Recycling and re-using are not new concepts - in fact, our ancestors knew how to recycle much better than we do. During wartime, old metal was melted and made into weaponry; old clothing was used for making quilts; historical evidence even indicates that citizens of the Byzantine era used recycled glass. Neither is recycling or re-using a matter of eco-friendliness alone - in places where resources are scarce and people have trouble acquiring new materials, one man's rubbish becomes another man's asset; think of used tyres used to make slippers, an empty soda can becoming an ashtray, and an empty mayonnaise jar becoming a nail container. Recycling, especially, holds much promise. Here are some essential facts about recycling you should know about.
- Over 60% of all items thrown in the trash bin can be recycled.
- Aluminium cans are probably the most recycled item; they can often be recycled and put back on the shelves in the supermarket in about two months. During this process, enough energy is saved to power a television set for three hours - per can! Aluminium cans that are not recycled could last up to 500 years.
- Half a million trees have to be cut down just to produce the Sunday newspapers each week. By using recycled paper, lots of trees can be saved. If all the newspapers were made of recycled paper, a staggering 250 million trees could be saved each year. Recycled paper also produces approximately 70% less air pollution than making paper from trees.
- Glass can be recycled but has to be sorted carefully; this is because it doesn't lose its colour as it is recycled. Recycling one single glass can save enough energy to power a 100-watt light bulb for several hours. If thrown away, a single glass bottle could take up to 4000 years to decompose.
- Plastic bottles can also be recycled, but are often simply thrown away. This is also true for plastic bags, and discarded plastic bags that end up in rivers or the sea can have a devastating effect on marine life. The recycling of one tonne of plastic can save up to 2000 gallons of gasoline.
That recycling can make a big difference in saving our planet is already widely understood - very few people have any doubts about its benefits to nature. What is often not so clear is that it isn't just about being eco-friendly; it's also about being efficient, cost-effective, and saving a lot of money in the long run, as waste collection experts like swrjustbins.co.uk will confirm. It's about avoiding big problems that would require big solutions in the future. And it's about personal satisfaction as well. It's about doing our fair share and being proud to do so.