Things People Don’t know About Recycling
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
What I’ll learn from this article: Facts about some of the materials that you can recycle and recycling in general
Even if you know the difference between materials and things like what plastic can be recycled, you can’t know everything. To be honest, no one can know everything, but I hope to show you important things about recycling, why is this so important? Well, is the environment important? Yes, well, recycling is the best way you can help, so the more you know, the better.
One interesting thing is that in the last 40 years we produce more rubbish than ever before. That’s crazy! This is why people need to learn, needs to understand. These are things, facts, that common people just don’t know and most don’t even care, like just how much you can save with recicled paper, for example.
Let’s begin this with…
THINGS ABOUT PLASTIC
Plastic is the very common material, you can find them in bottles, plates, containers, and everyday items. So the more you recycle, the more you can reduce your impact in the environment, in some places you can even get some money for your effort. But do you know that there are different types of plastics? And that they need to be treated differently?
Yeah. Polyethylene only has like three types, high density, low density, and terephthalate.
That last one, the polyethylene is the most accepted to be recycled and, it's common, can be found in simple bottles, for example, and it can be recycled into various things too. There is a number in those bottles, it should be 1, that’s the level of biodegradability and recyclability of the material, and 1 is the safest of all.
In contrast, the low-density polyethylene is the less commonly accepted one, it’s very harmful and full of chemicals, it can be recycled but is severely more difficult than most plastics. The number is 4 and it can be found grocery bags, for example. Their impact in the environment is enormous so you should be careful with this one.
All of this is important, with two tons of plastic recycled not only you reduce the impact on the environment, but you can also save up to one ton of crude oil. That is massive. The amount of money and resource you can help to save, so yeah, plastic is important, and people just don’t care that much about learning these things.
Other types of plastics like polystyrene, polypropylene and polyvinyl that are common, yes, but are more difficult to recycle than the others. Can they be recycled?, yes, and into helpful things too, but polystyrene have poor recyclability and it depends on the program to accept it.
SOME FACTS ABOUT PLASTIC
This is important, why? Because plastic is a non-biodegradable material, and it took up to 200 years to degrade. That’s super important.
The sad thing is that people do not understand this, the majority just don’t care. In the US alone are more than 20.000 places to recycle plastic. And people don’t use them. That’s sad. Some of those places even go as far as pay you for your effort.
The good thing is that lately, this kind of recycling had a growth, according to EPA, in the US, Americans recycle more than 6 million pounds of plastic per year. That’s better, but it really isn’t enough.
FACTS ABOUT PAPER
Paper is the most common material and is one of the easier to recycle. There aren’t different types of paper, but the paper has grades, 7 grades to be exact. This grade depends on how many times a paper has been recycled because each time the fibre gets shorter and the paper loose quality. So, things like a newspaper are low-grade paper.
According to the University of Southern Indiana, with a ton of recycled paper, we can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. THIS IS CRAZY. People need to know that this is easy, almost every day we use some kind of paper, it’s a material that needs to be recycled.
LET’S TALK ABOUT METAL
According to AISI, steel is the most recycled material on the planet. And for good reason. There are various types of metal, like aluminium, brass, gold, and steel. These are valuable metals because their properties cannot be degraded. For this, people pay good money for scrap metal, it can be recycled into various things many times. It is very helpful, and this is why is the most recycled material.
But wait. What is scrap metal? Basically, it’s like leftovers of parts of vehicles, for example. But as we told you before, is very valuable, the value may vary depending on the place you go but you can get pay all the same. It is a great incentive because the metal is super harmful to the environment.
But there is a material that is perfect for recycling and that is...
Glass is perfect for recycling; it can be recycled for an infinite number of times. There two types of glass, well, not glass exactly, cullet. Cullet is crushed glass that is ready to be re-melted. The two types are: internal and external. This cullet helps manufacturers to reduce their need for raw materials. Not only that, but it helps them to save energy cost and, the use of cullet reduces the gas emission during manufacturing, helping the environment greatly. This happens because glass never loses their integrity so if you use cullet to create new glass, you will consume 25% less energy than if you use raw materials.
This is incredible, the sad thing is that people throw glass into the environment all the same, and glass never decompose. Some expert says that glass could take up to 1 million years to break, so the damage of throw glass on the environment and even on the landfills is massive.
All of this is why waste management is important and, you can do that by reduce, reuse and recycle. Those are the three r’s and they can help you to improve the way you manage your rubbish.
It's interconnected, by reducing I mean you need to use fewer materials to do more things, like using both sides of a piece of paper, for example. You generate less waste. Reuse an item is another thing. As they say, one-man trash can be another man of treasure. Things like metal, that are a great environmental problem, can be reused into construction material to build new homes, so that’s great! Reuse or repurpose is important, you can use old jars as glasses for your home, old books can be donated or you can do things like bookshelves with them. The things you can do are amazing and helpful, so think outside the box on this one. The last one is to recycle, you know what this means, to transformed old material into raw material.
We need to know more, this is just a little bit of information to let you know how damaging we really are for the planet and like, to be better is not that difficult, you just need to know what to do. There many places and people that can help you if you want to help! So let’s do that, reuse your things, recycle, help us save the world!