#Recycling Good for the Environment Good for You

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#Recycling…

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

I have been a supporter of recycling for as long as I can remember. Why throw away into the trash what can be recycled and used again?

If you have ever seen a landfill, you would feel the same way I do. How much waste can we continue to pump into our environment without paying a high price from the effects of doing so?

How many of us are still sticking our heads in the sand preferring ignorance and doing nothing over being educated and doing something? How difficult is it to put that aluminum can in the recycle bin rather than the trash bin? I realize that I am over simplifying here. There are still areas where recycling is difficult. But those areas that make it simple, like curb side collection, why not take advantage of that service?

When I began researching facts for this post I found similar information on almost every site I visited. What I did not find were current statistics. I suspect that recycling rates are higher now than in previous years. I could not find anything updated since 2011. We can extrapolate recycling rates from past numbers. I am not going to bury you in statistics, but I will provide a couple of interesting tidbits.

Facts you may not be aware of:

  • Glass never wears out and can be recycled forever.
  • Glass left in a landfill will take approximately 1 million years to break down.
  • An aluminum can that is recycled can be a new can in as little as 60 days. Can also be recycled forever.
  • An aluminum can in a landfill will still be a can 500 years later.

If you thought recycling does not matter, perhaps after reading those facts you will think again.

I will admit that there are conflicting reports on just how long items remain in landfills before breaking down. Whether it’s 4,000 years or a million years a glass bottle does not belong in a landfill. Yes. That’s my opinion.

As a technology enthusiast I never discard anything electronic into the trash. For example: If it’s a phone, it is donated to a worthy cause. I go out of my way to ensure that none of my electronic waste ends up in a landfill.

I don’t know about you but I feel good when I am recycling. I know that I am not contributing to a problem, but rather helping to mitigate a problem. For us it is as simple as having a trash bin and a recycle bin. Each week we put them out to the curb and they are collected. Our service separates our recyclables so we don’t have to. We have lived in an area where we had to separate and then deliver our recyclables to the appropriate bins ourselves. We still made the effort because the alternative is just unacceptable.

For more information visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency website.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you make an effort to recycle when it is possible to do so?

Until next time…

Geek Girl

Geek Grandma

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Comments (14)

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  1. lenie5860 says:

    Cheryl, I'm a recycling enthusiast just like you are. It takes so little to separate items into a trash or recyclable bin – we have one more bin for compostable products. Great post and one that is so needed.

  2. patweber says:

    It's a habit now to recycle. My son lives in Seattle and in addition to recycling they are required to compost. But recycling is something I don't give a second though to. It's a natural as any daily habit now. Even to the degree if we are at a party, I'll ask the host with empty plastic water bottle in hand, "Do you recycle?" I'm always a bit taken back when they comment something like, we usually do but not tonight. Huh? Oh well. You're either into it or not.

  3. jacquiegum says:

    I do recycle, but to be honest I'm never entirely sure!! I think that lots of recycling STILL goes into land fills. But I can't control that…so I do what I can:) I did a lot of research when I got rid of the tower for my desktop computer and found that Office Depot will take them (sans hard drives) for recycling of parts. Other sites on line wanted multiple towers, not just one. I still have 3 hard drives that I don't know what to with!!! But I donate phones too! I still think we have big problems though…people don't get it.!!!!!!

  4. Tim says:

    It surprises me that the statistics have not been updated since 2011 as I would think people would want to know this information and govts would want to use it as an incentive. For me and my house, we do what we can. Even when travelling now you can refill water bottles rather than buying new ones all the time. It is a global movement and this is something we should be proud of and improve upon.

  5. Ken Dowell says:

    It doesn't seem possible but there are in fact people who don't recycle even when it requires no effort beyond using separate receptacles. I think it is a form of selfishness.

  6. I've been a recycler for decades now myself. I think the habit started when I went to second hand stores as a teenager, and thought how wasteful it was to buy new clothes. Cold facts you quote are persuasive, and I think we're now lucky to live in an age when most communities make it very easy to recycle.

  7. Susan Cooper says:

    Yep, I'm on board with recycling too. In California they give us separate trash containers for our recyclables so it is so easy, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't do it. 🙂

  8. jankedonna says:

    We make an effort to recycle. I sometimes wonder what happens with everything we recycle – whether the companies that pick it up truly recycle everything or not. Electronic waste can be trickier to dispose of. We had a number of things to get rid of this summer when we downsized and took it to a central electronic waste disposal depot in our city. I've only recently learned of places where one can donate old phones – wish I'd known about them before I took mine to the depot.

  9. JeriWB says:

    I've recycled for years now, but it did get much easier when curbside pickup was started. Now that they have the big bins that don't have to have the materials sorted, I really don't understand why someone would not want to recycle. When they started curbside pick-up I thought they took glass, but they don't. I had a whole bin of glass bottles and jars saved up for nothing. Turns out (at least according to the local news) the glass that gets taken to the dump simply gets put into giant mountains. If I remember correctly, it's more expensive to recycle glass.

  10. andleeb says:

    This is very nice post and thought provoking as well.
    Many people around the world do not bother much about the waste they are dumping on earth. Many things can be recycled to help many. Recycling is best thing that we can do to put our contribution to save our earth and its resources.

  11. Recycling is very important. I also do not take many of my cans, etc., to get recycled I do it myself. Knowing some DIY skills, you can take and make many new and interesting things with recycled cans, not to mention it does save money. Just as long as recycled items are not thrown out, is all we care about.

  12. This is wonderful! I used to work for a recycling non-profit, on the south side of Chicago. We managed to use recycling as a tool to help economically empower the people living in the projects. That organization went down with the projects, but I'm still a passionate recycler! I'll be referencing this post for a long time! Thanks!

  13. Agree with you completely that it's important to recycle. Is by now a habit of mine. Not that you have any choice in the European Union since it's illegal not to. Love it when they make products out of recycled material.

  14. … and I have one more you may not have considered, Cheryl. It all began back in 1998 with my first 'tear off each day' cartoon calendar from Gary Larson's wacky 'Far Side' collection. They were just too good to be lost at the end of the year, so I tucked them back into their box and put them away. This happened off and on for a few years until disaster struck – the last ever Far Side collection. My life was all but shattered. How should I start each day without my misspelled namesake to put a smile on my face? Well, I'm meant to be a creative soul, so "DA-DA" – the recycled daily calendar emerged. With the help of a Perpetual calendar, I have been able to pop tiny stickers on the front of the boxes with the years they will each become 'brand new' again. The most distant date is 2040… now that could be a test! But who knows? So there you go – a brand new born-again idea. Enjoy!