Plastic water bottles are becoming an increasing problem in the United States. In fact, the American Chemistry Council found that nearly 2.5 million plastic water bottles are thrown out every hour, adding exponentially to our waste problem. This is because when plastic bottles aren’t recycled correctly, they’re tossed in landfills, which impact our environment in more ways than one. However, you can take action today to reduce plastic waste and recycle your water bottles. In doing so, here are a few benefits of recycling water bottles.
1. Lower Amount of Waste
When plastic water bottles are not recycled, they end up spending years in landfills. Due to limited space in landfills and harsh conditions, it’s almost impossible for plastic, among other materials, to biodegrade. When you recycle plastic water bottles, you can lower the amount of waste that contributes to landfills. In fact, nearly 7.4 cubic yards of space in landfill space is reduced for every ton of plastic that’s recycled.
Also, recycling your plastic bottles can prevent them ending up in the ocean and roadways as well. Currently, there is a dangerous amount of plastic ending up in our oceans, which has a serious negative impact on all the creatures that call the oceans home. Fish, birds, and other marine animals end up ingesting the plastic or getting wrapped up in it, cutting their lifespan and negatively impacting their quality of life. This has a devastating effect on the entire ocean ecosystem, a result that can be limited by recycling.
2. Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Plastic manufacturing creates greenhouse gases, which includes carbon dioxide, which contributes to increasing greenhouse gas emissions. However, when you recycle plastic bottles, the process of recycling needs much fewer fossil fuels and energy, therefore reducing your carbon emissions.
Plus, since greenhouse gas emissions have a direct effect on the severity of global warming, by cutting your emissions, you can lower your impact on the environment and limit the effects of climate change. According to The Environmental Protection Agency, the average family can reduce their carbon emissions by 340 pounds by recycling their plastic waste instead of sending it to landfills.
3. Recycling Plastic Bottles Is Simple
Another of the benefits of recycling water bottles is how easy it is to do. In fact, nearly 80 percent of Americans have access to plastic recycling programs, such as curbside pickups or drop-off sites. Also, a wide number of universities are making it easier for college students to recycle their plastic water bottles.
4. Lower Pollution Rates
Besides drastically reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, when you recycle water bottles, you can also lower the pollution rates on the planet. The more landfills are shoveled with waste, the more toxic the air pollutants they give off. Plastic resin that is used to make plastic water bottles can seep into groundwater and soil, ruining the environment.
5. Saves on Energy
Since making new plastic bottles from recycled ones costs much less energy, you can help save energy by recycling. In fact, recycling uses less than two-thirds less energy than regular manufacturing. This helps reduce the amount of work power grids need to do and greatly reduce the number of fossil fuels that need to be burnt, making this one of the best benefits of recycling water bottles.
6. Uses Less Resources
Recycling, rather than tossing out, plastic water bottles uses much less natural resources, like oil which is in limited supply. This is truly one of the best benefits of recycling water bottles. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency says that for every ton of plastic recycled, we save nearly 3.8 barrels of crude oil. Back in 2008, 2.12 million plastic items were recycled, which equals out to about 7.6 million barrels of crude oil.
7. Saves Money
Recycling can save you money and make you money as well. After all, those five cents a can end up paying you back after a few dozen bags full of them. No, they won’t make you a millionaire, but they can get you a few dollars’ worth of gas.
Furthermore, waste management is incredibly expensive to keep operations running as effectively as possible. In comparison, a recycling facility is cheaper to run due to a lack of needing to incinerate trash or routine dumping in landfills.
In fact, United States companies save money by contributing to recycling programs. For example, the more people recycle, the fewer corporations need to rebuy the products. Everyone saves money when recycling, making it one of the greatest benefits of recycling water bottles.
8. Maintains Sustainability of Resources
Recycling helps make sure that resources are properly sustained. This helps prevent the overuse of raw materials in creating new products. Fortunately, governments have recently helped out schools and small organizations to recycle at global levels. Doing so allows for our natural resources to be used by future generations without impacting current production for the time being.
9. Creates More Jobs
In addition to helping the environment and saving money, there are also economical benefits of recycling water bottles. In 2011, more than 2.3 million people worked in the recycling industry, and that number continues to grow. This includes everyone from those who designed the labels for recycling to the actual facility operators. Though it is true that many industries create jobs, the recycling industry creates even more.
In fact, for every one waste management job, there are four in recycling. In addition to the jobs created in the recycling industry, there are also those that are indirectly involved after the recycling process. This means even more jobs for people, like those who transform the recycled plastic into new materials.
The Bottom Line
Recycling your plastic water bottles comes with many benefits for both the economy and the environment. When you recycle, you are fighting global warming, conserving energy, and creating new jobs for the country. These are just a few of the many benefits of recycling water bottles. No matter where you live or what your favorite beverage is, be sure to keep recycling your plastic bottles.