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The environment, however pristine, is subject to destruction if its resources is not properly managed. Controlling the rate in which specific resources are consumed and consequently depleted is crucial to determining whether the environment would end up in a good state. Among the ideal ways of resource management available for the purpose of managing the environment towards favorable levels of maintenance is recycling – a practice that may seem common but nevertheless often undermined. Recycling involves at least two actions that make it an environmentally sustainable process: identifying different kinds of recyclables resources and the types of products that can be manufactured from such process. When undertaken properly, recycling provides undoubted environmental benefits that can lead to the proper conservation of natural resources, decrease in temperature and reduction of pollution. This study seeks to elaborate on the environmental benefits of recycling, as specified in the foregoing, through empirically founded explanations from the available literature, as it presses onto its bold hypothesis favoring its constant practice and development as a sustainable measure to save the environment.
Environmental Benefits of Recycling
Saving Natural Resources
It is always important to emphasize on the time-proven fact that the environment is composed of finite resources, meaning that their depletion may no longer resort to reproduction. Without the utilization of proper resource conservation practices, including recycling, finite resources may perhaps be never compensated properly. Fossil fuels, for instance, are finite resources that play a crucial role in the global economy, specifically on the energy needs of all nations. It is difficult to envision a world with continuously-operating industries without fossil fuels of viable substitutes thereto. The reliance of machines – automobiles, particularly, on fossil fuels makes the production of viable energy alternatives that may serve as direct substitutes highly essential (Panwar et al., 2011). At the same time, it is important to note that there is real pressure involved with regard to the need to produce direct alternatives to finite resources – in the given case, the whole world would soon see an end to the operation of all its industries once all of its fossil fuel deposits have been fully extracted. Recycling, therefore, is a form of resource management that can benefit the environment in terms of keeping the status quo in order amidst resource depletion. When the time comes that, say, all the fossil fuel deposits in the world run dry, innovations arising from the creation of direct substitutes to fossil fuels through recycling could help retain all industry operations worldwide (Panwar et al., 2011).
As the threat of resource depletion looms, industries would also be compelled to adjust their practices towards more environment-friendly measures, most notably with the incorporation, application and development of recycling as among their crucial processes. Industries would soon realize that recycling enables the maximized usage of finite resources, to the extent that those would continue to benefit several aspects of industrial activity (Chen et al., 2011). Such, in turn, could prevent the depletion of all other finite resources that could otherwise result to depletion in the event the finite resources sought for maximized usage are just taken for granted. Recycling results to proper resource management as it plays through different dynamics of resource substitutions, presuming that different kinds of resources may compensate for one another, subject to the determination of lesser costs. Costs relate to the scarcity of the finite resources vis-à-vis the available processes for their efficient maximization. It is the responsibility of innovators in the field of recycling – scientists, industrial firms, and the like, to determine which resources may be subject to recycling for the lowest costs (Chen et al., 2011).
Although mainly seen an indirect benefit, decreasing temperature towards mitigation of climate change stems from the practice of recycling. Greenhouse gas emissions, which are deemed as the main cause of climate change, may be reduced through the proper undertaking of recycling processes. Since greenhouse gas emissions, primarily in the forms of methane and carbon dioxide, primarily come from waste generation, it is noteworthy to emphasize that recycling plays a significant role in reducing the risk of climate change (Lee, 2000). Recycling can cut down greenhouse gas emissions through deducting the rates of landfilling – a practice that can cause climate change directly, especially when done in large-scale operations. Instead of throwing away materials that can otherwise be still recycled, it is important to perform recycling in order to prevent instances where greenhouse gas emissions would lead to increasing temperature due to climate change (Lee, 2000). For the innovators in the field of recycling, it is essential to think of innovative ways on recycling materials which would otherwise be commonly determined as waste. Recycling materials into new ones would not only generate substantial demand in the market for recycled products but also ensure that waste generation would come downwards more favorable levels (Shrivastava, 1995).
On the part of consumers, it is very important to take note of the problem of climate change as it arises from waste generation. In that sense, consumers must take an interest in supporting movements selling products made from recycled materials through no less than purchasing those. Purchasing recycled products, especially those for their everyday-life applications, may do the environment a great favor as demand would shift away from products that would require the use of finite resources (Skumatz, 2009). At the same time, consumers also hold the power to innovate and hold responsibility against generating more waste that could only harm the environment through climate change. This is not to say that reducing waste generation would mean that consumers should not throw their waste and do nothing about it. After all, there are only two viable options for dealing with waste material – either throw it or keep it for innovative applications. The creativity of consumers must not be undermined if it is for the benefit of lessening waste generation in favor of mitigating climate change (Skumatz, 2009).
A highly cited reason for recycling is the fact that it helps reduce pollution. Manufacturing products in industries typically involve the use of virgin resources – those that are extracted naturally. The use of virgin resources in manufacturing products in industries result to the release of waste materials, which are typically attributed to air, water and land pollution (Bjorklund & Finnveden, 2005). For instance, factories that use coal as energy sources release large amounts of smoke as a result, leading to air pollution that can harm the air quality of people living in surrounding areas. Plants that use chemicals for producing industrial materials typically produce by-products that pollute nearby water systems, including streams and rivers. What is more dangerous is the fact that the by-products, which are mostly chemical in composition, are not subject to treatment prior to releasing, hence harming various water plant and animal species and causing deleterious effects to the ecosystem (Bjorklund & Finnveden, 2005; Lusky, 1976). Land pollution, as mentioned earlier, comes in the form of waste production deposited in landfills, which in turn could lead to greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Given the harmful effects of using too much virgin resources for industrial manufacturing, it is important to bear in mind that recycling provides sustainable alternatives that prevent not only resource depletion, but also pollution, as a matter of protecting the ecosystem thriving in the environment (Shrivastava, 1995). Once the importance of using recycled materials as substitutes to virgin resources becomes prevalent, industrial manufacturing would more likely lean towards the sustainable route by preventing pollution. Moreover, resource depletion would no longer serve as an aggravating factor to pollution, given that both harmful environmental effects would be mitigated, eliminated even, through recycling (Hou et al., 2012; Lusky, 1976; Skumatz, 2009).
It is also noteworthy to emphasize that individuals, too, can create a strong response to the environmental threat presented by pollution by recycling. Discarded materials such as steel and plastic, which are difficult to dispose of, may find new leases of life through their use in producing recycled wares such as furniture, ornaments and other applications deemed useful in contemporary society. Several do-it-yourself (DIY) techniques are also available for using recyclable materials in different applications. Used paper, for instance, are popular recyclables used for making recycled paper – products that would lessen the need for cutting new trees for producing new paper (Humphrey et al., 1977). Non-biodegradable materials typically buried in landfill must at least find new applications through recycling so that individuals can lessen the use of virgin resources that can only perpetuate the cycle of pollution. Promoting recycling as a practice is one that individuals can undertake properly, provided that they also endeavor in sharing the information that they have to others. Community initiatives at information dissemination on best practices involving recycling could start from among individuals, who can share their interest in finding the best ways for recycling in efficient ways. Such community initiatives, in turn, can also encourage their governments – local, state or national, to adopt sustainable measures promoting recycling as a practice (Williams & Taylor, 2004). Waste segregation, for instance, should at least form part of the entire process in order to discern waste materials that are recyclables – typically non-biodegradable ones, and must therefore be implemented as a necessary practice in communities in order to make waste collection more convenient and recycling more efficient. The availability of several efforts individuals may undertake could help emphasize the significant impact of recycling as a manner of preventing waste pollution from continuously destroying the environment (Hou et al., 2012).
Recycling is, by several means, a very environment-friendly gesture individuals must practice at an increasing rate, given the perils this industrial generation has introduced to the environment. Indeed, there is no question to the fact that recycling provides environmental benefits that are largely undoubted in terms of efficiency and highly susceptible for further innovations. For proper conservation of natural resources, recycling can provide strong favors to the environment by making sure that resource depletion would at least be minimized and ultimately be prevented. The industrialized status quo provides dangers for a world with heavily-depleted resources, which is why it is essential to make use of all by-products, discarded materials and the like for recycling. Also noteworthy of due attention is the ongoing issue of climate change. As irreversible as it may seem given the constant flow of industrial practices that continuously deplete resources, climate change is not impossible to mitigate, even completely reverse, provided that recycling is a practice that is constantly applied and rediscovered for several other uses. More importantly, preventing the deleterious effects of pollution from destroying the environment stands as perhaps the main problem recycling can resolve. By-products of industrial applications, which can cause harm to the environment in several cases, must be recycled in order not only to prevent resource depletion by serving as direct substitutes to virgin resources, but also to prevent those from sustaining an unhealthy cycle of pollution. Individuals, communities and governments must work together to make recycling a practice in waste and resource management in order to prevent environmental destruction.
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