Benefits of recycling

by Giovanny Martinez

Recycling is one of the simple yet efficient ways of reusing energy and reducing climate change. However, many unintentionally try to recycle items that are actually not recyclable, which can ironically still end up harming the planet.

Various kinds of plastics and metals are used everyday around the world in high amounts. The U.S. alone uses about 14 million US tons of plastic per year and about 10 percent of it ending up in the ocean. These plastics eventually break down into micro-plastics; despite having “micro” in its name, it actually has a huge impact on marine life. They affect digestive systems of marine animals and damage the already eroding coral reefs.

Aside from plastics, paper production results in one big domino effect of harm to the environment. Deforestation results as a cause from paper production, leading to millions of species’ habitats being destroyed, eventually causing climate change. Putting the wrong paper materials to recycle may end up harming the environment instead.

“People forget that paper is not recyclable and often misinterpret it as recyclable when it’s not, it’s biodegradable. Compost bins are a simple and efficient way to take paper along with other commonly used items such as coffee filters and cardboard boxes from food packages and put them to good use by providing soil filled with nutrients once the materials are broken down,” said Tanya Borba, environmental science teacher.

Having three trash cans is recommended; one for trash, one for recycling, and one for greens, such as tree branches or piles of leaves. These trash bins allow residents to place their items in the designated trash bin without the hassle of taking the trash to a recycling drive.

An easy way to tell if something is recyclable is by looking at the back of the item and checking for a ‘CA’ symbol. This helps people who have little general knowledge on what is recyclable and allows them to still give back to the Earth.

With the right steps, reducing climate change may occur at a faster rate, one plastic bottle at a time.

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