Some people doubt that human action has propagated climate change. I disagree with those people, probably on many fronts, but recycling is one thing almost everyone can agree on. Everyone would rather have something be recycled than go to a landfill, all other things being equal.
Balcones, University of Dallas’ recycling partner, has researched the impact recycling can have on the environment. Even small things, like recycling one aluminum can, can save the same amount of energy it takes to run your TV for three hours.
If we recycle one ton of paper, an easily achievable goal at a university, we can save not only the energy necessary to power a house for half the year, but also save up to 7,000 gallons of water.
Such results display how recycling helps reduce the amount of resources used in creating our everyday products. For example, the process of harvesting and transporting lumber, as well as of transforming wood into paper involves a lot of water. When we recycle paper, we can save 7,000 gallons per ton of paper!
Recycling’s ability to help us save resources also extends to a fundamental resource: energy. For example, we use a lot of energy not only to pump and to convert oil into plastic, but also to transport that oil. If we recycle plastics, then we cut out all that extra energy usage. When we reduce the amount of energy we use, then we reduce our carbon emissions, slowing the rate of climate change.
Further, recycling benefits the environment because it repurposes trash which would otherwise end up in landfills. Nobody likes landfills, they are ugly, they smell bad and they take up a lot of room. If we reduce our dependence on landfills, we can use our land much more efficiently and effectively.
Plastic recycling is especially necessary, as plastics can take up to 700 years to decompose in a landfill. This means that if those who suffered from the bubonic plague used disposable plastics, we could still find the remnants of their water bottles today.
Additionally, landfills release large amounts of methane gas into the atmosphere, produced from the decomposition of the trash. When this material is recycled instead of thrown away, we reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the landfill.
Lastly, in big cities, trash is often hauled to far-off landfills; for example, New York City transports its trash into several neighboring states. Recycling facilities are usually located closer to people than landfills are. If we recycle, then we can reduce the needless carbon emissions made by the extra distance that trash trucks that need to drive.
These are just a few ways that recycling contributes to the fight against global climate change and contributes to beautifying the land directly around us.
Hopefully, we will have recycling back on campus soon. When it comes around, please remember the many benefits of recycling. If everyone works hard to recycle correctly and be good stewards of the creation we were given, the University of Dallas can really make a difference!