Recycling is far more important than most people realize. Recycling creates jobs and livelihoods, and is critical to the economy. It supplies the necessary materials for manufacturing all kinds of products – from cardboard boxes, to electronics, building supplies, tires, clothes, and more! And, of course, there are endless environmental benefits. This year, we are calling all youth to explore the relationship between recycling and climate change to raise public awareness and show how, by doing our part, we can make a big difference together.
Recycling reduces the amount of carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases being released.
RECYCLING REDUCES CARBON EMISSIONS BY REDUCING THE AMOUNT OF ENERGY NEEDED FOR MANUFACTURING:
When we make new products from recycled materials, it almost always requires less energy than making products from virgin or raw materials. From being harvested as raw material to transporting, processing, refining, and being made into a product that someone can use or buy, there is a tremendous amount of energy involved. And energy requires fuel which means more use of carbon-based materials, and more carbon emissions.
RECYCLING REDUCES CARBON EMISSIONS BY KEEPING ECOSYSTEMS INTACT:
Most raw materials are extracted from critical ecosystems like forests, oceans, and mountains. Extracting raw materials often results in damage to the ecosystem and the loss of ecosystem services. For example, when bauxite is mined, the ore that is used to make aluminum, all the trees and vegetation are removed, resulting in the loss of habitat. Trees and plants take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – they are carbon sinks – and one of the few natural systems on earth we have that absorbs carbon! When manufacturers use recycled materials to create products, they reduce the amount of raw materials that need to be extracted, keeping more of these important ecosystems intact.
RECYCLING REDUCES CARBON EMISSIONS BY REDUCING THE AMOUNT OF MATERIAL SENT TO LANDFILLS:
Recycling reduces the amount of materials sent to landfills. Materials sent to landfills decompose and produce greenhouse gases, primarily methane. Methane absorbs heat efficiently and contributes greatly to warming the planet. By lowering the amount of materials sent to landfills, we can reduce the amount of methane and other greenhouse gases produced by landfills.
Recycling Contest Ask-an-Expert LIVE Events - FREE!
Join experts from ISRI, the trade association representing the recycling industry, and JASON Learning to hear about this year’s recycling contest! Open to all students K-12, this is an opportunity for students, teachers, and families to hear from experts in the recycling industry, receive helpful tips and the challenge, and ask questions. Also great for students who are also undecided about entering and wish to learn more. Come join us! Please note, all students under the age of 18 must register for this event with an adult (family member, teacher, parent, guardian).