We all know recycling is good for the environment, but many don’t realize the ways recycling can positively impact their own community. These days, there are more than just moral incentives for communities to establish recycling options and encourage participation.
Here are five ways the benefits of recycling can hit close to home:
Recycling has become a major industry that reaches far beyond your average curbside pickup program. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2010 employment in green goods and services accounted for 3.1 million jobs in the United States. The green job potential grows exponentially the more communities invest in their own recycling efforts.
It’s easy to associate green jobs with what we see most often, such as curbside collection services, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot to do with recycling that goes on behind the scenes.
The saying one man’s trash is another man’s treasure couldn’t be truer than in the case of recycling.
The market value of recycled or recyclable materials offers a great incentive for communities that recycle en mass. These days there are growing opportunities for communities to earn money by selling their recyclables or their already recycled materials. Processors and manufactures often purchase them so that they can make new products for less money than with virgin material.
Recycling isn’t just saving materials from the landfill; it’s also saving expenses and resources for communities that participate.
Recycling can help save money by diverting solid waste from regular garbage collection. Landfill fees are an easily overlooked aspect of tossing your trash out, but they are costs that add up and are usually absorbed by local budgets.
Recycling on a local level offers the chance to make a big picture difference.
Many materials such as plastic bottles and aluminum are 100 percent recyclable, but unless they get collected, their potential is being trashed. Recycling significantly reduces the amount of materials that end up in our waste stream, which means less waste is landing in landfills or getting incinerated.
The processing and manufacturing of recyclables allows companies to reduce their reliance on virgin materials. Virgin materials are usually mined and processed, which requires energy and can pollute the surrounding environment. According to the EPA, producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials.
In some cases, national partnerships are developed to assist local recycling initiatives, such as the recently announced partnership between the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) and the Curbside Value Partnership (CVP). By coming together, both organizations will be involved in assisting local communities in developing their curbside recycling programs.
A study recently released by the National Association for PET Container Resources shows that as of 2010, plastic bottles were the most commonly recycled material collected in curbside collection programs nationwide, and are recycled at a rate of about 29 percent – a number IBWA hopes to see grow.