Global waste production estimated to grow from 2.01 billion to 3.04 billion tonnes by 2050, according to the World Bank. While it is arguable that population increase is the problem, poor waste mismanagement processes are the real cause of this catastrophe. In the US, for instance, out of 75% of recyclable waste, only 30% get to recycling plants. Perhaps, lack of knowledge might be the reason only half adults recycle. If you are part of the half that rarely recycles, a look at fun facts about poop might help you understand that almost everything considered waste is reusable.
Scrap Metal Recycling Saves Energy
Next time you are tossing a soda can in the trash bin, remember aluminum takes 200 to 500 years to degrade. But if you choose to recycle, you will be saving enough energy to burn a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, run a TV for 2 hours and a computer for 3 hours. If you are worried about the number of times you should recycle aluminum, you can rest assured that metals can be recycled forever without losing quality. Steel, for example, is the most recycled metal, yet it does not deteriorate. It consumes 60% less energy to recycle than it takes to make virgin steel from iron ore. Ever asked yourself why scrap metal recycling companies buy used metals from large-scale industries and households? They are aware recycling metals reduces carbon emissions by 58%. Some companies will even pay to have your old car at a scrapyard because scrapping a car saves two tonnes of raw material.
Recycling Paper Reduces Pollution
When people talk about paper recycling, your first guess is saving trees. But did you know using recycled paper cuts pollution by 95%? Recycling paper reduces the emission of methane; a greenhouse gas said to have 21 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide. When 80% of waste paper ends up in landfills, it decomposes and as a result, produces toxic gases. So, if you thought throwing waste paper in landfills is a smart option, think again. In addition, a ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, which help pull out 250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually through absorption.
Plastic Recycling Can Reduce Global Warming
It might take you less than five minutes to drink the contents in a plastic bottle. Throw the same bottle in the ocean, and it will take 500 years to degrade. Besides polluting the ocean and land, plastic produces 3.8% of greenhouse gases globally. Try recycling plastic, and you will be reducing about 2.5 kg of carbon dioxide per 1kg of plastic. If that’s not enough, recycling consumes 88% less energy than manufacturing new plastic from raw materials.
Textile Recycling Can Reduce Water Intake
Thought aluminum and plastic take long to break down? The shoes you toss in the bin because they are old will live another 500 years after the aluminum has decomposed. The mid-sole in shoes are made of ethylene-vinyl, which takes 1,000 years to decompose. Instead of filling landfills with old shoes, consider donating or reselling. Throwing old clothes is a simple act we forget within a few minutes. But do you know how much harm you are causing? Clothes take 40 years to decompose, and during that period, they release methane gas.
Additionally, garments are made of chemicals and dye that contaminate water and soil. Recycling will not only reduce the carbon footprint. One recycled cotton shirt can save 700 gallons of water. That is enough to keep one person hydrated for two-and-a-half years.
Next time you are disposing of waste, think of how it affects the environment. While not everything can be recycled, your everyday essentials are reusable. Make sure you are part of making the world a better place by recycling what you can.