Over the past few years governments around the world have made a huge push towards the idea of recycling products. In fact; in some countries it is likely that you will actually get fined a rather hefty sum if you do not recycle certain products (in the United Kingdom for example). So; what is recycling, and why is it actually important that we recycle? Well; that is what we are going to take a little look at on this page.
At its core recycling is the idea of taking a product that has already been used and turning it into a product which can be used again. For example; many people recycle paper. This paper will be turned into pulp and subsequently turned into paper again that can be completely used. Basically we have turned somebody’s trash into something which can actually be used again. There is no need to cut down any additional trees in order to make the paper. There is no need to expend the energy that goes into making this paper again, at least not to the extent that you would need to make it from scratch, and there is absolutely no need for the paper to be thrown into a landfill. It just gets used again. The best part is that this process could be repeated over and over again for a decent amount of time (it will eventually be unviable to recycle the paper however). If everybody recycled paper then our need for new paper to be manufactured will be greatly reduce. Brilliant, right?
It is however worth noting that it is rare for most products to be exactly the same as they were before they were recycled. Recycled paper is not the same as new paper. You see; it still contains some ink residue (you may see this sometimes on the paper). It also has shorter fibres than other types of paper. This can make it a lot thinner and those after high quality paper will not be using recycled paper. That being said; the majority of people out there will have at least some use for it.
Obviously recycling is not just limited to the commercial environment either. You can recycle in the comfort of your own home. Simply using something again for a different purpose is recycling. Are you using a cardboard box that you received through the mail to move home? Congratulations, you are recycling. Obviously since this is a cardboard box it can also enter the commercial channels at a later stage so that new products can be made from in.
Most people seem to think that products tend to go down in quality when they are recycled. That is not always the case. Some products actually go up in value. For example; a wooden product may be recycled. It can then be turned into an item of furniture which is of a greater value than the product that was destroyed. In fact; there are some people out there turning something like aluminium cans into furniture and the like. Again; this is going to be a lot more valuable than the product that was destroyed…and this is great. It is finally being made useful again!
Now obviously; when the majority of people think of recycling they think about the idea of throwing their plastic, card, paper, and other recyclable materials into a special box. This is great. This is exactly what you should be doing. There is however an argument that recycling unwanted clothes is even more beneficial to the environment then doing those things. It therefore comes as a great shame that there are so many people out there who do not recycle clothing. In fact; up until recently I barely knew of anybody that recycled clothing like this. Read more about advantages of recycling.
The History of Recycling
It seems that it is only recently that governments around the world have really started to push the idea of recycling. This is mostly in part down to the fact that most places have started to open up the fact that our constant quest for new resources to create products is highly detrimental to the environment. In addition to this; we are throwing away more than we should into landfills. This is causing a ton of problems and it will cause a ton of problems into the future if we do not deal with that soon. I will discuss a bit more on that soon however.
People have been recycling for thousands upon thousands of years. In fact; it was not until the industrial age (just over one hundred years ago), where commercial production of ‘throwaway’ products was actually viable. Just about every product was recycled over a hundred years back. Most people did not commercially recycle however. It was something that was done within the comfort of somebody’s home. Please watch “what is recycling” video for more information.