Recycling is the process of converting used or discarded materials into new products that can be used again. The used materials are referred to as waste. Not all waste generated are recyclable. Recyclable materials include paper, plastic, glass, tires, textiles, metal, electronics and a host of others.
Problems created by waste generation
The world population is generating an increasing amount of waste today due to a number of prevailing circumstances on our planet. With an ever increasing world population, the amount of waste we generate has risen exponentially. Living in a modern, increasingly affluent world, our standard of living is on the rise and with this, the requirement for more products. This leads to an increase in waste generated.
Many of us are persistently under pressure from work and from other daily travails. As a result, there is little time to settle down to a proper meal while we deal with these chores. As a result, many now rely on fast food, which create additional, non-biodegradable waste material.
Modern technology has also revolutionised how we live and work. Many of us now carry multiple gadgets with us. Some of these are practically indispensable, if we are to keep in touch with our friends, family and associates, but all these come at a price to the environment
Many of the products are made from raw materials obtained from virgin sources of renewable and non-renewable fossil fuels and mineral ores. Technological products come in new packaging and they contain materials which are not biodegradable and could be harmful to the environment. In addition, large amounts of energy are required to manufacture these products from raw materials.
As the amount of waste we generate build up in landfill sites, green-house gasses and harmful chemicals are released into the environment. Harmful chemicals destroy our habitat and greenhouse gasses lead to global warming, flooding and other climatic catastrophes. Toxic chemicals in plastics pollute groundwater reservoirs, posing harmful danger to humans and wildlife animals.
Benefits of recycling
Recycling brings about significant benefits to our environment. It substantially reduces pollution of the soil and water by harmful chemicals from waste released to the environment. Recycling cuts down greenhouse emissions and reduces global warming and its unfavourable effects on climate change.
When we recycle waste and produce new materials from them instead of discarding them, we reduce the need for new raw materials and preserve resources for future generations. We also conserve space that would otherwise have been utilised as landfills.
Reduction in the need for additional raw materials preserves our rain forests and wards off deforestation and its unfavourable effects on global warming. What’s more, recycling consumes a lot less energy than making the products from raw materials. It is therefore cheaper and more cost effective to recycle.