As you will no doubt remember we have used this space in the recent past to encourage you to recycle various household items. Recycling is one of the most impactful things that we, as individuals, can do to improve our environment. The great thing about it is that everyone can do it. And fortunately, many people around the globe have adopted this practice and incorporated it into their daily routines.
It is easy to forget, however, that we aren’t finished with our recycling efforts when we drop our carefully separated items off at the recycling center. There is another important and hugely impactful part of our recycling activity that can be overlooked. That is, purchasing recycled-content products.
After all, the aluminum, paper, plastic, glass and cardboard that we drop off at the recycling center come back to our local markets in the form of other useful products. We just have to make a point of looking for labels that identify the products that contain recycled content. Looking for the familiar three arrows logo and reading labels is the best way to tell if the products you are considering contain recycled or recyclable materials.
To be truly committed to recycling, we have to be committed to buying recycled items when possible as well. Saving or collecting recyclable materials and hauling them to the recycling center does no good if no one is willing to buy the recycled-content products when they come back into the marketplace. And there is no incentive for companies to use recycled content if they can’t sell it to consumers.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind when shopping:
Don’t buy more than you need. It seems really simple, and it is, but this single step reduces waste and saves money.
Use what you buy. Again, if you use it all, there is nothing left over to throw out (or store).
Buy in bulk when possible. This saves money and, usually, packaging materials as well.
Commit to reusable shopping bags. This is the best way to avoid the paper vs. plastic question. A good canvas shopping bag can be reused thousands of times and over time will save an enormous amount of plastic making its way out of the store and into the environment (or recycling bin).
Buy recycled-content products. This completes the recycling loop and encourages manufacturers to continue to use recycled materials.
Develop a habit of thinking about your shopping/purchasing behavior and its impact on the environment. Again, very simple but extremely important.
Five Good Reasons to Buy Recycled (from the South Carolina Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling)
Buying recycled completes the recycling loop and makes recycling work.
Buying recycled reduces the amount of waste disposed of in landfills. The recycled materials are made
into new products saving landfill space and reducing the need to build landfills.
Buying recycled conserves natural resources.Making new products out of recycled materials instead of raw materials helps build a sustainable future.
Buying recycled reduces or eliminates pollution by reducing the need to extract, move and process raw materials. In most cases, making products from recycled materials creates less air pollution, water pollution and waste than making products from raw materials.
Buying recycled saves energy. Products usually take less energy to make from recycled materials than raw materials. For example, it takes 95 percent less energy to make aluminum from recycled aluminum than raw materials.
If you are among the millions who have been making the effort to recycle, good for you! You’re making a difference. Now help us complete the recycling loop by looking for, asking for and buying recycled goods.
If you’d like more information on buying recycled the following websites are valuable resources:
by Jeff Whitaker
Source: The Green Register.com