks and benches. Until now over 250 desks were donated to schools as well as 100 park benches.
Why is not everything being recycled?
🗑The recycling industry is lucrative, injecting as much as $236 billion in the US economy, but it has faced a few challenges in recent years. The main issue has been the drop in the global crude oil prices which in turn have made plastic using crude oil cheaper than with recycled plastic.
🗑Mixed materials are problematic, for instance: a plastic bag with a foil lining or a disposable coffee cup made of paper with a plastic lining. These are especially difficult and expensive to separate. They are considered in many cases contaminated and worthless.
🗑One third of supermarket plastic cannot easily be recycled at present.
And on and on it goes. More often than not, money being the issue.
What you can do:
✅Refuse single use plastic.
✅Buy anything you can second-hand.
✅The internet is filled with brands that recycle and upcycle, electronics, clothes, jewelry, plastic waste, furniture.
✅If you go shopping look around your stores. Often recycled toilet paper and tissues are right next to the regular ones.
Often you miss better brands that are on the same shelve even, because you tend to grab “your usual brand” without thinking about it.
✅Follow sustainable skincare, clothing, cleaning/household brands in your country on Instagram or other socials. Then more of that kind will be recommended to you and you will find many great brands quite easily.
✅Look up the websites of the store chains you shop at and put key words into the search bar to find sustainable options at these stores that you might have missed or simply ask store assistants for help.
✅Start a composting bin in your backyard if you can, or start one with the community you live in an apartment building with, if you have access to a
communal garden area.
✅Trade books, CDs, clothes, decor etc. with friends and family.
♻🗑🌳Often people say, that finding these better options and composting or recycling is either “too difficult, takes too much time, is inaccessible...”
Some of this may be true, but if the government, doesn’t make clear laws and regulations for the big polluters in this world,
or doesn’t fund and support environmental organizations or research enough,
then WE have to do the work ourselves.
That is the way it is for now and we can only continue to do what we can and keep putting pressure on our governments and the companies that are not doing what they should and keep making empty promises.
So keep up the good work folks. Let’s all keep learning and getting better together!
Whatever you are currently doing, give yourself a pat on the back!
Now, look around your kitchen, your bathroom or office and see what else you can tackle!