4 Fascinating Facts About Recycling
Recycling is immensely important work. The world is facing a crisis of accumulation caused by unrestrained capitalist profiteering, extremely robust materials used in products, and a culture that is conducive to throwing objects away after they have been used. Thankfully, there are plenty of people all over the world working to reverse this crisis. Recycling has become a huge industry in the 21st Century and will undoubtedly grow in size as the sheer scale of the accumulation and waste crisis becomes inescapable.
1A Great Deal Of Recyclable Material Is Exported
Interestingly, recyclable material often finds its way across the ocean before it can be processed into new goods. The United Kingdom, for instance, exports 60 percent of its recycling – largely to countries in Asia. In order to be exported, recycling needs to be converted into bales using specialized compactor recycling equipment. It is then loaded onto container ships destined for material processing plants. All in all, this isn’t the most environmentally friendly way of recycling materials!
2We Are Not Doing Nearly Enough Of It
The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that 75 percent of American waste is recyclable, while only 30 percent of it is actually recycled. This is a huge problem. Many of the materials that are able to be recycled have extremely long material lives in landfills or bodies of water. A plastic bottle, for instance, can last up to 450 years before it decomposes. American governments, both local and federal, need to step up to the task of incentivizing recycling in order to protect wildlife and the complex ecosystems that support it.
3Paper And Cardboard Account For A Huge Percentage Of Recycled Materials
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a whopping 66.54 percent of recycled materials in the United States is paper or card. This is an interesting figure and may reflect several factors. The perception of paper by the public as a recyclable material has been around for a great deal longer than for other materials. This is partially due to the fact that paper companies have been pulping and reusing paper for a long time. Local governments in some parts of the United States have also been slow to offer other forms of recycling to the public or to incentivize them amongst business owners. Paper is an extremely easy material to recycle compared to glass or aluminum, which may partially explain why it is recycled so often. Expect a far more equal distribution in the future as companies and individuals are offered incentives to recycle diverse materials and the means to do so easily.
4Recycling Is A Huge Industry
Recycling is a 200 billion dollar industry in the United States of America alone. Collecting, sorting, baling, exporting, and reprocessing materials thrown out into recycling bins is big business. Private recycling firms compete for extremely large government contracts – they want that waste! Recycled products are used by companies looking to express a desire to cultivate ethical consumption. Ethical consumption, however, won’t save the planet. Industry leaders have to step up and make financial sacrifices.