Recycling is more important than ever because just throwing away trash in a landfill or digging a hole and burying it is not a solution to the waste problem. Most natural trash items like food can break down and decompose in a matter of weeks, leaving no trace of it in the environment. But for man-made products like glass, plastic bags and aluminum cans it may take months or years to break down. Here are some averages for how long it takes certain products to biodegrade in the earth:
- Plastic soda bottles: 1 million years
- Glass: 1 million years
- Aluminum cans: 50 to 200 years
- Paper: 1 to 5 months
- Disposable diaper: 500 years
- Batteries: 100 years
Check out these Reasons to Recycle
What can be recycled?
There are thousands of items that can be recycled and reused as new products. Listed below are the most common items:
- Glass Recycling – Clear glass soda bottles, packaged jars and anything with a “G” logo.
- Plastic Recycling – Plastic soda bottles and milk jugs, shampoo and motor oil containers and anything marked with a 1 or 2 code.
- Metal Recycling – Aluminum soda cans and scrap metal.
- Paper – Printer paper, newspaper, magazines and colored paper.
There are also many products whose components are recyclable, such as computers. And products that you wouldn’t even think could be recycled, such as automobile tires, can be broken down and reused on roadways and for shower tiles.
What are the benefits of recycling?
Recycling benefits everyone and everything. Here are a few reasons why:
- Conserves natural resources such as wood, water and minerals
- Saves energy because less energy is used to manufacture brand new products
- Produces less greenhouse gases because industries burn fewer fossil fuels
- Recycling programs cost less than waste disposal programs
- You can receive money for turning in certain recyclable products
- Recycling centers create 4 jobs for every 1 job in the waste disposal industry
- Recycling programs keep 70 tons of waste from being deposited into landfills every year
- Prevents the destruction of natural habitats
- Decreases soil erosion associated with mining and logging
How can you get involved in recycling?
You can recycle at your own home by buying home recycling bins to use as containers to hold recycling items until you take them (or they are picked up by your city or county) to a recycling center.