Recycling is needed or we are going to have trash everywhere

Published 12:45 pm Friday, January 20, 2023

The City of Elizabethton announced the closure of two recycling centers this week which are serviced by the Carter County Landfill. The reason — not enough trucks or drivers to service the two locations and the fact that the two centers are not used that much.
We’ve known for years that alongside reducing our consumption and reusing items, recycling is one critical action we can all take to help protect our planet. But there are times when people still stand over the recycling bin and wonder: “Is that cardboard box I am tossing into the recycling bin really going to be made into something that can be used again?”
People toss various things for recycling — cardboard boxes, batteries, pipes, clothing, etc.
Recycling saves our landfills, saves money, creates jobs, and protects the environment.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recycling and reusing activities account for $37.8 billion in wages for workers. If everyone in the U.S. were recycling all the material eligible for recycling and delivering that back for economic use, it would generate 370,000 new full-time equivalent jobs nationwide such as collecting curbside recyclables, processing materials, supplying the materials to companies and more. By keeping recyclable products circulating, we keep their value in the economy — a concept called the circular economy.
Also, when consumers recycle their plastic containers, fewer raw materials are needed to purchase new containers.
Bottom line…the more we recycle, the fewer natural resources we use and more plastic waste we keep out of waterways and landfills.
The EPA also estimates if every U.S. household properly recycled the 20 million tons of household waste that is recyclable instead of throwing it in the trash, the U.S. could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 96 million metric tons. It would have the same effect as if we stopped burning more than 106 billion pounds of coal.
There are also environmental benefits of recycling? It conserves energy, reduces air and water pollution, reduces greenhouse gases, and conserves natural resources.
Perhaps we need to change the way we think about waste. Until we do, we are going to continue to litter, and we aren’t going to recycle.
Most materials have great recycling value. Almost everything we see around us can be recycled, although different materials require different techniques when they are recycled. Most of the commonly recyclable materials include batteries, biodegradable waste, clothing, electronics, garments, glass, metals, paper, plastics, and a lot more.
Recycling helps extend the life and usefulness of something that has already served its initial purpose by returning it to its raw materials and then using those materials to produce something that is useable. It’s part of the three golden rules of sustainability (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) and has a lot of benefits both to us humans and to the environment. Virtually all the planet is impacted by how much we recycle.
A growing number of products are being manufactured with recycled content. Common household items that contain recycled materials are newspapers, steel cans, plastic laundry detergents and soft drink containers. Recycled materials are also used in new ways such as recovered glass in asphalt to pave roads.
Consumers can help close the recycling loop by buying new products made from recycled materials. There are thousands of products that contain recycled content. When you go shopping, look for products that can be easily recycled and products that contain recycled content.
But, until we educate people on the need to recycle, they will not see the need to…and in the garbage and landfill, recyclable items will go.
We commend the organization Keep Carter County Beautiful for their efforts in educating the public on the need to recycle. We all need to look in our garbage and pull those items that can be recycled and take them immediately to the Carter County Recycling Center on Cherokee Drive.

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