Topic: Recycling

Recycling is the process of collecting, sorting, and processing waste materials and turning them into new products. Recycling is a key component of Sustainable Materials Management (SMM), an approach that aims to promote the sustainable and efficient use of materials throughout their entire lifecycle while minimizing their environmental impact. Recycling helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and promotes sustainability by conserving natural resources, but it is not without controversy. Some environmentalists question the effectiveness of recycling, as it can require significant amounts of energy and resources to transport, sort, and process materials. Additionally, only a small fraction of plastics can be effectively recycled, and the emissions associated with recycling certain materials may outweigh the environmental benefits (Greenpeace, 2022). Despite these challenges, recycling remains an important practice in the effort to promote sustainability and protect the environment (Waxman, 2016).

The concept of recycling has been around for centuries, but modern-day recycling practices can be traced back to the 19th century when people recognized the benefits of reusing materials due to the rapid industrialization and urbanization that led to an increase in waste and pollution. One of the earliest examples of recycling in the 19th century involved people collecting rags, bones, and other materials to use in papermaking and fertilizer production (Waxman, 2016). Recycling continues to evolve, with new technologies and innovations allowing for more efficient and effective recycling practices.

©2024 ClimateLit (Hyokyung Kwak)

Related terms: Waste management, circular economy, sustainabilityzero wasteupcyclingcomposting, electronic waste recycling

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by Jasbinder Bilan

“I screw my eyes tightly closed, place my palms together and say a prayer . . . I hear the rushing water of the Ganges, the mountain winds whistling their way through the valleys of Moormanali and connect to the ancient rhythms of my ancestors.”

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