Recycling is the act of processing used materials to make new products for various reasons. Recycling guards against losing materials that are potentially useful, and also reduces the need for using fresh raw materials in manufacturing products. It reduces air pollution since it prevents incineration and in turn the harmful gases associated with it. Recycling also prevents water pollution from making landfills. In the waste hierarchy, recycling is the third component, preceded by ‘Reduce’ and ‘Reuse’.
There are several types of recyclable materials, such as paper, glass, metal, plastic, textiles and electronics. These materials are used on a daily basis in households and offices, and they require responsible management lest they become problematic to handle.
Recycling occurs in two steps, the first being collecting the waste items, the second being sorting. Collection of waste items is usually organized in different systems which are drop off centers, curbside collection and buy back centers.
Drop off centers refer to designated areas in a neighborhood or region where individuals can take their recyclable items for sorting. These are then transported to a larger waste recycling plant for processing. Curbside collection refers to individuals subscribing for garbage collection services where their waste items are picked from their neighborhood once or twice a week. Buy back centers clean up all reusable items such as containers and bottles and put them up for sale at a lower price to create a motivation for people to reuse the items.
Sorting of the collected waste materials involves separating the wastes according to the materials they are made out of. Cardboard pieces, glass items, metal cans and newspapers go into separate collection piles waiting for further processing. Some materials will be cleaned, others melted while even others simply compressed together to make other products.
There are several advantages of recycling over disposing the wastes through composting and burning. First, it saves costs when an item is reused instead of purchasing a new item. Reused items if purchased from buy back centers are cheaper than buying the original item.Recycling also creates employment opportunities for recycling and processing companies, which is an advantage to the general economy.By recycling, the environment is made cleaner and more conducive for living, and continuous recycling can maintain it so.
Some practical steps that individuals can take to enhance recycling processes include choosing wisely when it comes to purchasing items because the more items one has in their possession, the more the waste they will produce. Also, individuals should learn to avoid buying items that they can rent or borrow such as books and electronic items that are still in working condition. Switching to email rather than using paper communication also saves on waste papers, as well as choosing to read newspapers and magazines online.
All these steps are simple, straightforward means of creating healthier surroundings and decreasing the consumption of limited resources on planet Earth. More information about recycling can be found online. The Environmental Protection Agency website contains an interactive means of understanding the need for recycling and how it works.