Recycling trends across the United States are not keeping up with the sheer volume of waste we are producing. With 9/10ths of solid waste not being recycled, and roughly 80% of the material in landfills considered lost recycling opportunities, there is plenty of opportunity for the United States to improve our efforts at recycling and reusing resources. As we become more reliant on ever-evolving technologies, dangerous e-waste is starting to take up even more landfill space, with recycling efforts catching roughly 15%-20% of all e-waste. Let’s explore some reasons why it’s important to find a recycling company to help us up our game and improve our recycling efforts.
Influences on the Volume of Waste
The amount of waste being generated is significantly increasing in the last few years. Population growth is only a small piece of the whole explanation. As affluence increases, consumption goes up, increasing waste materials in general. This is exacerbated by advances in packaging using non-biodegradable materials and lifestyle trends resulting in more consumption outside of the home and thus increased waste levels.
This is especially problematic when we factor in our consumption of technology that is designed for short lifespans and to quickly be replaced by the next big thing. The world-wide generation of e-waste reached roughly 49 million tons in 2018.
Keeping Dangerous Materials Out of Landfills
Aside from oil and batteries and other dangerous materials in landfills, we now have to consider the dangerous materials from e-waste. Materials in electronics such as cadmium, mercury, nickel, beryllium, and zinc can all have negative environmental impacts if they make their way into landfills.
Recycling offers a number of economic and social benefits as well. Recovering and reusing resources means we can conserve nonrenewable resources, as well as save significant amounts of energy by not having to create some of these materials from scratch. Recycling is such a cost saving process that depending upon the materials, manufacturers can save up to 90% of production costs using recycled materials rather than having to manufacture them from raw materials. The recovery and recycling process requires manpower, and provides employment opportunities parallel to the manufacturing industries supported by recycling operations. Some estimates show that while trashing 10,000 tons of waste creates 6 jobs, recycling that same waste supports 36 jobs.
Leading By Example
In recent years, recycling operations have taken a bit of a reputation hit, as recycling companies claiming to recycle materials have been outsourcing to other companies abroad who are only dumping into landfills. 1 Green Planet is a recycling company that takes recycling very seriously, with our mission to provide sustainable zero waste, zero landfill recycling services, accomplished entirely within our home state of Washington. We do not ship any of the materials we recover to developing nations or prisons for processing. We work with local companies to provide recycling solutions and specialize in e-waste, working hard to keep dangerous materials out of local landfills and to show other companies that sustainable recycling is not just something to aspire to, but something that can be accomplished.