We’ve all heard the sweeping slogans.”Reduce, reuse, recycle,” “close the loop,” “go green.” But what does recycling actually do for you? The simple fact is that for the majority of products, recycling existing materials rather than creating them from scratch is cheaper, more efficient, less harmful to the environment, and conserves a good deal of landfill space.
It’s basic math really, why waste resources to craft an additional container when the raw materials already exist?
- Aluminum cans are a striking example: it takes twenty times the energy to mine, ship, and shape the necessary bauxite ore from places Guinea, Brazil, Australia, China, and India, instead of just recycling existing aluminum.
- Similarly, recycling #1 plastic bottles is four times more energy-efficient than creating new bottles from virgin materials. Less energy usage means fewer green house gas emissions, less waste of natural resources, and less water and air pollution.
Economically, recycling also makes sense.
- In California alone, the recycling industry creates nearly 100,000 jobs covering a wide range of skills and education levels.
- In the case of our recycling center in Petaluma, many of those positions go to workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who in many instances meet resistance in the larger job market.
- Compared to landfill management, the recycling industry is generating about five times the jobs.
- And for you as the customer, recycling can be profitable. It’s not uncommon for us to pay in excess of $100 to a patron with a large load of materials. Every can or bottle you drink from is worth 5 to 10 cents, so why not redeem that money rather than throwing it away?
- Particularly in difficult times, many unemployed or homeless people depend on the money earned from turning in recyclables to get by. Simply saving up cans and bottles could mean being able to afford dinner for the family, or a few gallons in a gas tank with a blinking low fuel light.
Recycling eases the burden on both our environment and our economy.