It is not surprising to state that the amount of waste produced by our modern consumerist society is threatening the Earth. This waste whether incinerated, abandoned or buried in nature, takes many years to degrade itself. That is why recycling is the best way to protect our environment. We need to reduce the harmful impact of our waste for the betterment of the future generation. Recycling can give a second life to salvageable materials. So, what is recycling more precisely? And what are the impacts generated by non-recycled waste?
From waste collection to its transformation into a new product
Recycling starts with waste collection and sorting. It is then followed by the reduction of the tonnage of recovered materials which are then re-used in a new production cycle. A lot of material can be recycled. These include paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, electronic (including electrical equipment) and finally, metals like aluminium and iron objects. There are three main categories of wastes: household, toxic and industrial. We can also add green waste, which are the recyclable plant residue.
After being recycled, the materials are transformed into new products: stationery, textile, container, fiberglass, metal objects… Therefore, a recycling company can take care of transforming these wastes into few reusable products. They tend to adapt and execute the process in accordance to the material available. This recycling process can be either mechanical, chemical or organic.
There are multiple benefits in recycling. Firstly, it participates in the prevention of wastage concerning our natural resources. Moreover, recycling represents new opportunities of job creation: From collection and sorting, to incineration, storage or processing, machine operation, and even security: It will need a lot of people to take care about these!
Greenhouse effect, climate change, development of toxic substances
Like we said before, wastes take several years even decades to degrade themselves in nature. If some materials are biodegradable, others are inert. Most of those being inert, participate in the pollution of the planet with an increase CO2 emission. On large scale, this pollution causes the greenhouse effect who stop the infra-red rays and the warming climatic.
In addition, untreated wastes promote the development of bacteria and toxic substances. They contaminate humans needs: water, air, fauna and flora. The waste is carried by the wind as well as the rainwater that flows into the streams and oceans. This waste is taken away by the wind or rainwater that is responsible of this pollution in oceans and nature.
Soil fertility can also be threatened. Even the quality of the groundwater, which is subsequently contaminated. Taking the example of batteries: their toxic particles infiltrate through the soil and affect various minerals and organic materials.
Waste disposal: How to approach it?
Each waste is different and has its own garbage. We need to sort our household waste and put them in the appropriate bins. We can also go directly to a dump or a recycling company depending on the type of waste we want to get rid of.