Is Recycling Really Worth the Time? (by Briana Robles, 11936)

Introduction

brianapicMy community work for this term dealt with recycling and learning how to also reuse items that are typically thrown out. Over this project I focused on my own family and cut down on the amount of waste that we produce on a day to day basis. We were always throwing out our cans and plastic without recycling. Using paper plates instead of the glass ones in the cabinet. We wasted so much on a day to day it was amazing really to see.

Things I learned through this project though was small scale recycling and reusing like this isn’t some grand solution to a bigger problem. When you look at the bigger picture of pollution and the degradation of our planet you see things like, deforestation, species going extinct, oil spills, strip mining, climate change. There’s so many things happening it makes things like making sure to recycle your trash seem so insignificant. So it got me asking how much of an impact does recycling and reusing really have. On the global scale how significant is it really? It got me to my research questions which is.

Just how much of an impact does recycling and reusing on a personal scale really have?

Get Informed: Read the Research

“Importance of Recycling.” ConserveEnergyFuture. Conserve-Energy-Future, 19 Jan. 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2015.

This article discusses that by recycling on a personal scale we are saving resources and are sending less trash to landfills. This in turn helps with reducing air and water pollution. It states that by simply recycling 1 aluminum can the energy saved can power a TV for 3 hours. By recycling on a personal scale you can make important changes by recycling resources such as plastic, aluminum cans, and glass meaning it reduces the need to make new ones.

“Environmental Benefits of Recycling.” All-Recycling-Facts.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.

Personal recycling also has an impact on the need for raw or virgin materials. This article explains how recycling and reusing products such as metals or lumber brings less demand for mining and forestry practices that are environmentally devastating. With less demand on these practices it helps also to prevent things such as the destruction of important habitats, deforestation, as well as climate change.

“Why It’s Important to Recycle and Compost.” Why It’s Important to Recycle and Compost. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.

This article restates what the other two above have but more clearly with a bit more information. Recycling materials reduces the need to consume precious resources. So it helps protect raw materials and protect natural habitats for the future. It reduces the need to extract new materials with mining or lumber practices. It also reduces air and water pollution since there is less energy being expended to create these new materials. Personal recycling also reduces greenhouse gas emission, which helps with tackling the problem of climate change.

How to Get Involved 

So the impact it’s small and again it isn’t a grand solution or anything. The bigger issues even with us helping to reduce them, there needs to be more drastic measures put into place to actually make a significant change. But it doesn’t mean that recycling and reusing isn’t important. The small contribution is still needed to continue to fight the destruction of our planet. By simply being aware of what you are throwing out, and taking the small time out of your day to sort through what you throw out. It may seem like a waste of time or simply just not worth it but remember that it is. It’s a way that each and every one of us can contribute to helping slowly heal our planet. No one expects you to drastically alter your life to protect the planet, but making this small change really can make an impact if you take the time to participate in it.

So what steps can you take to participate in recycling and reusing? Well here are some good starter tips if you are unsure. First don’t just focus on recycling but reduce your consumption as much as possible before you start to recycle. Reusing products whenever possible is better than recycling. Another tip is to buy products from recycled material and to make sure to recycle them when you don’t need them anymore. These small changes really count! Also not everything is recyclable such as some plastics and metals, you can find a list of materials and how to best recycle them here! These small changes are a good and easy way to get started with recycling and once you feel comfortable doing these are many more steps you can take! Such as helping friends and family switch over, as well as looking for ways to get your whole community to participate!

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4 comments

  1. Jennifer Douglas

    Are you serious? Ok that aluminum can statistic was very cool! Had no idea one small can could make that large an impact. Up here where I live, you can toss all of your recycling into one bin and they sort it out for you on the other end. I think that simple step makes it super easy for people to participate. Sometimes, recycling feels a little daunting having to know which number of plastic you can recycle, what materials you can recycle in which bucket. I believe the easier they make it for people to participate, the more participation they will get.
    Did you notice, in your research, what caused people to not want to recycle? I know some people who simply don’t do it. Unsure as to their reasons, but I wonder if in your research if you found a common denominator. Your paper made me feel like I owe it to my planet to help in whatever small way I can. That all of my efforts, even though they won’t solve the problem, is enough to help even a little.
    Thanks for taking the time to research this. Where did you do your community time?

  2. Ryan S.

    Hi Briana,
    I really enjoyed reading your work, the title was intriguing but also the subject. Your totally right in pointing out that reducing use is more important then recycling. I like to remind myself of that old catchy saying; Reduce, Reuse (then) Recycle. Our American culture is so stuck on disposable that it’s alarming, thanks for sharing your writing with us, it’s really an important message.
    -Ryan

  3. Casey M.

    I think you have picked a great topic that if so many more people worked on would have a big impact on our environment. I think the most important thing is educating our friends and family who then can teach all of their friends and family. Doing that will make the idea and knowledge spread fast.

    Recycling really is important. I have a whole little area set up for recycling in my house. I have one can for plastic and aluminum cans, a bin for glass and a bin for cardboard and paper. My kids even have down what can be recycled and what can’t. They even get on me if I accidently throw something away instead of recycling it.

  4. Stephanie Reyes

    I liked how you decided to stick to a topic we all can take part in! Your title was very catchy which automatically msde me want to read your blog as it is a question a lot of people make. We have all heard that we should recycle because it’s good for our environment and we seem to understand amd be convinced that we indeed should recycle yet few actually do so and if like me it is because we aren’t sure if it’s worth it. So catchy title!

    Even better, I enjoyed how you kept the how to get involved part very simple. If people aren’t interested in your blog but decide to continue on reading, it is likely that theu are not going to be interested in getting involved either especially if you keep it complicated in how to get involved so the fact that you kept it simple was a good way to keep people interested in actually participating!

    Good blog Briana!

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