The farther we go into the future, the more urgent it becomes to face reality: that we are gravely polluting our planet with waste at an unprecedented rate. The manufacturing industry churns out new products at a frantic rate, all to meet the quick-paced demands of the economy. In the midst of shopping for new clothes and gadgets, subsisting on prepackaged food, and leaving the water running—do we ever stop to think that we’re caught up in a never-ending cycle of unsustainability?
There’s still time to reverse our habits, however, and one of the best solutions we have at our disposal is recycling. Recycling involves turning materials back into their raw or basic form, ready to be reused as a new or different product.
In order to reduce what’s in the waste stream and preserve our natural resources, it’s time to make recycling part of our daily life. Here’s why should choose recycled products, and how your choices will matter in the long run.
Recycling products decongests the waste stream
What should alarm you is just how much waste is generated worldwide. In the 2017 Global Waste Management Conference, it was projected that global waste accumulated per year could reach 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025. This is way too much for landfills already teeming with garbage, and there’s also the big threat of some of this waste spilling into our oceans.
But any person in any community can make a huge difference. Stanford University’s waste management program in 2016 reduced its waste generation by as much as 62%, and its landfill contributions by 35%. Think about how you could be on the positive end of this equation by cutting down on single-use products yourself.
Recycling saves money
Perhaps the most practical reason to choose recycled products is that doing so can save you a lot of money. Constant purchases of everyday plastic, paper, and metal products can really add up. This is especially true in an organizational setting. Institutionalized purchasing decisions for recyclable products allows any company to reduce monthly spending while also cutting down their garbage disposal expenses.
One innovative example is using remanufactured ink and toner cartridges for all of your printing activities, as opposed to OEM cartridges. Repurposed ink cartridges are basically recycled and typically cost 30% to 60% less than their branded counterparts. Not only are you able to accrue big savings, you’re also setting your business up for less environmental footprint.
Recycling will affect market demand and industrial consumption of raw materials
As consumers, we do have power to dictate the trends in the market. If we patronize recycled products over new ones, we could oversee gradual changes in companies’ manufacturing practices.
To be honest, this is good for manufacturers, too. For instance, it takes 95% less energy to manufacture items from recycled aluminum cans than it does to create new containers from scratch using bauxite ore. However, we have to give the manufacturing sector incentives and precedents to encourage businesses to work more with recyclable materials.
Recycled products are now more accessible and mainstream
Admittedly, a few years ago, regular recycling proved hard for common folk. When asked why they didn’t recycle more, ordinary people responded that it was often not convenient to do so. If only recycling were easier, then they would do it more often.
In the last decade, the recycling movement has blossomed into a more inclusive, more accessible one. People can choose from a greater variety of recycled products, which include paper products, clothing and textiles, furniture, kitchenware, and even landscaping products like briquettes. Choosing recycled products has never been easier and cheaper.
Recycled products contribute to the local economy
Recycling does a lot for the local economy—just look at the neighborhood businesses and startups that serve your locale. Recycling has allowed for them to find viable materials to work with, learn sustainable means of production, and discover new avenues to sell their wares, (e.g. local sustainable fairs, e-commerce sites, and the like).
Some examples of local businesses that are thriving today are zero-waste stores, handicraft makers, and clothes retailers. It is highly recommended that you support such businesses and choose their products over their mass-manufactured counterparts whenever you can. As they say: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
There you have it—these are five reasons to choose recyclable products and develop more mindful, environmentally conscious habits along the way. With every choice you make, think not only of yourself, but also of the next generation—and make sure that your actions will come full circle for them in the most positive ways possible.