Recycling Benefits

Recycling Benefits

The act of recycling is often considered a type of public service, a time sacrifice that pays dividends for the public good. While it is true that recycling does have a number of benefits for the public as a whole, many of these benefits are not fully understood. As a result, this guide will reveal some of the larger benefits of recycling to encourage its prevalence in daily life.

What most people don't realize is that there are direct economic benefits, as efficient recycling programs cost less over their life cycle than waste operations once you factor in collection and disposal costs. Most municipalities can earn revenue from their recycling efforts from the private sector, as well as grant benefits from the federal government. New York City saves an estimated $20 million per year through its recycling efforts by upgrading its recycling system.

Many cities pass on this savings to families and businesses to further encourage better waste management. These programs not only provide options for consumers, but also generate over 1 million jobs for recycling plans and collectors, providing an additional economic benefit.

The direct environmental benefits are also large, as some estimates suggest that recycling efforts prevent as much as 100 million tons of trash from entering the waste stream each year. On a smaller level, a ton of recycled paper can save over a dozen trees, while recycling a glass bottle saves enough energy to provide several hours of electricity. There are also more indirect environmental benefits, including reduction of runoff pollution from landfills, reduced energy use during re-manufacturing from recycled materials and conservation of natural elements such as timber, oil and minerals, all of which are used in manufacturing processes. Add up all of these direct and indirect benefits, and you can see that the benefits of recycling far outweigh its costs, no matter how you add them up.