Author – Chioma Ukonu
Co-founder / COO, RecyclePoints
Article made in submission for the Green Week and Climate Online Campaign
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Imagine if we were allowed to dispose our waste only once in a year, I believe everyone will definitely have a RETHINK on what we call waste, a rethink of what to REUSE or RECYCLE all in the bit to reduce or eliminate what we call WASTE.
Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials/items. It fosters Circular Economy that can save material/resources and help lower greenhouse gas emission, which is equally a better alternative to Linear Economy of TAKE-MAKE-DISPOSE. Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, thereby reducing: energy usage, air pollution (from incineration), and water pollution (from landfilling). Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” waste hierarchy.
With the increasing human population the needs for the people also increases. But the point of concern is that are there enough natural resources to service all our needs. What if these resources finish, this is one thing we need to ponder upon. We need to have a responsible production and consumption pattern in order to converse our natural resources. Recycling is simply the process of reusing the items from which utility can still be derived. It is important to recycle waste so that you can at least converse some of our natural resources for our generations to come – Sustainability.
Many products such as paper, cardboards, and paper cups come from trees. In fact trees, petroleum oil, metal ores are some of our natural assets, we can converse trees by recycling the paper products, we can minimize the number of trees cut down a year thereby mitigating climate change. We can conserve oil by recycling our plastics, we can equally conserve our metal ore by recycling our metals. It may interest one to know that our PET bottles are recycled into polyester shirts, straps. Our beverage aluminum can are recycled into ingots used to produce the likes of roofing sheet, cooking pots, window and door frames. Our carton/cardboard boxes are recycled into craft papers for making new cartons. Papers are recycled into tissue papers, High density polyethylene household plastics are recycled into plastic chairs, tables, hangers, pegs etc. Recycling waste not only save our natural resources but also help save energy. By simply recycling an item or making a basic fix to it, we can save all the energy that would have been consumed in the process of making a new one.
To recycle waste is to simply reduce pollution. By recycling plastic material we can reduce air pollution as well as water pollution (as it’s been said that by 2050 the number of plastics in the ocean will be more than the number of fishes in the ocean). Plastic factories produced large amount of smoke when producing plastic material at the same time if we don’t have proper waste disposal system those waste may end up at the landfills/dumpsites where they are burnt and greenhouse and toxic emissions occur. On the other hand recycling requires much less energy and therefore helps to preserve natural resources.
Benefits of recycling includes; it saves our resources, reduces litter, creates jobs, empowers women, eradicate poverty, engage communities and sustain our environment.