Why is it important to recycle

Why is it Important to Recycle?

Take a closer look at your trash can. Is everything in there really waste? It is most likely that you could still use much of what goes in your trash for purposes other than what you acquired them for. We can renew the life of some materials by recycling them. Recycling means converting waste into reusable material. Why is it important to recycle?

We want the future generation to enjoy life in a healthy environment, but this can only be possible if we make a conscious effort to protect the planet. Waste production is unavoidable as we go about our daily lives. Human activities collectively result in an enormous amount of waste spread in landfills around the world. Landfills and incinerators significantly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, respectively.

The spike in the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide and methane, causes unfavorable global climate change. There are many ways to manage waste, but recycling is the most energy-efficient method.

There are even more reasons to consider recycling more seriously. The earth’s natural resources are vast but not inexhaustible. If we continue to operate on a single-use system of consumption, raw materials will become increasingly scarce and eventually run out.

We have commonly used products made from recycled materials. Some of these include soda cans, newspapers, plastic bottles, and paper towels. Ideally, we use these products just once. But with recycling, the materials from which we make them can go back to the recycling industry and be used to make something else.

Materials meant for recycling can be bought and sold just like raw materials. Therefore, recycling can serve as a way for you to earn more income. There are many benefits to recycling. If we recycle more, we will preserve energy and save money.

Why is it important to recycle?

why recycle
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

When you go shopping for something new, you determine if the purchase was worth the amount spent if it meets your needs. But if you consider the cost of that new item to the environment, you might find that the item costs way more than the value it gives. Take a pair of jeans, for instance. It is probably the cheapest clothing item in your wardrobe.

But what if you added the environmental cost? About 3,781 liters of water are needed to make one pair of jeans. The production of one pair of jeans emits around 34kg of co2. Then there is the chemical pollution resulting from the dyeing and treatment processes. Think of the multiple pairs of jeans owned by you and virtually everyone on the planet.  You can now understand how your pair of jeans cost more than money.

Recycling is great, but not everything we need is made from recyclable materials. Therefore, you can begin reducing your contribution to landfills by reducing how much you buy. Take your time to make deliberate purchase decisions based on quality and multi-functionality.

Buy something made with durable material, and we can repurpose it for other purposes. That way, the few items you do own will serve you satisfactorily. Inculcating a slow-buy policy will not only make you financially prudent but ensure that there is less that needs recycling at all.


Reusing items (part of the 4Rs, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) is another to save the earth the energy required to produce a brand new one. If you really must get something, why not buy one that is pre-loved? As circularity and sustainability are becoming popular notions, more and more people have come to appreciate the benefits of buying second-hand. You may not have the facilities to recycle efficiently in your home, but reduction and reuse are other ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Rather than picking up a new pair of jeans, browse the virtual racks of online thrift stores instead for a second-hand pair.

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that consumers have considered as waste and turning them into new products. Recycling saves the energy required to make new products. It ensures that the energy spent on sourcing existing materials does not go to waste. Using recycled products reduces the need to source new raw materials. It is an efficient method of conserving natural resources. Recycling has a positive impact on the environment. It helps cut back on the amount of waste that gets sent to incinerators and landfills. This reduces the greenhouse gas emissions they produce.

We can also see the benefits of recycling in the economy2. The recycling industry in the United States is a source of employment for many people. It employs about 757,000 people every year.

It is important to try as much as you can to reduce consumption, and when you can't, consider recycling and reuse.

Why is it important to recycle plastic?

Everywhere you look, you can easily find plastic. It is versatile and durable; we have adapted it to many uses over the years. Plastic, however, is not biodegradable. They can take over 100 years to disintegrate in landfills. After serving its usefulness, it does not decompose like organic materials. However, there are some biodegradable plastics. The source of most plastic in circulation is petrochemicals, which are not biodegradable. Manufacturing plastic products consumes a lot of energy. Plastic waste is one of the major contributors to water pollution.

Metals are also highly recyclable. Food, drinks, and other products come packaged in aluminum cans. A report by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries says that recycling metal can cut emissions of harmful greenhouse gases by 300 million to 400 million tons1.

The benefits of recycling plastic and metal are many. Recycling these waste materials consumes less energy than manufacturing with raw material.

Why is recycling paper so important?

People tend to overlook the importance of paper in environmental recycling. But paper is quite commonly used and, like all other products, consumes energy during production. Paper is one of the fastest biodegrading materials, but landfills’ anaerobic system can cause it not to decompose.

Because the source of paper is trees, paper waste has a severe impact on the environment. It is important to recycle paper. This is because trees, which are the primary raw materials for paper products, are precious to the ecosystem. They absorb carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. Paper recycling helps to save trees, preserve forests and wildlife. For every ton of paper we recycle, we save 17 trees, 380 gallons of water, and 4000 kilowatts of energy.  Recycling paper saves energy and resources. Less energy and resources go into the process of recycling paper.

We consider space in landfills prime real estate. It is essential to manage the space, so they don't fill up too quickly. When we recycle paper, we reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill. This leaves more space for the kind of material that can not be recycled.


Recycling is vital in the fight against climate change. It reduces pollution and saves energy. Finding new uses for used goods helps to conserve natural resources. Recycling has proved to be an effective energy-saving and waste management system. The recycling industry contributes to the economy.

You can contribute to recycling by getting a recycling bin to sort recyclable material differently from non-recyclable ones.  When you use aluminum cans or a glass bottle produced from recycling, you are caring for the planet in your way.

Recycling efforts are continuously improving worldwide, but the world’s recycling rate still needs to go higher.

Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.

Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

Main photo by Krizjohn Rosales from Pexels
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