The Benefits of Recycling and Reducing Rubbish
In the UK, an average household produces around 1 tonne of rubbish every year. This amounts to more than 27 million tonnes produced in the UK annually. This quantity is gradually increasing due to the increasing affluence which leads to more consumption
Lifestyles are also changing, which increases the number of people who rely on fast and convenient food. Additionally, new technology and new packaging materials are being developed. More than a quarter of the waste generated in these households is composed of packaging material.
Resources are wasted when such things are thrown away. The energy and raw materials used to make them is wasted, which in turn wastes a significant amount of money. Disposing waste also creates huge environmental impacts and can lead to serious problems. Waste reduction means less energy and resources used, less environmental impacts, and saving money.
As indicated earlier, waste disposal creates huge environmental impacts and can lead to serious problems. Much of the waste in the UK is buried in landfills. Some of it is buried in quarries that are no longer in use.
Although some waste will decompose and rot, some of it will not. As a result, it will produce a foul smell and even generate methane gas. Methane gas is explosive and a serious contributor to the green house effect. Another substance produced during waste decomposition is leachate which may produce the environment. Landfills that are badly managed may cause litter or attract vermin.
Waste incineration also creates problems. When burnt, plastics produce toxic substances like dioxins. Gases generated from incineration may cause air pollution and even lead to acid rain. Moreover, the ash produced by the incinerators may contain toxins and heavy metals. Due to all these problems, there are campaigns which have been started against waste disposal. Recycling of waste comes with many positives and benefits such as:
Recycling of waste comes with many positives and benefits such as:
Minimizes Demand for Raw Materials
Recycling minimizes the demand for raw materials. This implies that there is reduced need for quarrying, logging or mining. Quarrying and mining have blighted many parts of the world. As a result, the wildlife habitats and natural environments have been destroyed, which can have serious negative impacts on the local residents.
Additionally, transportation of raw materials round the world consumes fossil fuels, which emit poisonous gases into the atmosphere. Although some recycling materials are transported within the UK, this often has less significant impacts, compared to transportation of raw materials from remote locations.
When recycling is done, it consumes less energy than that used up when producing goods from virgin raw materials. As a result, there are fewer emissions. Bags manufactured from recycled plastics uses an eight of the water, two-thirds less energy, half of nitrous oxide, a third of the sulphur dioxide and less carbon dioxide, when compared to those manufactured from virgin polythene. According to renewable energy experts, recycling aluminium cans saves more than 95% of the energy that is required when manufacturing them from raw materials.
Another benefit obtained from waste recycling is renewable energy. Renewable energy is obtained in two distinct ways, waste to energy, and landfill gas to energy. Landfill gas to energy is obtained as the waste decomposes in the landfills. A certain gas is produced, which can be tapped and burned as fuel. This gas can then be converted to electricity or even used as an alternative transportation fuel.
Less Reliance on Fossil Fuels
This gas can also be used on other appliances that use fossil fuels. This implies that there will be less reliance on fossil fuels while at the same time reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and nitrogen released into the atmosphere. It is a very sustainable way of controlling the green house effect.
The benefits obtained from landfill gas are both compelling and proven. This is clean burning energy, which is mostly generated as close as possible to the end user. Energy supplied from land fill gas has the potential of serving more than 400,000 homes and replacing 2.5 million tons of coal.
The next form of energy obtained from recycling is waste to energy. Trash can be converted to thermal energy, which goes a long way in conserving fossil fuels. This form of power has the potential of generating more than 4.75 billion kilowatts of electric power. That energy alone can power more than 700,000 homes. Waste to energy plants prevent millions of green house gases from being released to the atmosphere.
Reduce the Size of Landfills
Waste recycling helps to reduce the size of landfills. When waste products are utilized constructively, the size of landfills can be gradually reduced. With the increasing population, the current landfills will not be able to hold much trash which calls for sustainable measures to be put in place. Failure to do this, some waste will find its way into the residential and business areas, leading to pollution and other negative effects.
Habitat conservation is another benefit of waste recycling. There are many reasons for taking care of landfills as a natural resource. It is one of the sustainable ways of taking care of materials that are discarded that remain after recycling. As such, converting landfills into natural resources is an extension of the waste recycling sustainability efforts.
Creates Employment Opportunities
Clean energy obtained from recycling requires fewer funds to produce, as compared to other forms such as hydro and thermal. Municipalities will therefore realize huge savings, and the funds can be used to support other development projects in the future, while using clean energy.
It is good to remember that recycling has created more employment opportunities. Although recycling is more of an individual approach, it still remains a huge industry. That bin full of waste material has the potential of providing full-time employment to someone. Thousands of workers are involved during several stages of the waste recycling process.
Millions of tonnes are generated as waste every year, in the UK alone. This waste is normally thrown away or buried in landfill sites. These landfill sites normally produce harmful gases to the environment. Other waste is normally incinerated, which is also a huge contributor of environmental pollution. Instead of throwing waste away, it can be recycled to manufacture different products which would go a long way in reducing environmental pollution and saving both costs and energy used up during the production process.
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