Why is recycling important?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The question as to “why is recycling important” is often asked by people, though maybe never spoken out loud or phrased directly in such a way and the behavior of some municipalities also makes people wonder, I am sure.

What I am alluding to here is the practice when the bottom has fallen, temporarily, for instance, out of this or that market for recyclables, they are just dumped in landfill and it is visible mostly when all the different colored glass in dumped in the same compartment of the collection truck.

Machinations by municipalities, such as those, for financial reasons, make some people turn away from the very notion of recycling as they cannot see a reason for doing it when the materials that they so meticulously have separated are just tossed away.

But, recycling is important, and that for more than one reason.

The first reason probably being that is saves often rare and thus valuable resources, as is the case, for instance, with the recycling of aluminum of all kinds as Bauxite, the raw material from whence aluminum is produces, is getting rather rare and the extraction and the production is a messy affair.

The second reason of recycling being important is the fact that recycling, more often than not, uses by far less energy than making from virgin materials, from new.

However, and here it comes; we should consider reducing and reusing well before we ever think of recycling and the recycling containers or the recycling center.

On the other hand we could do with a good fair few of the latter where they buy the materials up, such as tin cans and the likes. That would increase the rate of recycling no end. In the UK, alas, we do not have those centers at all and thus really the public are working on recycling for free creating revenue for their councils.

This very, basically free, revenue stream is also why, in the UK especially, councils are in the very forefront of encouraging, nay bullying, people into recycling and making them think recycling well before the other “Rs” and other possibilities, such as upcycling.

First think, when you do have something that falls into the “waste for recycling” category, what you could make out of it for yourself or others before ever looking into the direction of the recycling bin. Too many people don't though and chuck the stuff straight way into the recycling and then go out and pay good money for, say, a metal pencil pot for the desk where a tin can would have been doing very nicely thank you. And the same is true when the chuck away good glass jars and then go out and buy recycled glass storage jars.

Recycling is important but reuse and repurpose even more so.

© 2010