Tag Archives: pollution

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:


Being Eco Friendly Despite the Disapproval of Others

There are many things that makes being eco friendly challenging for individuals. The lack of support they often face can be a big one.

This is something my husband and I deal with at times. His parents aren’t precisely fans of the environmental movement, although they’re very good about recycling. But they also make disparaging remarks about environmentalism.

Sometimes what it takes is showing how much more effective being eco friendly can be. They weren’t too sure about our choice to cloth diaper our youngest, but they are certainly enthusiastic about the likelihood that she will potty train at a younger age than the other two. They can get behind that idea easily.

In many cases, that’s what it takes. Don’t just phrase it all as being better for the environment when people say they don’t see the point. Show them how it benefits you or them personally. Most people can get behind that.

It doesn’t always work, of course. The value presented has to be one that appeals to them more than the convenience or comfort of doing things the usual way.

It’s also a simple fact of life that not everyone will approve of every single thing you do. It doesn’t matter what you do. Someone is going to find something to disagree with or disapprove of.

If you’re trying to bring people over to your way of thinking when they disapprove of your environmental beliefs, don’t start a ton of arguments with them unless that’s what works with that person. Many people do better with being given the information regularly until it works its way into their thoughts as their own idea. Pushing isn’t always the solution.

That can be hard to face, especially considering the urgency of many environmental topics. But if it works better than shouting at each other, you use the tools you have to.

The topic of global warming and climate change meets disparagement from many people, for example. Even if they agree that the planet is overall warming, many say it’s not human caused and that we’ll cope with what happens. The very real human costs aren’t real enough to them to make a difference, and the future is too vague.

In this area I often change the focus. See what they know about ocean acidification, pollution in general, the problems farmland has due to overuse of fertilizers, the problems with pesticides, and so forth. These are topics you can get into that may be concrete enough to get some agreement that action in that area is warranted. It’s better than no action.

Sometimes you just have to face that some people will never change. For some it seems like practically a matter of personal honor to disregard the environment. They’re not going to change their minds easily and they may be vocal about their refusals.

You may not be able to change everyone’s mind about even the simplest of environmentally friendly choices, but you can try to work with people to help them see where they are willing to change.