Five Benefits of Recycling

Categories: Garbage & Recycling

How often do you stop and think about the ways recycling can benefit you? Take a second and consider your daily life – have you ever thrown away an aluminum can because it feels like too much work to clean out? Or, do you know what can and cannot go into your recycling cart? Often, people choose not to recycle because it is an extra step that doesn’t reap an instant reward. However, taking small steps to create good recycling habits in your daily life produces benefits that impact you far more than you likely realize.

Before you throw away that empty aluminum can, consider these five benefits of recycling:

1. Recycling reduces waste sent to landfills and incinerators.

How often do you see a landfill? Your answer is probably not often. However, out of sight doesn’t always mean something should be out of mind. According to the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, about 72% of all the waste that is sent to landfills or incinerators consists of materials that could be put to better use through recycling or composting. Not only do these landfill sites have adverse effects on tourism, but they also pollute clean air and water. Next time you are ready to toss, consider if the material has a greater purpose than being buried in a landfill.

2. Recycling prevents pollution.

Clean air and water are some of our most precious resources. By using recycled paper, manufacturers cut their air pollution by 73% and water pollution by 35%. Additionally, mining waste can be significantly reduced by recycling glass and steel materials. By recycling as many products as possible and buying products made from recycled materials, you can help greatly reduce environmental pollution.

3. Recycling conserves natural resources.

It takes far more work and time to mine and refine the earth’s raw materials than it does to reuse them. Proper recycling helps use already extracted natural resources and protects natural habitats from being destroyed from mining. And aluminum and glass can be recycled an infinite number of times without losing strength and without extracting more resources. Before you throw away a natural resource, think about how that product can be recycled and reused.

4. Recycling conserves energy.

The amount of energy lost from throwing away recyclable materials like aluminum cans and newspapers is equivalent to the annual output of 15 power plants. Just last year, recycled bottles and cans saved enough energy to power 522,00 homes in California. Every day, we turn on the lights, brew our coffee, and watch TV – all of this is made possible with the help of recycling. Before you toss recyclables in the garbage, consider how much energy you could help create by recycling.

5. Recycling creates jobs, producing economic benefits.

According to the Carton Council, the recycling industry creates an estimated 534,506 jobs across the U.S. annually, including drivers, sorters, mechanics, material recovery facility managers, and sales representatives. These jobs supply workers with wages totaling nearly $34 billion annually. Not only do these positions help provide recovered materials for manufacturers, but they also generate economic benefits for the communities in which they are located.

Taking small steps in your daily life to improve your recycling habits can have a significant impact. The City of Sheboygan Department of Public Works is here to help take the guesswork out of recycling. Do you have questions about what you can and cannot recycle? Visit to learn about the City of Sheboygan’s recycling standards.

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