While issues like global warming, loss of rain forests, hazardous waste, and our waste disposal crisis may seem huge and out of our control, there are some things that individuals can control. Waste reduction and recycling efforts can make a difference--especially within Sherborn and within our state.
Recycling Saves Natural Resources. Recycling is an important strategy in conserving the world's scarce natural resources. Recycling reduces the need for landfills and other disposal facilities, thereby allowing local lands to be used in more environmentally preferable ways. And, by substituting scrap materials for the use of trees, metal ores, minerals, oil and other virgin materials, recycling reduces the pressure to expand forestry and mining production.
Recycling Saves Our Environment by providing industry with environmentally preferable sources of materials such as metals, paper, plastic and glass. When these are recycled, natural resources are saved.
Recycling Saves Energy. Using energy requires the consumption of scarce fossil fuels and results in the emissions of air and water pollutants. It usually takes less energy to supply materials to industry (collecting, processing and transportation) than to supply virgin materials to industry (extracting, refining, transportation and processing).
Fact: According to the National Recycling Coalition, it takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to make it from raw materials. Making recycled steel saves 60%, recycled newsprint 40%, recycled plastic 70%, & recycled glass 40%. Remember this and recycle!
Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions, By reducing the amount of energy that is used by industry, recycling also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps stem the dangers of global climate change. This happens because much of the energy used in industrial processes and in transportation involves burning fossil fuels like gasoline, diesel and coal - the most important sources of carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions into the environment. According to Martha Stevenson, Public Representative to the Steering Committee for Global Guidance of the United Nations Environment Program, a load of glass can be trucked across the country two and a half times before it generates the same greenhouse gas emissions as primary manufacture. With aluminum, we could truck a load to the moon and almost back to emit as many greenhouse gasses as manufacturing aluminum from bauxite, and for plastics, we could ship that load one and a half times around the world! For more about what you can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, click here.
Recycling Creates Jobs and Improves our Economy. In a November 2011 report, the NRDC said that by recycling 75% of its waste, the United States will create 1.5 million new jobs by 2030 and that by using greater amounts of recycled materials in manufactuing we will save 276 million tons of greenhouse gases. Most people don't think about the effect of recycling on the economy. As it becomes harder and harder to extract raw materials from the Earth, our products become more costly to produce and third world countries begin to have an advantage unless we use more recycled materials to produce our products.