Why Recycle?

Why Not?! It keeps waste out of the landfill, saves resources and energy, prevents pollution, saves money, and best of all, it’s easy! However, many recyclables are taken to the landfill when they could have been recycled and served a whole new purpose, see What Recyclables Can Become.

 

Keeps waste out of the landfill!

Everything you throw in the trash will end up buried in the landfill – a hole in the earth that is filled with trash, a burial ground for any and everything dumped in it. It’s the end of the road for many things that could have been reused or recycled into something else, instead they are left to slowly decompose, or rot, into the earth’s soil. Landfills have composite liners; however, they eventually leak and their toxic leachate, or garbage juice, can seep into and contaminate soil and groundwater supplies.

How long does it take to decompose?
Aluminum can
80-200 years
Boot sole
50-80 years
Cigarette filter
1-5 years
Disposable diapers
450 years
Foam cup
50 years
Glass bottle
1 million years
Leather
50 years
Newspaper
6 weeks
Nylon fabric
30-40 years
Paper towel
2-4 weeks
Plastic bag
10-20 years
Plastic bottles
450 years
Plywood
1-3 years
Styrofoam
Never
Tires
50-80 years
Tin can
50 years
Waxed milk carton
3 months
Wool sock
1-5 years
 
 

Most of these items can be recycled into something completely different, see What Recyclables Can Become. It’s best to avoid purchasing items that cannot be recycled, such as Styrofoam cups – use washable cups or look for alternative items that can be recycled. For more helpful tips visit Reduce.Reuse.Recycle.

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Conserves Resources and Saves Energy!

Paper and cardboard come from trees, plastics from oil, metals from rocks (ores) and glass from sand. Recycling means that we don’t have to chop down, extract or mine to collect more raw materials for making the things we use every day.

One ton of recycled…
  • Aluminum saves 4 tons of bauxite ore, 40 barrels of oil, 10 cubic yards of landfill space and uses 95% less energy.
  • Paper saves 17 trees, 7000 gallons of water, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space and uses 50-60% less energy.
  • Plastic saves 16.3 barrels of oil, 30 cubic yards of landfill space and uses 90% less energy.
  • Glass saves over a ton of raw materials, 5 gallons of oil, 2 cubic yards of landfill space and uses 30% less energy.

Recycling not only conserves our natural resources, it also uses significantly less energy which results in less burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.

Recycling just one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours!

Two gallons of recycled motor oil can power an average home for one day, cook 48 meals in a microwave oven, blow dry a person’s hair at least 216 times or power a television for more than seven days straight!

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Prevents Pollution!

Manufacturing recycled material generates less air and water pollution than using raw materials. Recycling reduces emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons, that contribute to global climate change.

Recycled glass creates 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than glass made from raw materials!

Recycled cardboard creates 35% less water pollution and 74% less air pollution!

Saves Money!

It not only costs money to take waste to the landfill, but when it’s waste that could have been recycled (80% of landfill waste) we throw away products that still have a purpose, therefore still have value. Furthermore, additional money, resources and energy are required to extract, manufacture and transport more raw materials. All the environmental benefits of recycling, such as reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, have economic value as well.

It’s Easy!

Put all your recyclables in your green recycling cart and place at the curb for your scheduled pick-up. You can recycle non-freon appliances, automotive products, propane tanks and more at the City’s Recycling Center. Recycle confidential documents, hard drives, cd’s and more during a Shred for a Paws Cause. Dispose of paint, fertilizers and other common household chemicals during a monthly HHW Collection Event; what can’t be recycled is safely disposed of.

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Sources

Green Living Tips