All these fancy terms: reduce, upcycle, zero-waste… but what do they all mean and can everyone do it? Absolutely.
What is recycling?
Everybody has heard the term recycling at least in one form or another but what does it actually mean? Recycling simply means the execution of processing used or abandoned materials to create new materials. This can be materials such as glass, paper, plastic, textiles and cardboard. However, there are many other forms that fall under the term waste recycling and this article will endeavor to help you understand and know the differences in order to get the most out of recycling, and why it is important to recycle in any form that you can.
One form of recycling is simply avoiding having it! Refuse acquiring and bringing waste into your home from bulk buying to carrying your own reusable shopping bags, simply refusing to support the packaging and plastic in the first place goes a long way for the planet and for your wallet.
This might be the hardest on to get used to but refusing the waste may become more rewarding. Many grocery stores nowadays sell items in bulk and in cities, even markets offer zero-waste friendly environments where they will fill your own tupperware and bottle full of whatever ingredients you may need.
The benefits of refuse disposal are:
Benefits to the economy – supports the local markets and farmers as well as, introduces less clean-up costs in the long-term in the economy;
Social benefits – by observing proper waste management practice it will reduce adverse impacts on health and will empower other to not be ashamed of bringing their own bags;
Environmental Benefits- diminishing your carbon footprint by refusing what you really don’t need;
Another form that is essential is reduction. Reducing waste is the first and essentially the most important step in recycling. This can be done by buying items in bulk with less packaging and shift to reusable items rather than single use, for example switching to energy-saving light bulbs instead of normal ones or using rechargeable batteries instead of single-use batteries. This is the first step in the recycling hierarchy and without this, the other steps are effectively meaningless. Therefore reduction is one of the crucial and pivotable steps in recycling.
The benefits of this are threefold, they include benefits to the environment, financial and social.
By conserving space in landfills which reduce the need for further landfills in the future, reducing the pollution and energy consumption associated with the creation of new materials and by destructive demolition to reduce other impacts such as dust etc on surrounded propertied and streets.
Financially by reduction of costs for more efficient uses of materials, reduce waste costs, improve work efficiencies through accurate detailed design. Reduce waste disposal costs and improve the productivity of the staff.
Socially by minimizing hazardous and nuisance materials and waste in the community.
Another kind of waste management is upcycling. Upcycling otherwise known as creative reuse is the opposite of downcycling which is the other half of the recycling process. Whereas downcycling is the process of changing materials and products into new products of diminished quality, upcycling is the process of remodelling waste materials, unwanted and useless products in new or better quality materials. For example, taking an old bookcase and painting it, making it more attractive and modern for a younger target market.
The benefits of upcycling are huge as apart from minimizing the amount of waste being sent to landfill it also reduces the need for production of raw, new materials which in turn reduces air pollution, greenhouse gases and so forth.
The environmental benefits include saving materials from landfill and reducing what goes into landfill. It also provides a minimal use of the earth’s natural resources as upcycling does not use new raw materials in its production.
Social and economic benefits include the support of local and rural industries by supporting small businesses. Upcycling also reduces manufacturing costs by making items with reclaimed materials.
The last form of recycling is the idea of zero-waste. Zero-waste is a concept that incentifies the redesignation of resource life cycles so that all products are reused.the end goal is that no garbage will be sent to landfill but that everything will be reused in nature. This process comprises more than just eliminating rubbish through reuse and recycling, it centers on streamlining production and distribution systems to reduce overall waste.
The benefits of zero-waste as proposed by defenders are to both socioeconomic and to health.
Socioeconomic benefits are the reduction of waste will save money, that the zero-waste strategy will improve production processes and therefore faster progress will ensue. Zero- waste will also support sustainability and improve material flows by using fewer new materials and sending no waste to landfills.
Health benefits include helping to reduce occurrences of respiratory disease and birth defects that are coupled with landfills and the toxins released by them. the zero-waste concept can also aid the preservation of local environments and sources of drinking water by preventing any pollutants from entering the ecosystem.
Recycling in any form is important and even crucial, especially in today’s society. The world is becoming overrun by landfills and waste disposal and unless this issue is taken in hand the situation is going to seriously dame the earth, its ecosystem and the nature that inhabits it including humanity.as you can see there are many forms of recycling and anyone will make a difference to you and to the world.