Good For Our Economy American companies rely on recycling programs to provide the raw materials they need to make new products. Recycling and buying recycled products encourages manufacturers to produce more recycled content products, decreasing waste, lowering our dependence on imported materials and creating a more sustainable economy. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) projected the impact of collecting and remanufacturing old newsprint (ONP) instead of paying to have the waste landfilled. ILSR found that for a city of one million residents, a single mill processing 100,000 tons of ONP per year could contribute up to $57 million in annual gross revenues to the local tax base. By contrast, disposing of the same material would cost the city $4 million in disposal costs annually (assuming an average tipping fee of $40 per ton).
Recycling in the U.S. is a $236 billion a year industry. More than 56,000 recycling and reuse enterprises employ 1.1 million workers nationwide. Recycling is estimated to create nearly five times as many jobs as landfilling. One study reported that 103,000 jobs, or 2.7 percent of all manufacturing jobs in the Northeast region of the United States, are attributed to recycling. The jobs created by recycling businesses draw from the full spectrum of the labor market (ranging from low- and semi-skilled jobs to highly skilled jobs). Materials sorters, dispatchers, truck drivers, brokers, sales representatives, process engineers, and chemists are just some of the jobs needed in the recycling industry. Recycling is actively contributing to America’s economic vitality. (Source: US EPA, Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2006)
The average American discards approximately 4.6 pounds of garbage every day. (Source: US EPA, Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2006) Most of this garbage goes into landfills, where it’s compacted and buried. Valuable resources in the garbage are wasted and could be allocated to a better use if they were recycled.
Good For The Environment
Recycling uses fewer natural and virgin resources. It reduces waste and in turn, reduces litter.
Recycling offers significant energy savings over manufacturing with virgin materials. Recycling just 1 ton of aluminum cans rather than throwing them away conserves more than 207 million BTUs, the equivalent of 36 barrels of oil or 1,655 gallons of gasoline (Source: US EPA, Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2006)
Conserves Landfill Space
No one wants to live next door to a landfill. Recycling conserves existing landfill space, limiting the need for additional landfills.
Prevents Global Warming
In 2000, recycling resulted in an annual energy savings equal to the amount of energy used in 6 million homes (over 660 trillion BTUs). A national recycling rate of 30% reduces greenhouse gas emissions as much as removing nearly 25 million cars from the road. (Source: Help-Stop-Global-Warming.com)
Reduces Water Pollution
Making goods from recycled materials generates far less water pollution than manufacturing from virgin materials.
Using recycled materials reduces the need to extract virgin raw materials from essential wildlife habitats such as forests, wetlands, and rivers.
Preserves the Future Being aware of our consumption in the present will allow our future generations to live in abundance.