Did you know that if everyone on the planet consumed as much as the average US citizen, we would need four Earths to sustain them?
As Earth’s dwellers, we constantly need to consume varying amounts of our planet’s resources, be it freshwater, materials to build the products we buy or oil and gases to power our houses.
Nowadays, we consume more natural resources than ever and, as a consequence, the amount of waste we generate is spiraling out of control. A recent report suggested that global annual waste generation is expected to jump to 3.4 billion tonnes over the next 30 years, up from 2.01 billion tonnes in 2016, an increase of 70%.
“Global Waste Will Grow by 70 Percent by 2050 Unless Urgent Action is Taken.
— World Bank Report
Where does buying recycled products fit into this?
Well, the numbers just mentioned are a clear indicator that we need to slow our consumption rates down. However, at the same time, increasing the recycled content of the products we buy could reverse this negative trend. Without further ado, here are the five reasons why you should buy recycled products:
- BUYING RECYCLED PRODUCTS SAVE ENERGYExtracting and processing raw resources (wood, oil, ore) to make usable materials (paper, plastic, metal) requires a lot of energy. Recycling often saves energy because the products being recycled usually require much less processing to turn them into usable materials.The energy savings really depend on the material in question, let’s look at a couple of examples.
- ALUMINUM. Aluminum is produced from aluminum ore (typically a mixture of minerals called bauxite3), which needs to be extensively processed to isolate the aluminum metal. Aluminum extraction is an incredibly extensive process in terms of heat and electricity: aluminum production in the United States uses more electricity than any other manufactured product. When recycled, aluminum can simply be cleaned and re-melted and the process saves 94% of the energy that would be required to produce the aluminum from scratch.
- PLASTIC. Plastic is produced from crude oil or natural gas extracted from oceans or from rock formations in a process where an immense amount of energy, work, and resources are deployed. BUT when plastic is made from other plastics more than 80% of energy in the process is saved. In particular, recycling one ton of plastic can save: 5,774 kWh of energy, 16.3 barrels of oil and 30 cubic yards of landfill space!
- BUYING RECYCLED PRODUCTS SAVES NATURAL RESOURCESDid you know that producing a dollar’s worth of paper takes more than 6 gallons of water? But when you buy a pound of recycled paper, you’ve helped to save approximately 3 gallons of water. Recycling reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining and processing raw materials, all of which create substantial air and water pollution. The pollutants that are released into the air and water can be greatly reduced with an increase in recycling.To sum up, manufacturing products from raw materials require an insane amount of natural resources so, let’s opt for recycled products whenever we can!
- BUYING RECYCLED PRODUCTS KEEPS OUR LANDFILLS FROM OVERFLOWING AND OUR ENVIRONMENT CLEANThe majority of the global waste generated goes to landfills. Which are not exactly the most environmentally-friendly option. While the most state-of-the-art landfills facilities manage to recover material, limit air and water pollution, many of them have unsanitary ways of treating waste, especially toxic ones.In addition, landfilling our waste is a very unsustainable way of treating it. Pretty soon we are going to run out of available space so we need to find better alternatives. Every time we recycle and buy recycled products, we prevent old materials from being tossed up in landfills, effectively freeing up space in those.
4. IT ENCOURAGES COMPANIES TO USE MORE RECYCLED CONTENT
Have you heard of the phrase” voting with your wallet”? Companies are in business to meet the demand of customers: a demand for recycled products encourages manufacturers to participate in the environmentally healthy effort to provide these products.
The bottom line is that buying recycled-content products ensures that markets for those recovered materials are strong. So, let’s never underestimate consumers’ power!
5. BUYING RECYCLED PRODUCTS HELPS WITH JOB CREATION
Did you know that recycling creates 6 times more jobs than sending waste to a landfill? Many businesses and individual jobs rely on recycling. So when you purchase a recycled item, you’re helping to stimulate the economy and keep your neighbours employed.
So, here were the five reasons you should buy more recycled products! Not so bad, right?
Remember: after reducing and reusing, comes recycling! But, without a market for recycled products, all of our recycling efforts could be useless!
So, next time you are shopping, look out for products fully or partially made with recycled content!
Source : https://www.plasticsforchange.org/news