The Recycling Imperative – Why Recycling is Important

There’s much talk about recycling these days – what to recycle, how to recycle, and the many benefits. You may have asked yourself why recycling is important – it doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference to your day-to-day life. While there are many reasons, perhaps the most critical is preserving our planet and its delicate ecosystems and limited resources for future generations.

The concept of recycling can be broadly expressed as an effort to conserve resources, reduce pollution, and reuse materials which may be practically used again. Recycling is a simple and efficient means by which we can keep our environment clean, conserve materials, save energy, and reduce garbage in landfills.

Already Scarce Resource Supplies Continue to Diminish

Our earth has a limited supply of precious metals and other resources commonly used in electronics, such as copper, silver, gold, palladium, and lead. As things stand today, less than 13% of electronics are recycled. Technology industry analysts Gartner estimates that nearly two billion mobile phones will be sold in 2015. Consider this: When just one million cell phones are recycled, we are able to reclaim and reuse 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium – all limited resources, and per the U.S. Geological Survey, all precious metals in dangerously limited supply. The U.S.G.S. estimates our current reserves of silver and gold could be exhausted within 20 years at the current rate of use.

Greenhouse Gasses Threaten the Future of Our Planet

Another reason why recycling is important is that we must consider our carbon footprint and how the production of an endless supply of new electronics is affecting carbon emissions, also known as greenhouse gasses, which lead to global warming. It requires 530 pounds of fossil fuel to manufacture one computer and monitor. By recycling one million laptops, we save enough energy to provide electricity to 3,657 U.S. homes. When we reuse certain electronic components, emissions from factories and industrial plants are reduced, and use of fossil fuels are minimized.

Recycling Makes Good Economic Sense

Another reason why recycling is important is that it just makes good economic sense. When precious metals, for example, are in short supply, this inevitably drives up the price. By reclaiming precious metals used in electronics, we not only insure we’ll have an adequate supply, we lower the cost of producing these items – savings that can be passed on the consumer. Further, when electronics are taken for recycling, many recycling centers are wiling to pay consumers for the value of those reusable resources.

Choose a Better Course for the Future

Recycling is simply a practical choice in many respects. It helps use preserve limited resources, protect our planet from pollution, and reduce costs. We can’t continue to carelessly throw into the garbage these things which include precious metals and minerals in short supply, and substances which are toxic when left to rot in landfills. We must consider future generations and make the responsible choice to be good stewards of our planet by choosing to recycle.


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