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10 Reasons Why You Should Recycle Your Waste

Updated on November 22, 2016
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Since completing university, Paul has worked as a bookseller; librarian; and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.


Joined: 2 years agoFollowers: 30Articles: 13
Reasons why you should recycle: Bag with the recycle symbol printed on the side.  When going to the store, you always try to take your own bags, rather than relying on the plastic ones that they give you.
Reasons why you should recycle: Bag with the recycle symbol printed on the side. When going to the store, you always try to take your own bags, rather than relying on the plastic ones that they give you. | Source

Despite the benefits of recycling being widely publicized in recent years, according to surveys, one quarter of Americans still don’t recycle anything at all.

There is a first time for everything, of course, and most people, including myself, can remember when they were lazy and just threw everything in the trash can and let the trash men take it away.

If you are new to recycling, or are unsure about some of the issues involved, or are just wondering whether it is worth all the effort and - I have put together this list of 10 reasons why you should recycle. I hope that you find it useful.

At the very least, I would hope that you will appreciate after reading it why people like myself believe that recycling is so important and better still, I would hope that would seriously consider recycling more yourself.

We live in a disposable society. It's easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name - we call it recycling.

— Neil LaBute

Below are my top 10 reasons why you should recycle:

1. Trash that is thrown away and not recycled will end up either in a landfill, or incinerated, or will hurt the environment in some other way.

The more waste that gets recycled, the less damage is done to the environment.

Truck carrying scrap iron.  Many common materials can be recycled including metal, paper, and glass.  Much domestic recycling used to be done on a purely voluntary basis, but is now increasingly being adopted by local government agencies.
Truck carrying scrap iron. Many common materials can be recycled including metal, paper, and glass. Much domestic recycling used to be done on a purely voluntary basis, but is now increasingly being adopted by local government agencies. | Source

2. Everybody wins with recycling. It is not just beneficial to the environment and a way of tackling global warming, it is also good for businesses and industry because it conserves energy.

That’s because it is cheaper to recover raw materials from recycled waste than go through the damaging and expensive process of extract them from scratch, or by going through the original manufacturing processes.

If you want grown-ups to recycle, just tell their kids the importance of recycling, and they'll be all over it.

— Bill Nye

3. Recycling isn’t just an issue for one country, it is a problem for the entire human race and therefore a worldwide problem.

If the human race carries on as it is, we will run out of places to bury the synthetic waste, or do the environment serious damage, as is happening with global warming.

All bottles and glass products can be recycled and the glass used again.  Plastic bottles and containers should also be collected for recycling.  Rinse them out and keep them in a box.
All bottles and glass products can be recycled and the glass used again. Plastic bottles and containers should also be collected for recycling. Rinse them out and keep them in a box. | Source

Gramacho is the last landfill that allows people in. Brazil is the leading nation in recycling due to its poverty. There are people there surviving from what they find in the garbage.

— Vik Muniz

4. Between about 2/3 and 3/4 of household waste is currently recyclable.

The more people who get involved recycling, the more resources can be made available for recycling and the more pressure can be put on manufacturers and stores to use renewable materials.

5. Recycling is not just something that a handful of environmentalists should be involved with – it is something that everybody needs to be doing.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that synthetic waste that isn’t recycled is causing serious problems with health, the weather, and the eco-system generally.

While it is true that just a few people recycling 50% of their waste wouldn’t make much difference, if the majority of people do it, then it can make a massive difference.

People who volunteer at the recycling center or soup kitchen through a church or neighborhood group can come to feel part of something 'larger.' Such a sense of belonging calls on a different part of a self than the market calls on. The market calls on our sense of self-interest. It focuses us on what we 'get.'

— Arlie Russell Hochschild

6. The more ordinary people who recycle, the stronger the message to the politicians and leaders that strong action is needed on a national and international level.

Ordinary people taking responsibility for their waste makes a political difference, as well as a practical one.

Pile of used and empty cardboard boxes.  Paper and cardboard can be collected and recycled.  Boxes should be flattened so that they take up less space.
Pile of used and empty cardboard boxes. Paper and cardboard can be collected and recycled. Boxes should be flattened so that they take up less space. | Source

The concept of Shwopping is so clever, I think. The idea is that every time someone goes shopping, they can take an unwanted item of clothing and pop it in the recycling bin in their M&S store for Oxfam.

— Joanna Lumley

7. Recycling is generally speaking, free.

All it will cost you is a small amount of time, sorting your waste into the basic categories and washing out cans and bottles and maybe a minimal amount of fuel for the transport of your recycling boxes and bags to be recycled.

8. Trash pollutes the environment generally. It contaminates the sea and the soil, it can be hazardous for bird and animal life, and it undermines local eco-systems.

Recycling is the most responsible way in which trash can be dealt with.

I love to work. When I was a kid, I would invite my friends over to play, then I would take them over to a recycling plant and we would haul glass all day. They hated me for this, but I thought it was fun.

— James Marsters
Waste paper ready for recycling.  It is amazing how much paper the average household can get through.
Waste paper ready for recycling. It is amazing how much paper the average household can get through. | Source

9. Many of the resources that are used to produce products and packaging in the modern world are finite.

Plastic requires oil, for instance, and the oil will eventually run out. The sooner and more extensively we can use renewal fuels and materials and then recycle them, the better.

I'm mad keen on recycling because I'm worried about the next generation and where all this waste we're producing is going. It has to stop. I wash out my plastic containers and recycle envelopes, everything I possibly can.

— Cherie Lunghi

10. You can cut down on the amount of waste that you generate generally, regardless of whether it is recyclable or not, by thinking about the things that you buy.

The less plastic packaging a product has, for instance, the less waste there is left over after you’ve used or consumed it.

Organizing cans at a waste management center.  Pretty much all metal can be melted down and re-used.  Some types of metal have a scrap value too, and can actually make you some money.
Organizing cans at a waste management center. Pretty much all metal can be melted down and re-used. Some types of metal have a scrap value too, and can actually make you some money. | Source

I'm really interested in how you create a whole new economy of recycling. It's literally the 'underground economy.' All this stuff that on the surface creates growth and profit, ends up with waste, junk, and CO2. So how do you make it economic to bring new players into the ball game?

— Peter Senge

Your Opinion!

How much waste do you recycle?

See results

© 2014 Paul Goodman

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    • Johng387 2 years ago

      Thanks for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I am very glad to see such wonderful info being shared freely out there. efkffdkcceca

    • linfcor profile image

      Linda F Correa 2 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      We are huge recyclers in our home. I never throw any paper away without at least 2 uses. I recycle in my craft room, and threw the house. Great hub

    • mySuccess8 profile image

      mySuccess8 2 years ago

      Recycling of wastes, including industrial and household wastes, has been gaining increased public and government interests worldwide, with concerns of limited landfill capacity for solid waste disposal, increased air pollution from incineration of solid wastes, and the need for environmental protection. Your excellent article has covered some of the most critical reasons for household waste recycling,. I have read about government efforts being intensified in many countries for achieving a reasonable recycling rate, which included the declaration of “no plastic” days for supermarkets for certain days of the week, in encouraging customers to recycle and reuse their shopping bags. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      This is a very important issue. Thanks for writing a hub about the benefits of recycling. In Australia we only have one State that offers a refund of 10c for return of plastic and glass bottles for instance, but there is a push for it to be introduced everywhere. The same state has banned the use of plastic shopping bags. Voted up.

    • sparkleyfinger profile image

      Lynsey Harte 2 years ago from Glasgow

      In Scotland, the government has actually made it a legal requirement to recycle! You are provided with separate bins as standard, and separating waste has become the norm. As it has been made easier for everyone to recycle, Scotland has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions, and plans are to continue this way, with legal targets being set.

    • athulnair profile image

      athulnair 2 years ago from India

      In India, we have the habit of selling old newspapers for recycling. We get a fair value for this.

    • athulnair profile image

      athulnair 2 years ago from India

      Even while I buy something, make sure to avoid plastic. By being more cautious we can avoid a lot of plastics.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Congratulations on HOTD!

      There are many forms of recycling and as population increases and resources dwindle, it becomes an increasing concern.

      Great hub!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

      I was thrilled to see this article in the Hub of the Day column this morning. Congratulations! Well deserved.

      Oh yes, we recycle everything possible in our home. I've been recycling all my adult life. In fact, recycling is how I met the man who would become my children's father and my husband for some years. The marriage didn't make it, but I'm still recycling, although I hope I'm recycling less these days, since we do all we can to reduce our consumption of one-use containers.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Congrats on HOTD. It's an important topic. I use my recycle bins and I compost kitchen waste. I hope you have encouraged more people to recycle.

    • goodnews11 profile image

      OSBERT JOEL C 2 years ago from CHENNAI

      Great and well written eco friendly hub. In our country people use to sell the wastes that can be recycled to the recycling industries.

    • Maggie.L profile image

      Maggie.L 2 years ago from UK

      A really useful and interesting hub. Well done on winning HOTD.

    • allpurposeguru profile image

      David Guion 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Excellent choice for HOTD. I'd especially like to underscore no. 6. The answer to "what can one person do" is that it's hardly ever the case that only one person does it. If millions of people recycle, that's a million times the impact of what any one person does. If tens of millions of people recycle, it makes even more difference.

    • Laura335 profile image

      Laura Smith 2 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      I am big on recycling and always looking for ways to recycle more. Great Hub!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      We recycle as much as we can and also compost. What's interesting is that our recycle bin (that the local waste management company picks up) is full, but our straight-to-the-landfill container has usually 1-2 small bags in it. Composting kitchen scraps has really helped, too.

      Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 2 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      I always try to recycle and reuse stuffs around the house, even clothes that the kids have grown out of. As for the bottles, papers, we have to recycle here in Georgia. Each residence is given a Recycle Bin.

      Great hub, and congrats on your HOTD award.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      Congrats on HOTD! Very well laid out Hub and very interesting, too. Everyone should do their part in recyling. I am interested in a company that is trying to make more foods into an eatable wrapper. There would be no paper wraps! They are even working on drinks that you can consume the container the drink came in! No more plastic bottles.

      Voted Up, etc.

    • RAJESH CHANDRA PANDEY 2 years ago from India

      First of all my heartiest congratulations. You could have done well to include some simple ways to recycle also so that everyone could have used them. But perhaps that was not within the scope of the article.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Congratulations for the HOTD! Very good hub, enjoyed it.

      I have been a recycler all my life, I hate waste, in most cases I reuse wherever possible.

      We live in the country and it's causes a lot of problems having waste around, you can't just trash it, so no food is wasted, as it only encourages rats and they can be some of the biggest waste of food, like stored pumpkins, onions etc in a shed we had problems, found away around it.

      It's just a matter of working around any issues and recycling waste instead of encouraging more waste.

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Congrats on HOTD! And agreed on all points above, you've done a great job breaking down the importance of recycling. Hoping this reaches readers who aren't already recycling and makes an impact. Loved the first video, its always fun and interesting learning from a kids perspective. Great hub, voted up!

    • Hailee Shay 2 months ago

      I really think if we all took small little steps like recycling or water conservation http://lawntechutah.com/11-ways-to-help-water-cons... we could really make a huge difference. Earth is the only planet we've got right now, and we as humans need to take better care of it.

      Great article!

    • hjgk 3 weeks ago

      recycling rocks!!!!!!!!

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