Recycling is an extremely simple concept. It means converting something you do not have use of and turning it into something new and useful. Recycling takes place in all households almost everyday. Think of using an empty bottle to make a candle-holder. Of course, recycling also takes place at a much larger scale in industries.
We all know many concepts come and go but recycling is one that will withstand the test of time because of the long term effects it has on our world.
Recycling in industries
Very rarely is a product recycled back to the same product in industries. The two main types of recycling that take place at this level are down cycling and up cycling.
- Down-cycling means that a product is recycled to a product of lower value than it was. Take paper for instance. Used paper does not have the same quality as virgin paper and thus is unsuitable for many of the ordinary uses we have for paper. It is usually recycled to make toilet paper or other such light paper products.
- Up cycling on the other hand refers to recycling a product into another product of much higher value. This is what we see artists do, using their creativity to convert aluminum cans into fine pieces of furniture.
History of recycling
Believe it or not, but recycling has been with us almost as long as man has been in existence. Back before the industrial era, it was impossible to obtain goods so cheaply and easily. People therefore practiced recycling in virtually every way. The only difference is that those people who practiced recycling only practiced it at a subsistence level within households.
The mass production of goods in this current age is what has led to the urgent need for large scale recycling. With the constant production of new things every day, the development of a new system is necessary in order to get rid of the old. In current times, people simply throwing away the stuff that they do not need, and have discovered that this has a disastrous impact on the environment. The great American Depression that marked one of the largest economic recessions known to man also forced people to begin recycling.
During the depression, there was simply no money to buy things and even where there was, there was strict rationing of supply. It became necessary to recycle in order to survive. The economic boom that followed caused some people to lose this habit but the environmental awareness wave that swept across the world during the 1960s and 1970s brought it back.
A young graphic designer in a competition sponsored by an American company that wanted a way to let people know that it was using recycled products designed the recycling symbol around this time. It is now accepted globally and is displayed at almost every public waste disposal point.
Join in the recycling movement!
First, there would frankly be much too garbage in the world if we didn’t recycle. With most industrial products being non biodegradable there is virtually no way to permanently dispose of it. Sending garbage to landfills is not a solution. Landfills are a health hazard, no matter how sanitary anyone tries to make them and nobody likes the sight of one.
In densely populated areas, there is no space for landfills in the first place, and even where land is available, filling it with garbage does no one any good. Landfills lead to the mixing of certain chemicals to form toxic combinations that can seep into the earth and ground water, producing disastrous results. Recycling diverts a good percentage of garbage from ever reaching the landfills.
Recycling also means the creation of new products without having to deplete the earth’s natural resources further.
Creation of brand new products involve cutting down of more trees, mining of more minerals and using up of fossil fuels. Most of the times the amount of energy used up in creation of recycled products is less, meaning that a smaller carbon footprint is made than if a new product would have been made instead. Recycling is the way to go if there is ever going to be any hope of saving our dying planet.
Recycling is not only good for the environment; it is good for the economy too.
Companies have also been formed which specialize in buying used products and recycling them into products which can be sold. This has resulted in the creation of many job opportunities. It actually is basic common sense; think about it, recycling a product is much more profitable than burying it in the ground, isn’t it?