Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I’ve been thinking about recycling a lot recently as to me it seems counter-productive to helping the environment. I mean think about it, I throw a bunch of random stuff in my recycling bin (cans, bottles, paper etc.) with no concern. Someone comes, takes it away and has to sort through it, break the materials down to a raw state and reengineer into a new product. All of these steps along the way take energy which in most cases causes carbon or methane to be released into the atmosphere, which helps promote global warming. Damn, maybe we’ve been duped on this whole recycling thing. So I had to look into the benefits of recycling, and the good news is there are many benefits.

First recycling reduces the amount of garbage in landfills producing two benefits, less land used for industrial purposes and less methane being released into the atmosphere. The land is good as it allows (potential) for more plants, trees, farming etc. which all help offset greenhouse gases. However more important is that landfills create a huge amount of methane gas as the trash decomposes and breaks down. Therefore the less we put in landfills the less methane that is created.

Additional benefits of recycling include not having to use virgin materials to create products. Even if a new tree is planted for each tree cut down to make paper, cardboard, tissue etc. the amount of carbon removed from the environment is less than that of an older and larger plant. Using virgin materials dramatically reduces the benefits vegetation provides to the environment (learn some more about plants). The manufacturing of materials, either raw or recycled is fairly similar so the energy utilized is equal, therefore a net zero result from how much gas is emitted from using recycled materials.

So what does this mean? It means that recycling really does help the environment, by reusing materials and reducing landfill space and gas emissions. So, what have you done today?

No comments: