The popularity of recycling has soared, almost at the same pace as the development of disposable goods. While many of the commonly used throw-away products are convenient, they have created a problem that simply didn’t exist, at least to the same extent, when we were kids. Recycling is now essential to the future of our planet. It may seem like a pain to rinse those cans, fold up cardboard, and sort it all for pick-up, but the results are well worth it. When we work together we make a big impact, as these statistics demonstrate.
Recycling a single aluminum can conserves enough energy to power your iPhone for three hours. Turn in the cans from a case of soda to create enough energy to light your home for 24 hours. The energy savings created from recycling rather than throwing away is much more significant than most of us realize.
Even with convenient recycling services in most communities, Americans throw away 25 million plastic bottles every hour. Many of these find their way into our oceans and landfills, and about half that many are recycled. The impact that we can have here is obvious. Plastics can be easily recycled if we simply care enough to do so.
Every ton of paper that is recycled rather than thrown away saves 7,000 gallons of water. If you think that’s impressive, consider that the same recycled ton of paper also saves 17 trees, 2 barrels of oil, and 3 cubic yards of landfill.
Newspapers are one of the most recycled items in the U.S. with 73% finding their way into recycle bins. This is great news because recycled paper takes 60% less energy to produce than new paper.
Amount of energy saved when we use recycled plastic rather than manufacturing new.
The human impact
As you can see, these are some impressive recycling statistics. The real impact of our recycling is more than can be put into numbers. It is knowing that we are doing our best to leave the Earth ready to support the coming generations. It is believing that we are not leaving our grandchildren with an insurmountable problem. We are part of the solution, and will not leave our descendants with tons of trash polluting their environment.
The impact of recycling also includes the fact that our children and grandchildren are learning from our example. When we make sure that our water bottles go in the recycle bin instead of the trash, they learn to do the same. Every little bit saves energy, saves water, and creates less waste and pollution. In our world of disposables, we are teaching them that some things, like our Earth, are for keeps and it is our responsibility to care for it.
Every time you recycle, you are reducing pollution and saving valuable resources. After all that we have done to give our children a bright future, how could we do anything less?
Written by Samantha Wilcoxson