Blog Action Day – Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
October 15, 2009
Recycling may not be the first thing you might think about when the topic of climate change comes up but recycling can certainly make a difference. Here are some recycling stats from the recycling section on the University of Michigan website:
- The U.S. recycles approximately 32 percent of its waste which saves an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases to removing 39,618 cars from the road.
- Increasing the recycling rate to 35 percent would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 5.2 Million Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent.
- Net carbon emissions are four to five times lower when materials are produced from recycled steel, copper, glass, and paper. They are 40 times lower for aluminum.
- Just one person recycling their newspaper, magazines, plastic, glass, and metal for one year is enough to save 471 pounds of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere.
I’ve always made recycling a habit, maybe it’s because when I was a teenager we lived in Germany and everyone recycled there. I’m sure my parents had something to do with building the habit since they were firm believers in “reduce, reuse, recycle” growing up.
Here is some more information on recycling and climate change from the University of Michigan:
“Recycling and waste reduction are actually very much related to climate change. The energy used in the industrial processing of virgin materials and in their transportation, involves burning fossil fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and coal, all major sources of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
While manufacturing goods from recycled materials still requires energy, it is much less than extracting, processing, and transporting raw materials. Recycling and waste reduction also avoid emissions caused by incinerators and landfills which produce large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane (21 times more potent than carbon dioxide). Waste reduction and recycling also slow the harvesting of forests, which act as carbon sinks, meaning they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”
I don’t cover “green” topics very often but I do try and use our natural resources responsibly. For many years I would ride the bus to work, now that we have two kids in childcare that’s not as practical but I still do recycle all the junk that we go through.
This post was part of this year’s Blog Action Day to help combat climate change.
All posts by Ben Edwards