What Impact Does Your Recycling Have On The Earth?

It can be difficult to see the impact we have on our direct surroundings, let alone the entire planet. This is especially true of recycling, in which we rarely see the effects of our good (and bad) choices. Well, it turns out that your recycling efforts have a greater impact on the world than you probably imagine. While you are just one person on a planet of billions of people, your choices can have a drastic effect on the environment.

The Broad Benefits of Recycling

Before recognizing how your choices specifically impact the world, it’s worth seeing how recycling as a whole affects the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, conserves natural resources, saves energy, and reduces greenhouse gases. Admittedly, there are some downsides to recycling. For example, it’s in some cases more expensive to recycle than to produce something using new materials. But, in the end, who can argue that saving money is more important than ensuring a healthy world?

Your Impact on the Earth

To imagine what impact your recycling has on the world, consider the following facts from Recycle Across America. Five plastic bottles provides enough fiber for one square foot carpet or enough fiber for a ski jacket. Recycling an aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours. And perhaps one of the more startling facts: a three-foot-high stack of newspapers recycled saves one tree. Now think about how many junk bills and fliers you throw away on an yearly basis, let alone any newspapers or magazines. What seems like little waste to you can actually add up to be quite a lot – and that’s just for one person.

Check Your Carbon Footprint

There’s no question that greenhouse gases hurt our environment. It’s become such a problem that our government is taking steps to regulate how much carbon dioxide factories can pump into the air. However, you don’t have to be a government or a big company to make a difference. If you recycle regularly, you’re contributing less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To estimate what your carbon footprint is, you can try out carbon footprint calculators from the EPA and the Nature Conservatory. By plugging in some information about your lifestyle habits, you can learn some startling facts about how you contribute carbon dioxide into the atmosphere based on how much, or little, you recycle. This may be an eye-opening experience, and you can begin to strategize  how you can reduce your carbon footprint.

As you can see, your choices have a greater effect on the world than you might have realized. Whether you’ve made recycling a daily activity or you’re guilty of slipping here and there, it’s worth thinking about how you can improve your sustainability efforts. If you’re not in the habit of recycling, you can get started by reading this helpful guide on how to recycle. The best time to  start recycling was yesterday, so for the sake of the planet, get to it!

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