With the rapid growth of technology, the future of the recycling process is looking brighter than ever. In fact, some experts are predicting that we will be able to recycle everything in our lives within a few decades. Recycling has been around for decades, but nowadays more and more people are aware of the need to recycle, and realize that products made of recycled material are cheaper than those created with raw and new one.
Law: The Ones Who Do It Right
A lot of countries have set up recycling programs, and there are many social benefits as well. In the US for example, recycled paper is used by commercial printers to make packaging materials like boxes or bags that will be sold in stores. Recycled metal can also be found on store shelves – so if you open your fridge right now, you will find one of the recycled metal containers.
There is also a clothing company that makes clothes only from recycled materials such as old banners, plastic bottles or old materials that have been cleaned and repurposed.
In Germany , for instance, recycling is mandatory and there are penalties in place. “It is great practice, and to be honest, I would like to see mandatory recycling and trash segregation in every country in the world. Let us be sincere, Germans are known for their recycling practices and many of them are terrified that there is no recycling in other countries at all or it is a matter of choice.” said Patrick Mazurkiewicz, founder of WirEntsorgen.
In Japan, recycling has been a mandatory practice since the mid-1990s. There is also a city in Asia, where recycling is the way of life. People there divide their trash in 23 different categories, which is a lot more than what we do. They are almost fully independent basing on the fact that they discover ways to recycle or reuse almost anything.
Why Do We Need to Recycle?
First, recycling processes use less water and energy than producing new products. And we don’t live in perpetuum mobile, energy needs to come from somewhere and the easiest and the most environmentally friendly way is to use energy from the sun, but devices used for that get old and need to be replaced so it isn’t wasteless.
The second reason why the recycling process is important nowadays is because it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and pollution of water. Producing new plastic releases CO₂ while recycling it doesn’t.
Recycling process also reduces the amount of garbage that is in landfills, saving space to make new land for such purposes. So when you think about all these things and how much you use plastic on a daily basis, maybe it’s not so bad after all. Imagine all of that plastic around the world not being recycled at all, we will have a problem to find the place to live in the mountain of plastic, and we will use all of our resources to produce new products that we can acquire by recycling instead while we will have not enough resources to use it for other purposes.
Recycling helps people buy more plastic, glass or metal cheaper and use it again and again for different purposes.
Why Aren’t We Recycling Everything?
There are many reasons for this, but the most important one is that the recycling process still takes a lot of energy and money even when there is less than producing new materials.
Another one is that people don’t segregate their trash properly, which makes recycling harder. Plastic bottles with oily substances inside of it for example can’t be recycled because the oil will spoil other materials and ruin them. The same with cardboard or glass covered in oil.
If everyone will be forced to recycle and pay huge fees for not doing so or doing it badly, maybe we will have a chance to get rid of the huge plastic problem and the whole islands of trash swimming in our oceans.
Another problem with recycled products is that not everything that is recycled is considered as a worthy product by customers.A good example of this is recycled plastic. When plastics are processed, they have a chance to release chemicals into the environment and that’s why some people stay away from them or sometimes even consider it dangerous for health. This concern has been shared by many organizations such as the World Health Organization and Greenpeace.
We still don’t have a solution to make recycling perfect and to eliminate all the possible risks or wastes. What is our best solution in order to fulfill the recycling process? One option would be to reuse plastics instead of recycling them and try to find a way how we can avoid pollution during this process. But it’s still not an ideal scenario because there are many cases when products containing recycled plastic couldn’t compete with newly produced ones.
Interesting related article: “What is recycling?“