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Last updated date: 21st Apr 2024
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What is Recycling?

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are the three Rs, and recycling is the third and most important. Recycling completes the purpose of keeping waste out of landfills by recycling them back into raw materials that can be used to produce new products or goods. The aggregation of waste materials, their manufacturing into new items, and the procurement of those products, which can then be recycled, are the essential processes of recycling. 

Recycling Can be Simplified into Three Steps as Follows:

  1. Collecting and Processing – This can be achieved in a number of ways. Some neighbourhoods have curbside recycling services where the recyclables are gathered on the driveway. Others have neighbourhood drop-off recycling bins where you can drop off your recyclables. The recyclable materials will be gathered, processed, washed, baled, and shipped to a factory where they will be processed into marketable raw material.

  2. This method involves turning recycled raw materials into a new product.

  3. Products are made, returned to the market, and purchased by consumers

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Why Recycle?

Other than the happiness you get by doing the right thing and making a good difference on the planet we all work in, there are several benefits of recycling waste disposal: 

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  • There are ten jobs in recycling processing and another 25 jobs in recycling-based manufacturing for every 1 job at the landfill.

  • As compared to new raw materials, recycled materials need fewer resources in the production process. Recycling aluminium, for example, removes 95% of the resources needed to manufacture aluminium cans from virgin mined bauxite. 

  • Landfills are not required, and existing airspace is retained. Recycled products are kept out of landfills, which lowers greenhouse gas emissions and provides raw materials for recycled goods.

  • You're helping the world when you gather recyclables and put them in your curbside bin or neighbourhood drop-off recycling bin. Most people are inspired by this to recycle more products, find ways to minimize pollution and inform their peers about how good they are for the world.

Benefits of Recycling

  • Conserving natural resources

  • Protecting ecosystems and wildlife

  • Reducing demand for raw material

  • Saving energy:

  • Cutting climate-changing carbon emissions

  • Cheaper than waste collection and waste disposal

  • Creating jobs

Plastic Recycling

The method of recovering and reprocessing plastic scrap or waste into usable and functional goods is known as plastic recycling. The primary goal of plastic recycling is to reduce plastic waste as well as the pressure to create new plastic items. 

Plastic is a low-cost, durable, and lightweight material. It can be conveniently shaped into a variety of other useful plastic products. Every year, more than 100 million tonnes of plastic are produced around the world. As a result, plastic reuse, regeneration, and recycling are highly significant. These methods save energy and reduce the volume of plastic that ends up in landfills and the ocean.

Electronic Recycling

Electronic waste also referred to as e-waste, is the garbage generated by surplus, defective, or outdated electronic devices. Electronics contain a variety of poisonous and dangerous substances and products that, if e-waste disposal is not proper, are released into the atmosphere. 

Common Recyclable Items

Here are a couple of the most common recyclable things that people find on a regular basis:

  • Metal: Metals that we use on a regular basis are often recyclable. Metal is a very versatile material, and recycling it uses more than 70% less energy than manufacturing a brand new piece.

  • Paper and Cardboard: Paper is a material with no limitations in terms of recycling, and Americans are doing a good job with it.

  • Glass: When it comes to recycling, glass bottles and containers aren't as versatile as paper or metal items. Many items can only be repurposed as another of the same object due to the different colours of glass. 

  • Plastics (PET): Around 95% of this category is made up of clear plastic water and beverage bottles or plastic. The remaining 5% were made up of transparent plastic cups and packaging, such as those used on retail goods. Plastics recycling is a popular recycling process, but it is not as efficient as the recycling of other popular materials.

  • Electronic or “E-waste Recycling”: Electronic products include chemicals and metals that, if thrown out in a landfill, can be dangerous.

Solved Questions

1. How Does Recycling Save Energy?

We use resources to remove and refine virgin materials as we make fresh goods out of them. This involves the use of fossil fuels as a source of energy. However, using recycled materials to produce products eliminates the need for new materials and reduces the resources needed to obtain and refine them.

2. Is it Correct that Recycling is Beneficial for the Environment?

  • A tonne of office paper recycling will conserve the energy equivalent of 322 gallons of fuel.

  • One tonne of aluminium cans recycled saves more than 152 million Btu or the equivalent of 1,024 gallons of fuel or 21 barrels of crude.

  • Recycling just 10 plastic bottles saves enough energy to power a laptop for more than 25 hours.

Fun Facts

  • Recycling plastic takes 88% less energy than making it from raw materials.

  • Recycling one ton of plastic saves the equivalent of 1,000–2,000 gallons of gasoline.

  • A modern glass bottle would take 4,000 years or more to decompose -- and even longer if it's in a landfill.

  • Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 mature trees. 

FAQs on Recycling

Q1. What is Composting?

Ans. Compost is organic material that can be applied to soil to assist in the growth of plants. It enriches the soil, aiding in the preservation of moisture as well as the prevention of plant diseases and pests. Compost also aims to minimize the use of artificial fertilizers by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to produce humus, a nutrient-rich material.

Q2. Why Can't I Recycle Everything?

Ans. There isn't a market for everything. Note that, like all other sectors, recycling is a business of supply and demand-driven economics. The consumer's demand for the finished product also drives the manufacturer's demand for a material type. We "close the loop" by consuming items manufactured from recycled materials. When the loop is closed, new opportunities arise, and recycling those materials becomes more cost-effective.