Recycling just makes sense.
With just a little bit of effort, residents can conserve and preserve and that benefits everyone.
The benefits of recycling go far beyond what most people might realize.
Keeping waste out of landfills and reducing demand on natural resources are important, but only part of the big picture when it comes to how recycling benefits all Georgia residents.
Consider these facts from the Georgia Recycling Coalition:
• Recycled aluminum can be back on store shelves in 60 days using 95% less energy to manufacture.
• Paper mills use 40% less energy to make paper from recycled paper instead of virgin timbers.
• Using 50% recycled glass to make new glass containers would save enough energy to power 21,978 homes for one year and remove 181,550 tons of waste from landfills every month.
• The U.S. steel industry’s annual recycling saves the equivalent energy to electrically power about 18 million households for a year.
• A ton of paper made from recycled fibers conserves 7,000 gallons of water.
• Extraction of virgin raw materials and manufacturing them into products uses quite a bit of water. Recycling reduces the need for materials from virgin sources and therefore reduces water use.
• Using recycled materials in manufacturing new products typically reduces air and water pollution compared to using virgin materials in the process.
• On a per ton basis, sorting and processing recyclables alone sustains 10 times more jobs than landfilling or incineration.
• Composting organics (leaves, grass, food scraps) creates four times as many jobs as landfilling.
• Georgia’s paper industry includes 16 paper mills using recycled content, nine relying exclusively on recycled fiber.
• One third of the PET (No. 1) plastic bottles recycled in the U.S. get used in Georgia carpet manufacturing.
But people must have access to recycling.
And recycling programs must have access to markets.
China has reduced its purchase of recyclable materials to almost zero. China was the chief purchaser of recyclable materials from here and throughout the United States. The reduced market not only means there’s nowhere to send recyclable materials but revenue from those sales has dried up.
Recycling should be a personal decision backed by public access but there must also be markets for those materials. South Georgia’s recycling dilemma is indicative of a nationwide recycling concern.
But in areas where curbside recycling is offered, and as long as the collection sites accept recyclables, we urge all residents to recycle, with the hope that recent increased activity in recycling markets broaden.