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Top 10 Reasons to Recycle

I’ve long been a fan of recycling, but not everyone is. Some think it’s too hard, even in places where recycling is a matter of throwing it in the recycle bin and not the trash can, not a matter of sorting and taking elsewhere. There are plenty of good reasons to recycle.

1. Save trees.

Ok, kind of boring if it’s not your thing. And yes, trees are easily planted, trees are easily farmed, but a replanted forest is no match for an old growth forest. The biodiversity just isn’t there. True recovery for a forest is a matter of far more than putting some trees in the ground.

2. Paper recycling pollutes less water.

In general recycling paper requires less water and fewer chemicals.

3. Reduces the need for landfills.

If you throw it in the trash, most places it goes into the landfill. Not only can landfill space fill up, there can be problems with toxins leaching into the soil from landfills. Throwing it out just isn’t a solution, especially for toxic products.

4. Reduces incinerator use.

Burning trash doesn’t solve the toxic problems. It just puts them into the air people in the surrounding areas breathe.

5. It takes less energy to reuse aluminum.

Making a new aluminum can from old takes less 95% less energy. There are also savings for recycling glass, PET plastic and more.

6. Glass can keep being recycled.

Recycled glass is as good as new glass. The quality doesn’t decrease as it does for some recycled products.

7. Recycling batteries keeps heavy metals out of the environment.

Batteries in the landfill eventually release harmful heavy metals such as mercury and lithium into the environment.

8. Recycling electronics keeps toxic materials out of landfills.

It’s amazing how many toxic materials are in computers and other electronics. Dumping them into landfills allows lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and other materials to be released into the environment.

9. Recycling makes more jobs than landfills.

When products are recycled, jobs are created to sort the recycled materials. There are also jobs with the manufacturers who reuse the recycled materials.

10. Recycling costs less than landfills.

This is a bit of a tricky one, as initial collection and sorting does cost more than putting all the trash in the landfill. However, communities can earn much of that back by selling the reclaimed materials to manufacturers, making the overall cost less.

Here are more resources to help you learn about why you should recycle:

http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/publicworks/recycling/kidspages/toptenrecycle.html
http://www.princeton.edu/~greening/downloads/recycle.pdf

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