Turning off unused lights or remembering to unplug unused electronic devices are simple and easy ways to save energy but another important and equally simple way to reduce energy waste is by recycling. According to earth911.com, “Recycling is the process of taking a product at the end of its useful life and using all or part of it to make another product.” The recycled product requires less energy to produce it but also saves money and valuable resources.
Two important functions of recycling are: 1.Keeping, “valuable material such as aluminum and paper out of landfills, so this material can be reused in other forms and not wasted” and 2.Preventing, “hazardous materials and chemicals such as lead and mercury from ending up in landfills, which can contaminate soil and leach into our drinking water” (earth911.com).
Recycling has become a simplified task thanks to Single Stream Recycling which allows an individual to combine household products in one container for roadside pick-up. Recycling can also save you money by literally reducing your waste and ultimately lowering your garbage bill. I was surprised to learn just how many items I throw away on a daily basis that is recyclable. I bet you will find at least one item you can be recycling and didn’t even know it.
Items such as opened mail, sticky notes, index cards, file folders, plastic bottles, jugs, tubs, and screw-top jars, paperback books, white or pastel office paper, paper egg cartons, cans (uncrushed and clean), balled aluminum foil, pie pans, empty aerosol cans, magazines, blueprints, newspaper, phonebooks, glass bottles and jars, lose metal jar lids, cardboard (flattened), brown paper bags, milk cartons and drink boxes can all be recycled in one container (earth911.com). It is important to note that plastic lids or caps, plastic bags, Styrofoam or paper takeout containers/cups and shredded paper are not allowed to be combined with the rest of your recyclables. Plastic bags can be disposed at most grocery stores or at your local recycling center.
I recommend visiting earth911.com http://earth911.com/reduce/energy-costs-and-conservation-facts/
to learn about recycling and the significant benefits a simple task can have.
Interesting facts I learned on earth911.com include:
•Recycled paper saves 60 percent energy versus virgin paper.
•Recycled paper generates 95 percent less air pollution: each ton saves 60 pounds of air pollution.
•Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water.
•Every year, enough paper is thrown away to make a 12-foot wall from New York to California.
•Production of recycled paper uses 80 percent less water, 65 percent less energy and produces 95 percent less air pollution than virgin paper production.
•Recycled glass saves 50 percent energy versus virgin glass.
•Recycling of one glass container saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours.
•Recycled aluminum saves 95 percent energy versus virgin aluminum; recycling of one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hour.
•Recycled aluminum reduces pollution by 95 percent.