The Environmental Benefits of Recycling and its Importance

Category: Ecology


Nowadays, almost everyone is familiar with three ‘R’s, which stand for Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The world we live in is concerned with global warming, climate changes, and misbalanced ecosystems. That is why people should become more ecologically conscious and start recycling, which can actually help the environment and economics. Moreover, this is a process which can benefit everyone.

In the period from the 1980s to the beginning of the 1990s, people perceived recycling as something obvious because of the approaching landfill crisis. That was the time when all recycling programs expanded across the world with an astounding speed. A lot of concerned industry groups of that time started to sponsor waste management and recycling (Ackerman 2). Generally speaking, recycling is the process of turning the waste into the new products to hinder the waste of possibly useful materials. Such a process decreases the usage of raw virgin materials and helps lower the level of air and water pollution. The need for traditional waste disposal is reduced, and the level of carbon dioxide emissions is getting much lower.


Nowadays, the USA recycles more than 24% of all waste, and this is the highest figure all around the world. On the other hand, this is also the country that produces the highest number of waste (Russell n.pag.). Today, approximately 46% of Americans have access to various municipal recycling programs. In addition, a lot of people have the local access to drop-off remediates; that is why the garbage is sometimes transported thousands of miles away for management control (Fullerton 100). Nowadays, people understand that massive recycling will immensely reduce the consumption of 80% of raw materials and lower the need for the natural resources by five. To understand this figure better, it should be mentioned that a lifespan of the resource that usually makes 100 years will become 500 years (Grosse n.pag.).

Recycling has many benefits for the economics, as its increase might lower the price of recycled materials. This will definitely make these materials more attractive to the manufacturers without a direct tax on the raw materials (Fullerton 109). The recycling industry has a great influence on job creation, because for every 10,000 tons of garbage that should be recycled, 36 new jobs are created (Russell n.pag.). For example, the 10-state Northeast region is known to have 100,000 jobs, which are involved in the process of recycling. New York City alone has approximately 3,000 establishments in the industries that are related to solid-waste management, reuse, repair, and recycling. It provides almost 34,000 jobs, and the income is over 1 billion of dollars. According to the statistics, 100,000 tons of waste disposals created only 23 jobs in Baltimore, Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland. However, 100,000 tons of recycling created 79 jobs that are involved in collection and processing. Additional 162 jobs deal with the recovered materials that are turned into the new products (Ackerman 80).

It is widely hailed that recycling is playing a crucial role in saving the environment and preventing the global changes as it decreases the greenhouse gas emissions. This is because the production of paper, glass, plastics and metal from already recycled materials takes much less energy than manufacturing from the raw materials. For example, recycling of the aluminum cans might save at least 95% of the energy needed for the manufacturing of the new aluminum cans from the raw materials (Russell n.pag.). Moreover, all aluminum companies might definitely benefit from recycling, because it makes it possible to save about 19 million barrels of oil. Recycling of steel and plastics would need 60% less energy, than if these were manufactured from virgin materials.

Stanford University made the research that showed that if people recycle 1 ton of plastics, it will save at least 7,200 kilowatts of electricity and 16,3 barrels of oil (Lad n.pag.). It is obvious that such energy conservation will result in less burning and usage of fossil fuels. This fact shows that if, for example, 6 tons of glass and 1 ton of aluminum are recycled then at least 1 ton and 13 tons of carbon dioxide will not be dumped into the air. Generally speaking, people should know that glass is 100% recyclable; moreover, it might be recycled very easily without any loss in its quality. Paper is one more material that is a very harmful waste. When it goes on the landfills and the process of decomposing begins, it releases methane gas, which is 21 times more hazardous than the carbon dioxide. Therefore, it is obvious that the more paper is recycled, the more trees are left, what means that the more trees will absorb the carbon dioxide and make the quality of air much better. If, for example, a ton of newspaper is recycled, at least 12 trees will be saved, and recycling of a ton of office paper can save 24 trees. Thus, it is evident that recycling can decrease energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and that will definitely play crucial role in decreasing the growing human usage of non-renewable natural resources. However, people should understand that if the consumption of some material rises by 2% a year and the level of the recycling is constant, than the usage of the raw materials will also rise by 2% a year. However, by recycling 50% of the materials, people will not just delay an inevitable outcome by 40 years, but will be able to actually double the time for those outcome.


Recycling has become a vital part of the human life. People are highly motivated to increase the level of recycling all over the world. First of all, it has a positive result on the environment and climate. Secondly, it decreases the level of pollution. Thirdly, it provides the country’s independence from the imported materials. Finally, it helps create new businesses on the secondary material production, which results in creation of the new jobs and provides massive incomes. However, every individual should realize his/her role in this process and practice the concept of recycling, as it is evident that it can benefit everybody around the globe. Only if people realize the whole importance of recycling, they can hope and actually create better future for our planet.

Order now