Benefits of Recycling in the Modern World

In the past couple of decades, humanity has become much more aware of the need for recycling. We’ve all heard a ton about the advantages of using recycled paper – however, plenty of us are still unaware of specifically why recycling matters so much for preserving our planet.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick crash course on the importance of modern-day recycling!

Recycling and Waste

Basically, the evidence for recycling being highly beneficial to the environment is extremely convincing. And it’s completely logical – when you take an old product or a piece of waste that no one is using anymore and convert it into something new and useful, you save resources.

On the other hand, the fact that you’re reusing trash means less of it is going to landfills – not to mention our oceans. That means less water pollution as well.

Plus, let’s remember one simple fact: mankind is producing more waste today than ever before in its history. The population is increasing at an extremely high rate, which means an increased quantity of produced waste. Also, as more and more countries industrialize and urbanize, they produce and consume more processed goods – which are one of the main sources of waste on the planet.

When there’s more waste, we also need more space for it – most waste (especially plastic) takes many human lifetimes to decompose. In the meantime, we need to keep it somewhere. And that means our space is limited – both by our waste and our rowing population.

Recycling deals with all these problems by finding new ways to reuse old products and materials – resulting in less waste and lower production costs for new goods.

Recycling and Energy

Most opponents of recycling will argue that we can incinerate our waste and get rid of it that way permanently. However, even if we disregard the fact that burning trash releases enormous amounts of toxic fumes into the air – we still have to remember that those incinerators use a lot of energy.

And the power we use in our thermal waste treatment plants comes from fossil fuels – which is even more destructive for the environment due to extreme air pollution.

If we want to reduce global warming in the future – and that’s something we definitely want – we need to save energy. That’s why paper recycling is important as well – newspapers in the United States alone use up millions of trees every day, and if the paper’s not recycled, they just end up in a trash landfill.

Glass, plastic, paper, aluminum – these are all things we can recycle and save tons of energy.

Recycling and Society

The socio-economic status of a large portion of mankind could be improved with more recycling. For one, saving energy through recycling can do a lot to help us stave off energy crises that are becoming more frequent for various reasons. On the one hand, political relations between world countries that produce fossil fuels in large quantities and those that don’t are becoming increasingly frayed – and at the end of the day, those fossil fuels will be used up at some point.

If we recycle more, we defuse both situations by saving energy and reducing our reliance on fuels that wreak havoc on the climate. In the short term, ironically, recycling could also reduce fuel prices – which always skyrocket when any world crisis breaks out.

However, recycling also helps us on a micro level. When we go from the scale of the planet or a country to the level of a single household, we see that recycling is better for our personal finances. It means we’re buying fewer new things – and the things we buy are cheaper if they’ve been recycled.

Also, recycling has become a large industry in and of itself – creating hundreds of thousands of jobs across the world each year. Even the smallest recycling unit requires a couple of workers, leading to massive employment boosts.

Someone has to collect everyone’s recyclable materials, which creates the first link in a long chain of recycling-related economic activity. That means any investment in small-scale collection infrastructure leads to substantial dividends in the form of downstream economic activity.

Of course, as many recycling naysayers are quick to point out – all of this economic activity still requires fossil fuels. However, that’s slowly changing with the advent of solar and wind-based energy.

And even when we consider the carbon emissions that come from the transport, collection, and processing, recycling still pays off due to a lower environmental impact. Our current process for recycling aluminum is around 90% less demanding in terms of power than forging new, raw aluminum.

Even climate change deniers see the economic – specifically cost-saving – benefits of recycling. If the practice becomes even more widespread globally, we’ll be a better, healthier civilization in the future.