Captain Planet is a children’s television show about encouraging the world to recycle and protect the environment. If a cartoon series can inspire children to think twice about what is trash, how about grown-ups?
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Reusing products, instead of consigning them to the landfill, brings a sense of fulfilment and helps contributes to the ongoing battle for environmental sustainability. That old cell phone you threw away can provide scarce metals thanks to recycling. When we recycle, the energy spent in the manufacturing process is reduced. Landfills are a convenient but inefficient way to dispose of everyone’s trash. They waste resources and threaten nature. Some waste is inevitable, but why throw away trash when it can be used again?
It’s easy to think that recycling is a small act, but it is one that holds a global impact.
How Can I Do My Part?
The first step in the process is knowing what to recycle. Some of these everyday objects should be recycled to save energy.
Cardboard boxes, old magazines, and tissue rolls are common recyclable materials. According to the EPA, paper is the largest waste material in the US. It is the easiest object to recycle into new paper products and used for other purposes as well.
Metals are common recyclable materials. Each year, around 2 million tons of metal are thrown away, with only half that amount recycled.
Recycling glass was quite difficult back in the 1970s, but in recent years, technology has improved the recycling process. Be sure to clean jars and glass bottles before disposing of them properly.
The proper way to dispose of used cooking oil is not to throw it down the drain or toilet. Cooking oil can be reused by storing it in a clean jar. It should also be disposed of in a secure container. Cooking oil is also an alternative energy source for biodiesel companies, making it more valuable after use. If you don’t want a clogged sink, be sure to store oil properly.
The next step in recycling is to make sure you’re doing it correctly; city or state regulations will outline procedures and offer guidelines in separating trash, preparing for collection or where to recycle.
Other steps include:
- When preparing to recycle, ensure the items are clean. If they are dirty or contaminated, they may end up in the landfill. What a waste!
- When shopping, select products made of recyclable materials.
- When looking at community efforts to recycle items, check what materials are accepted.
Recycling is Cool, and You Know It
Plastic materials, particularly single-use plastics, take up to 1,000 years to decompose, clog up landfill sites or are dumped at sea. In the oceans, they breakdown into microplastics that are consumed by fish and enter our food chain. Finally, businesses are stepping up their recycling game and profiting from a premium charged on items made of recycled plastic.
Recycled plastics, broken down and made into fiber for textile is increasing in popularity. Pants, leggings, and jackets are some of the items made from recycled drinks bottles and keeping up with style. Polypropylene plastics are recycled and used in blankets and rugs. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are broken down to make carpet fibers or backpacks. Recycled plastics are used to create footwear. Shoes are a popular choice for consumers of recycling products that also include recycled cardboard, paper and tire treads.
Despite the efforts of consumers, government and the private sector to promote recycling, plenty more work needs to be done to save our environment. Don’t think that the scale of the problem is too large to make a difference. As the famous proverb says: a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.