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How Does Recycling Reduce Pollution?

Recycling has become synonymous with pollution reduction. We are learning to recycle our paper, plastic and even table scraps. Pollution is a real threat that if left to expand at its current rate will destroy the environment and make it impossible for the Earth to rebuild in the future. So how does recycling reduce pollution?

One of the biggest contributors of global warming is garbage, more specifically solid waste. Landfills are the largest man made source of methane gas within the United States. Methane is considered to be a very powerful greenhouse gas. It is 23 times more effective at trapping heat within the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, which is the most prevalent greenhouse gas.

Wastes that are sent to landfills or are left as litter in along roadsides, in parks and in bodies of water become pollution to the Earth by emitting dangerous gases into the atmosphere. Pollution is greatly reduced when people are more concern about the environment and choose to recycle many of these wastes.

Every time you throw away a piece of trash, you are contributing to pollute the Earth and global warming. Recycling reduces more pollution, saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions than any other activity other than source reduction. Almost every place has a recycling center near it and there are even some recycling centers that will come to you to pick up your items, just like regular trash service.

 Greenhouse gases and pollutants are reduces by recycling in two important ways.

  1. Recycling keeps garbage out of the landfills. Landfills are designed so that once the garbage has been dumped; there is very little air that remains below the surface. These landfill gases are generated as a by-product of the digestion of organic materials by several organisms that thrive on landfill waste. Organic matter that is digested includes paper, grass and food waste. This is 50 percent methane.New landfills are now regulated through the EPA. They are required to capture a percentage of their methane emissions. Even with these regulations though significant quantities still escape into the atmosphere.
  2. Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the necessity to keep mining and refining virgin resources for the production of new products. Consumer products are made from resources mined from the Earth. These resources, once mined, are transported far distances and then processed using heavy industrial machinery that requires large amounts of energy and resources to operate. This entire process produces significant greenhouse gas emissions and large quantities of other pollutants into the atmosphere.

In a world filled with recycling bins placed almost on every corner, it has become an easy task to start recycling and helping to reduce the amount of pollution within our atmosphere. Many people call it part of the green movement. By recycling just half of your solid waste, you are contributing to reducing greenhouse gases and pollution. Recycling will help future generations enjoy an environment that is not so over-powered with pollution and allow them to enjoy the outdoors without respirators or fear of disease.