This week, we celebrated the International Recycling Day. Because of it, this week we would like to share some interesting data on the subject. In particular, I want to discuss 6 potential benefits that could come from reutilizing the 12.2 billion tons of waste we humans generate every year.
- Reduce resource exploitation: Manufacturing new products from raw materials requires extraction of natural resources (i.e. the exploitation of mines, quarries, forests, as well as the refining and processing of some raw materials which generate significant air and water pollution). Recycling reduces this negative impact.
- Reduce pollution: Water, air, and land pollution, has been a world-known hazard resulted from industrial waste like chemicals, plastics, and cans. Recycling materials helps get waste out of our cities, oceans, and many other natural habitats.
- Reduce emissions: Chemical emissions occur when incinerating excess waste. When we recycle products, emissions coming from incineration are reduced which is increasingly important as landfills are reaching their maximum capacities.
- Save energy: When aluminum cans are recycled, 95% of the energy required to produce those cans from raw materials can be saved. Energy saved from recycling one glass bottle is enough to light a light bulb for four hours.
- Protect biodiversity and our health: The trash that reaches rivers, forests, and oceans quickly becomes a threat to wildlife. Animals can often get caught in/be hurt by certain types of waste or may die from ingesting trash in their search for food. This also impacts human health when we unintentionally consume microplastics found in the flesh of animal products.
- Be profitable and create jobs: Someone has to sort and ship off all that trash to the right places, not to mention carry out the actual treatment of the waste to get raw materials or new products. Thousands of workers have been employed by the growing industry. Most governments have incentives in place that give economic benefits for recycling. People that take the aluminum cans or glass bottles to collection centers can get cash in return.
Although the lack of recycling processes and infrastructure can be frustrating in Mexico, things are looking up. In 2013, Mexico only recycled and composted 5% of the total municipal waste. This made Mexico fourth-to-last in the OECD member list, where Germany led with an astounding 65%. Nowadays, Mexico has a recycling rate of 30%, the equivalent to 340,000 tons of trash a year.
I hope you found this interesting. Remember that recycling is only a third of the entire waste reduction chain: reduce, reuse, recycle. Everyone can make a difference by cutting back and repurposing as much as we can before our trash hits the bin. And naturally organizations can play an important part too, especially those that are in industries materially exposed to this topic.
As usual, if there is anything we can help you with, please reach out.
CEO, Miranda ESG
Contacts at Miranda Partners