Recycle for your health

By Briana Hayes
Staff Writer

pic of recycling bins

“While recycling may take a little extra work, it is important for our environment and for our own health to take that extra step.”

If you have eaten at the Fens recently, you may have noticed a relatively new trash disposal method.

The new trash disposal area contains three spots to place your trash. Two of those are for recyclables. Recyclables include metals, paper, glass or plastics. Recycling is important because we are able to reuse materials that have already been manufactured so that the world’s limited natural resources can be saved.

Metals such as aluminum cans can be recycled. Metals cost the most energy to make, and by recycling metals about 74 percent of energy used to make them can be saved. Currently only 50 percent of aluminum is recycled each year.

Paper is probably the most common product used on a daily basis. About 29 percent of the waste stream is paper. However, paper is also very commonly recycled in America.

Glass products made in the U.S. contain at least 27 percent recycled glass, which saves energy on the new products made. Due to the various colors of glass such as brown, green, and clear, recycling glass has rules that must be followed.

Some programs only collect certain colors of glass. This is because the color of the glass must be maintained when creating new products with it.

Recycling glass is important due to the fossil resources that can add large quantities of waste into our environment.

Plastics are commonly used to consume food. It is important to make sure the plastic is cleaned off before recycling. If one product is contaminated with food, it can destroy thousands of pounds of collected plastics. This will cause all of the plastics meant to be recycled to go to the landfill, and will create an energy deficit in manufacturing of plastics as well as a waste of natural resources.

Through advances in technology, we are able to conserve much more of our resources than ever before.  Conserving these resources is good for our health and our environment, and keeps the cost of our actions limited to the environment.

First off, recycling reduces and prevents the pollution in our environment. When recycled products are utilized, damage to the environment can be prevented because mining for metals, drilling the earth and cutting down trees are all acts that do not have to occur.

While recycling causes minimal pollution, it is nothing compared to the manufacturing of materials using new products. When using recycled cans, air pollution is decreased by 95 percent and water pollution is decreased by 97 percent.

Pollution can also be caused by the largest source of human-caused methane landfills. The gases that are emitted from landfills contain hazardous air, which can contain carcinogens.

Therefore, by not recycling, our waste goes to landfills and the disposal of our waste and creation of products using new materials both add to pollution.

Pollution has negative effects on our environment and also has negative effects on our own individual health.  Pollution has a well-known array of health concerns that it can cause. These concerns range from reversible to life threatening.

Some of these conditions include skin rashes, headaches, asthma, birth defects, and cancer. While it is not possible to eliminate all air pollution, due to emissions from cars and businesses, recycling does significantly decrease air pollution and therefore these risks.

While recycling may take a little extra work, it is important for our environment and for our own health to take that extra step.

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