News about the impact of plastics on the environment, especially in the lives of marine animals, is frequent. One of the most important solutions to this problem is recycling.
Some materials take hundreds of years to decompose, so awareness of their consumption, use, reuse and proper disposal is essential to building a sustainable society. Although public policies have a fundamental role in this matter, you can also contribute to changing some habits. The proper disposal of waste and supporting recycling cooperatives are some actions that everyone can do in your community.
What is recycling?
A few years ago, the world underwent a major shift in the pattern of consumption. The production of packaging and disposable products using fossil fuels, such as plastic, has grown significantly.
Consequently, the production of waste has also grown. We are currently witnessing the effects of unrestrained consumption of these products and their improper disposal, directly affecting our health and the environment.
Recycling is the process of reusing waste for the production of a new product. In this way, it serves as raw material, closing its manufacturing cycle. This procedure aims to reduce waste – hence the importance of recycling, although it is not the only measure for this.
Recycling, reusing and reducing, known as the 3 Rs, are complementary actions that are very important for the sustainability of society. The recycling process begins with the separation of waste for selective collection, which is why popular participation is so important.
What is the importance of recycling?
Recycling is essential for maintaining a sustainable society. In addition to the reuse of waste as a raw material for new products, which generates savings for companies, there are other benefits, such as:
- reduction in energy expenditure;
- reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG);
- preservation of raw material sources;
- decreased spending on landfills;
- generation of employment.
Studies by researchers show, for example, that when recycled, the use of Polyethylene Terephthalate, a plastic used in the production of PET bottles, can halve GHG emissions compared to virgin plastic. This is a very important fact, since these gases contribute to global warming, the effects of which have very negative consequences for the planet.
The practice of recycling also has an impact on the formation of future generations. It is important for children to be educated and to grow up in an environment where this is common. Thus, it is necessary to invest in actions that promote a change in habits in society, through a cultural transformation and with an even greater environmental impact.
Another positive point that highlights the importance of recycling is the creation of jobs and income generation, especially for the poorest population. The collection of recycled material can be done in several ways: by the city hall, by private companies or by cooperatives.
Recycling is so important that it is present in several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched by the United Nations (UN) in 2015. The SDGs have the role of guiding national policies and international cooperation activities for the next 15 years.
What materials can be recycled?
There are several types of materials that can be recycled:
- Plastics: such as soda and juice bottles, toothbrushes, grocery bags, shampoo pots, toys, tubes and pipes, and cleaning product packaging;
- Aluminum: such as cans of beer, soda and canned food. Some cans are made of other materials, so it is important to check the packaging if it is really recyclable;
- Paper and cardboard that are not dirty and greasy
In order for these products to be reused, it is important to take some precautions at the time of separation. Plastics and glass must be washed to remove product residues. The metals can be crushed to facilitate storage and transportation.
Another interesting idea that is being adopted by some companies is the return of packaging to the manufacturer. After consuming the product, you can deliver the empty packaging at accredited stores.
They will be sent to the factories and used in new products. As an incentive, some brands give discounts or new products to those who participate in this action.
In large cities, there are recycling incentive programs, with appropriate places for the disposal of materials, in addition to door-to-door collection. In addition, cooking oil and toxic waste, such as batteries, batteries and medicines, are collected at collection points. These residues are not recyclable, but they cannot be disposed of in landfills either, as they contaminate soil and water.
In the world, some countries are an example in this matter. Austria, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands are examples of countries that recycle more than 50% of the waste produced. This directly impacts tourism and income generation in these places.
Did you see how recycling is important and can contribute to the development of the city, the reduction of pollution and the heating of the economy? Remember that you have a key role to play in this process.
Therefore, separate your recyclable waste and take it to a collection point. Another very important action is to prevent the garbage from reaching the water sources, that is, never throw garbage on the streets and in the sewers. This can cause several problems for the environment and for the health of the population.