Benefits of recycling for the environment

“We live in a disposable society. It’s easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name – we call it recycling.” – Neil LaBute, American film director and playwright.


World Recycling Day is celebrated on May 17. In 2005, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) proclaimed this celebration with the aim of recalling the importance of recycling our waste, reducing the volume of waste generated and reusing materials in order to reduce our carbon footprint and improve the environment.


What does recycling consist of?


Recycling is the process by which an already used material or product, originally destined for waste, undergoes treatment to obtain a raw material or a new product. In other words, it is waste that is reintroduced into the life cycle, which allows us to make better use of natural resources, reduce the environmental impact of our consumption habits and devise creative ways to redesign our objects and give them new life.


Recyclable materials are varied and include paper, cardboard, glass, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, some plastics, fabrics and textiles, wood and electronic components.


Recycling phases


The recycling chain passes through several points:

  1. Waste generation at all levels of the chain.
  2. Waste handling and separation in the corresponding containers.
  3. Planned and adjusted collection (recovery).
  4. Transfer and transport to transfer plants.
  5. Separation and processing of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to sorting plants.
  6. Transformation of MSW by different processes.
    • Recycling and reuse (including composting).
    • Incineration with energy recovery.
    • Incineration without energy recovery.
  7. Safe disposal both from a sanitary and environmental point of view.


Benefits of recycling

Recycling has several benefits for the environment:

  • Reduction of waste volume and, therefore, of pollution.
  • Preservation of natural resources, as the recycled material is reused.
  • Saving energy and, as a consequence, reducing dependence on oil, since less energy is normally needed to manufacture a product from recycled material than from virgin material.
  • Reduction of air, soil and water pollution.
  • Reduction of costs associated with the production of new goods, since many times the use of recycled material means a lower cost than virgin material.


We can all be part of the change. Let’s spread the message about the importance of recycling and set an example by recycling at home, with friends, at school or at work.


By: Juan Carlos Ugarelli

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