LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Wednesday is National Recycling Day — a day that focuses on how individuals can be more aware of what materials they are using, and how to properly reuse or recycle other said materials.
You’ve probably learned about the three R’s used in the recycling process in school at one time or another, but if you don’t remember them here’s a refresher.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle — each of them plays an important role in helping our environment. From cutting down on pollution to reducing the need to harvest new materials and saving energy and so much more.
Think about the amount of trash you create in a day. Do you or can you recycle any of it? According to statistics, the average person creates more than four pounds of trash daily, which may not seem like a lot until you look at the annual amount.
That same person creates about 1.5 tons of trash a year. Just think about how much an average household creates. All that trash must go somewhere, and if you guessed a landfill, you are right. While some items can go to the landfill, others shouldn’t — as they can take hundreds of years to break down and even harm the environment during that process.
For example, an apple takes only about six months to fully decompose in a landfill, and a Styrofoam cup on the other hand takes about 500 years to break down. However, if buried in a landfill it can take even longer and cause a lot of environmental issues. A soda can takes less time but still takes about 250 years to decompose. However, recycled aluminum cans can be recycled in only six weeks.
Recycling saves energy in the long run since using recycled materials does not require manufacturers to expend as much greenhouse gas emissions as creating the same item again from scratch.
Take the soda can again, for instance. By recycling the can, it saves about 95% of the energy required to make a new one from fresh material. Producing glass from recycled material takes 40% less energy than making new glass from raw materials. Making paper out of recycled goods requires 30% less energy to make new paper from wood pulp.
By reducing and reusing the number of new materials being extracted from the Earth, we protect ecosystems and wildlife from harm and allow them to survive for generations to come. Also, by reusing materials that are already available to us, we cut down on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the production of new materials.
What can you do on National Recycling Day to reduce reuse and recycle to help save our planet?