People have heard things like “it costs twice as much to create something from recycled material as it does to make a new product” or that recycling just doesn’t work. So is recycling really worthwhile? Are we really saving the planet?
First of all, the rumor that it takes more to make something out of recycled materials than it does to make a new product is false. Companies can make twenty aluminum cans out of recycled materials using the same amount of energy it takes to make one aluminum can out of non-recycled materials. This means that if you recycle one can, you’ve saved enough energy to power your television for three hours! Throwing away an aluminum can, on the other hand, is like filling that can half full of petrol and throwing it out the window.
Recycling glass is also very beneficial to the environment. Glass is one of the few materials that can be recycled over and over without losing any quality. More than 80 percent of recycled glass bottles are made into new containers. In fact, there really isn’t such a thing as new glass anymore—almost all new glass is made with recycled glass. Recycling 20 glass bottles equals a savings of about two pound of carbon emissions.
Overall, every pound of recycled materials saves landfills and two and a half pounds of carbon emissions. Here’s the bottom line, though: the average person actually recycles about one and a half pounds of mixed solid waste every day! That’s about a third of all the solid waste we create. Not bad, but it could be even better. If we were to recycle 50 percent of all solid waste, we’d save almost 2,500 pounds of carbon emissions per house per year.
So does recycling work? The answer is a resounding yes.