My 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!