What is Recycling and How Does it Work?
Recycling is a word that we hear a lot. We have all been told about its importance and it seems to be a viable way of dealing with the ever-growing problem of pollution and as a consequence of that, global warming.
What is recycling?
This is an important question. What exactly is recycling? Recycling is a process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. This is a great way of managing the increasing demand for different products which can be utilized by using waste and scrap materials.
Recycling has an important effect on the economy and global warming. Recycling has a number of benefits; however, the most commonly known benefits of recycling can be seen in energy conservation, cost reduction, and of course environmental benefits. We will discuss the process of recycling, how it works, and recycling benefits.
How does recycling work?
In simplest of words, recycling means taking something that is not of use anymore and converting it into something useful. You can make something new out of the product that is not being used instead of throwing it away. Recycling can be something as easy as using a container like Nutella for the usage of some other ingredient. You can even recycle old paper into newer paper or if you are artsy enough, convert an old hubcap into a birdbath.
It is not only about the simple things, though. Recycling is a complex task, as well. It has a huge impact on humans, our environment, politics, and even the economy of a country. Yeah, it really is that big! At a national or state level, recycling takes the form of used consumer goods, which are taken and then converted back into raw materials that are converted into newer consumer goods. The most basic example of this are aluminum cans, paper, plastic containers, and even steel from old buildings and are recycled in a big number.
Two types of recycling:
Recycled products are hardly recycled to become the same product they were previously. If a recycled product ends up is cheaper or weaker than the original form it is known as down-cycling. For example, recycled office paper is not good enough for paper printing.
On the other hand, if a recycled product becomes better or more valuable than its original form, it is known as up-cycling. An example of this can be companies that make high-end furniture from old newspapers, scrap, and aluminum cans.
What can be recycled?
The recycling process is significant. It is also crucial to understand what kind of goods can be recycled. Not everything can be recycled, so we should be aware of the products which can be and we should do our best to purchase recyclable items.
Paper is the most recycled commodity. Paper is collected from various workplaces and it is sorted by its weight, its usage, color, and whether it has been recycled before or not. It is delved into a substance made of chemicals that removes the staples, glues, etc from the soupy pulp it becomes. The pulp is bleached and then it is rolled out into sheets. These sheets of paper are large in size, which is why they are further cut into proper sizes and are sold back to the consumers.
Glass is never down-cycled. This is why glass recycling is a way of saving energy and cost which goes into making virgin glass. Glass is either recycled by collecting bottles from customers, disinfecting and washing them, and putting them back into use. The other way is by sorting the used glass objects by color and it is broken down into smaller bits, which are known as culets. These are sifted and filtered using lasers and then they are melted to be formed into newer glasses.
Steel recycling is very common in the US. Scrap is taken from old cars and old buildings. This is easier to recycle as there are big machines which shred the junk material into re-refined sheets and coils. According to US law, it is important for companies to use a specific amount of recycled steel. All of the steel used in the US contains around 25% recycled steel.
Why recycling is important?
Recycling’s importance cannot be undermined. That is why it is not only important to educate ourselves and the people around us on the importance of recycling but also pivotal to adopt the good practice of recycling objects in our everyday use. It is an ideal way to have a positive impact on the world around us. While we may make fun of our friends for becoming vegetarians and bringing down the carbon footprint of their activities, it is vital to do what we can to save the environment.
The advantages of recycling are numerous, some of them are:
1) Environmental benefits:
Recycling contributes to the reduction of pollution done by waste materials. It also helps in the reduction of the need for raw materials. This leads to lesser destruction of habitats of animals and helps reduce the cutting down of trees which can lead to deforestation. This is a huge benefit as it helps in our fight against climate change.
2) Energy preservation:
A lot of energy is preserved when recycling is done. Each new consumer product that is made out of scratch takes up a lot of energy resources of a country. This leads to the exhaustion of natural resources. That can be avoided through recycling as no new raw materials would be used.
3) Benefits to the people:
Waste materials and trash take up a lot of space. Landfill sites all around the world are filling up fast. Recycling helps in dealing with this problem. The process of recycling also creates a lot of jobs, which helps with the unemployment problem in many countries. According to a 2016 report by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), recycling contributed to the creation of 757,000 jobs in the US.
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