Recycling is the process of taking the materials
and products we use up in our daily life and making them back into useful things.
Recycling Saves Energy
Energy savings are a very important environmental benefit of recycling, because using energy requires the consumption
of scarce fossil fuels and involves emissions of numerous air and water pollutants. The steps in supplying recycled materials to
industry (including collection, processing and transportation) typically use less energy than the steps in supplying virgin materials
to industry (including extraction, refining, transportation and processing).Additional energy savings associated with recycling
accrue in the manufacturing process itself, since the materials have already undergone processing.
Recycling Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions
By reducing the amount of energy used by industry, recycling also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and
helps prevent global climate change. This is because much of the energy used in industrial processes and in
transportation involves burning fossil fuels like gasoline, diesel and coal, the most important sources of carbon
and other greenhouse gas emissions into the environment. Additional benefits are derived from reduced emissions from
incinerators and landfills and by slowing the harvest of trees, which are carbon sinks.
Recycling can reduce a range of pollutants from entering the air and water in addition to greenhouse gases.
By decreasing the need to extract and process new raw materials from the earth, recycling can eliminate the
pollution associated with the initial stages of a product's development: material extraction, refining and processing.
These activities pollute the air, land and water with toxic materials, such as ammonia, carbon monoxide, methane,
and sulfur dioxides. Further reductions are achieved as a result of energy saving, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants.
The mobius loop, an international recycling symbol, can be found on many products.
A mobius loop in a light background means that the packaging or product can be recycled where facilities exist.
A light mobius loop on a dark background advises consumers that the product contains recycled materials.
Along with the mobius loop, there will be figures indicating what percent of the recycled content is post- consumer
and what percent is post-industrial. Post-industrial recycled products contain materials left over from the manufacturing process.
This material has not been used by consumers yet. Products with post- consumer recycled materials are preferred as they have already
been used by consumers at least once. In this way, they are "more recycled" than post-industrial products.
By learning what you can recycle in your area, you can make wise decisions while shopping.