Recycling Can Save Your Money
When I visited Mongolia for volunteer work in 2016, there were no separate garbage collection systems in the whole country. Yes, throwing garbage whole in one trash can was truly convenient although it is so clear that it will mess our planet. And here in Canada do a better job of sorting materials but still, we only separate 2 kinds – recyclable and non-recyclable, and sometimes we are too indifferent and ignore the system.
We Should Remember That Not Only Does Recycling Save Our Planet, But Also Saves Money.
Among wastes, which we unconsciously threw away in our daily life, there are so many recyclable resources. These misthrown recyclable garbages are just discarded and being a loss of our money! Can’t you believe it? Well, here’s the living proof.
Zero-waste blogger, Kathryn Kellogg posted about reducing waste consumption on her blog. Kathryn also published her book, 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste and saved $12,000 USD by adopting zero waste lifestyle.
By simply swapping disposable products into reusable items, such as bidet instead of toilet paper, she saved her money though it costs some upfront fees in the beginning. It is not just a story of others. We - normal people like I do - can also reduce our budget with a small attention. According to her, we can save at least $100 every single month by buying “real, whole food” instead of pre-chopped vegetables or premade salad.
More importantly, The National Recycling Economic Information study indicated economical benefits of the recycling industry. According to the study recycling can be attributed to the number of jobs, wages and tax revenues. In a single year 757,000 jobs, $36.6 billion in wages; and $6.7 billion in tax revenues have been generated by recycling and reuse activities in the United States. These numbers are equal to 1.57 jobs, $76,000 in wages, and $14,101 in tax revenues for every 1,000 tons of materials recycled.
Research has also shown the recycling industry creates 10 times more employment and revenue in Canada than the waste industry. An informal survey by CARI (Canadian Association of Recycling Industries) concluded it directly employs approximately 34,000 Canadian workers, and indirectly creates jobs ranging from low to high-skill for approximately 85,000 Canadians. Studies from Europe, the U.S. and Canada all show the same results: the recycling industry generates jobs and boosts the economy.
Do You Know Where Your Used Plastic Goes?
Until recently, the answer was usually China. For years, China had been a leading importer of scrap and recycled materials from around the world since it needed inexpensive raw material, such as recyclable plastic and scrap, to feed growth.
But China finally said NO. After decades of massive scrap imports, China struggled to manage the increasing flow of materials, the quality of which was declining while contamination rates increased. Instead of clean and sorted materials, China was receiving scrap material shipments with food and product residue. Ultimately, this was lowering the value of the material, increasing processing costs and resulting in higher instances of unusable materials needing to be discarded.
In response, China made its intentions clear by banning the import of 24 different kinds of waste, including some post-consumer plastics, beginning January 2018. Also, China announced its limits for material contamination rates at 0.5% (the previous limitation was 1.5%) for most imported recyclables not mentioned in the ban. Achieving these very low levels of contamination is challenging, and any country is not yet prepared to comply with this directive.
Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand: Southeast Asia could be a substitute area, but these countries are also struggling with the pressure on existing waste management systems, resulting in the leakage of plastic and other waste into the ocean.
Conclusion: Reduce And Sort Recyclable Materials
From Good Goods for Me, to Good Goods for the World. This might be an opportunity to increase domestic recycling capacities. All of us can make the situation better.
We can cut down on our use of unnecessary, single-use plastics such as plastic bags and straws, and do a better job of sorting our materials from the start and making sure they meet the collection standards in municipalities.
These days, companies around the world are participating in this movement too. Cosmetic markets are thriving to recycle their used packages and inventing eco-friendly packages.
There are also the movements of removing packages. Lush put their shampoo, shower gel, foundation into the paper bags which are made of recycled paper. Out of all products that are available in Lush, 35% of their products are packaging-free.
NADA Grocery located in Vancouver, Canada here’s no products wrapped in vinyl or polystyrene. Instead, each consumer should bring their own container and buy food by weight. Their vision is "An unpackaged future: a lighter world that values a food system free of excess and waste to support the health of both people and planet."
It is all about the efforts to change our lifestyle and attitudes towards consuming the world.