Recycling is the process of changing waste products into material that can be used again. There are various reasons why this process is important.
First, it helps with environmental preservation. Apart from that, we recycle to prevent wasting materials, minimize the waste that goes to the landfills, protect wildlife, and save the energy used during manufacturing.
Different materials can be recycled, including paper, cardboard, steel, aluminum, glass, plastic, and fabrics. Also, there are non-recyclable materials such as medical waste, food waste, food tainted materials such as paper plates and paper towels, garbage, wood, mirrors, and windows. Look into your options or find out what is the smallest dumpster I can rent?
For a cleaner planet, each one of us has a role to play in recycling. Here are things you can do in the office or at home:
- When using printing paper, print on both sides and recycle the paper when done.
- Once your technology is outdated, instead of throwing it away, recycle it and help the environment.
- Empty ink and toner cartridges should be recycled instead of being discarded.
- Be intentional about providing different recycle bins for metals, plastic, and paper and labeling them correctly.
- Make it a norm to buy recycled products every time you are doing your shopping. Finding them is easy because they are labeled.
- After you have finished reading a newspaper, you could give it to someone else or recycle it.
- Buy a coffee mug or reuse your paper coffee cup instead of throwing it in the trash.
- Use rechargeable batteries instead of regular ones. Recycle the used batteries after use. It is important to know that 1000 regular batteries are equal to the lifespan of one rechargeable battery.
- Buy rewritable CDs and DVDs so that you can use them often for different projects instead of having to buy non-rewritable ones that you will have to discard.
- Go for the remanufactured ink and toner cartridges when thinking of purchasing them. This is because, for every ink cartridge that is recycled, one ounce of waste is kept out of landfills. For every recycled toner cartridge, 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic waste are kept out of the landfills. Also, half a gallon of oil is preserved.
Below is an in-depth look at how different materials are recycled:
Plastic can be a significant problem in landfills, and it takes a long time to break down – sometimes up to 600 years. Plastic bottles and containers used for shampoo, detergents, and milk can be recycled to make plastic picnic tables, new bottles, containers, recycle bins, and many other things.
On the other hand, recycling plastic bags produces other results, such as new plastic bags, playground equipment, and furniture. Plastic soda bottles have the potential to make t-shirts, sleeping bags, and sweaters.
Glass can be recycled as many times as possible without worrying because it does not lose its quality. As soon as it is taken to the glass treatment plant, it is sorted to remove impurities. The glass is then separated according to colors and washed to remove any remaining impurities. The glass is finally crushed, melted, and molded into new glass materials such as glass jars and bottles.
However, certain types of glass such as windows, mirrors, eyeglasses, glass plates, drinking glasses, fluorescent light bulbs, Pyrex baking dishes, and light bulbs cannot be recycled.
Paper and Cardboard
Papers make the highest percentage of waste in the environment. Recycling paper is the best way to save and take care of trees. Once you dispose of your papers into a recycle bin, they are taken to a recycling center.
While there, they are cleaned and separated from trash or other material. They then undergo a series of steps to become recycled paper finally. These are some of the things recycled paper can become: magazines, toilet rolls, books, newspapers, and many other things. Cardboard can also be turned into new cardboard, paper bags, and packaging products.
Aluminum cans are recycled to produce new aluminum cans. Also, aluminum can be turned into car bodies or a tractor-trailer. Fortunately, by recycling it, the quality does not decrease, and the process saves 95% of the energy used to produce cans from bauxite.
Aluminum is first shredded to do away with any colors that have been used for coating. It is then taken into a huge furnace and melted. After melting, it is taken through the holding furnace, where it stays till it is ready for transformation into ingots. After which, the ingots are now ready for transportation into different rolling mills.
Recycled steel is used in automobiles, and 65% of cars are made from steel. An old automobile can be recycled to make a new automobile. Steel is an excellent material that does not depreciate in quality even after recycling. It has many uses, including food packaging, and it is also used to make furniture.
Most household furniture has steel legs because of its strength. 75% of home appliances, including refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers, are also made of steel.
In the office, desks and cabinets are made of steel. Most buildings are also constructed using steel because of its durability and strength. Other items that can result from recycled steel are pipes, bridges, paper clips, bicycle frames, and train tracks.
Recycling fabrics simply means turning old fabrics into fabrics that can be reused. It may surprise you to know that textile waste makes about 5% of landfills. An average consumer throws away 70 pounds of clothing per year. These clothes which are discarded could be used in other ways. You can donate the clothes to orphanages, churches, or other organizations. Other people would love to have those clothes even if you don’t want to use them anymore.
Any kind of cloth can be recycled no matter how torn and old it is. Before taking out your clothes for recycling, make sure they are clean and dry. A wet cloth may attract mold or bacteria.
Now that you know ways you can recycle, you don’t have an excuse for not recycling. Be it in your office or at home; recycling will give us a better environment not only for us but for future generations to come. Find the different bins and label them to start recycling different materials.