According the the EPA, these are some benefits of recycling:
- Reduction in waste sent to landfills
- Conservation of natural resources, such as metals and minerals
- Helps prevent pollution by reducing the need to collect new, raw materials
- Saves energy
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
- Helps sustain the environment for future generations
- Helps create new, well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States
- Once the materials are recycled they can be reused in making new products
Additionally, keeping heavy metals out of the landfill prevents these metals from reacting to rain water that seeps into the landfill forming a toxic soup, called leachate, that can get into the ground water contaminate the supply.
Expanding our thinking for a moment, let’s explore the global benefits of recycling, since we only have one planet and need to share and conserve its resources. According to the Global Footprint Network, if everyone in the world consumed as much as the average American, we would need four Earths to sustain them.
There is a growing middle class around the world and they will want the modern amenities that people developed countries enjoy, including electronics powered by batteries. Well, there is a finite amount of natural resources and a finite amount of space to build landfills to support the 7 billion people that occupy earth. According to By 2030 that number increases to 9 billion with 3 billion new middle-class consumers. It is estimated that 3 billion batteries are thrown away each year by Americans, a population of 323 million people. Running the math on 3 billion new battery users, using at a rate of Americans that 3 billion batteries thrown away annually turns into nearly 28 billion batteries thrown away annually.
Recycling benefits everyone. It enables the reuse of materials that would otherwise be used and discarded. Recycling promotes the “take, make and reuse” circular model that will help to sustain our planet for generations to come. Turning away from the linear economic model of “take, make, toss,” which is not going to carry all of us into a thriving or sustainable future.
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