The amount of waste produced by human activities is already a worldwide problem. News about the impact of plastics on the environment, especially on the lives of marine animals, are frequent. One of the solutions to this problem is recycling.
Some materials take hundreds of years to decompose, so awareness of their consumption, use, reuse and proper disposal is essential to build a sustainable society. Although public policies play a key role in this issue, you can also contribute to changing some habits.
The adequate disposal of garbage and the support to recycling cooperatives are some actions that everyone can do in their community. Do you want to know more about this subject? Keep reading the post!
What is recycling?
Some years ago, the world went through a great change in the pattern of consumption. The production of packaging and disposable products using fossil fuels, such as plastic, has grown significantly.
Consequently, the production of waste has also grown. Currently, we are witnessing the effects of unbridled consumption of these products and their improper disposal, directly affecting our health and the environment.
Some of the materials used in our daily lives take hundreds of years to decompose in nature, such as plastic and glass. To minimize these effects, some changes were necessary, among them, the recycling of these residues.
Recycling is the process of reusing waste to produce a new product. This way, it serves as raw material, closing its manufacturing cycle. This procedure aims to reduce waste, although it is not the only measure for this.
Recycle, reuse and reduce, known as the 3 Rs, are complementary actions very important for the sustainability of society. The recycling process begins with the separation of garbage for selective collection, which is why popular participation is so important.
What is the importance of recycling?
Recycling is essential to maintain a sustainable society. Besides the reuse of waste as raw material for new products, which generates savings for companies, there are other benefits, such as:
- reduction in energy expenditure;
- reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG);
- preservation of raw material sources;
- reduction of spending on landfills;
- employment generation.
Studies by researchers at Frankilin Associates show, for example, that when recycled, the use of Polyethylene Terephthalate, a plastic used for the production of PET bottles, can halve GHG emissions compared to virgin plastic. This is a very important data, since these gases contribute to global warming, whose effects have quite negative consequences for the planet.
The practice of recycling also has an impact on the formation of future generations. It is important that children are educated and grow up in an environment where this is something common. Thus, it is necessary to invest in actions that promote a change of habits in society, through a cultural transformation and with an even greater environmental impact.
Another positive point is the creation of jobs and income generation, especially for the poorest population. The collection of recycled material can be done in several ways: by the city hall, by private companies or by cooperatives.
In Brazil, the garbage collectors cooperatives are responsible for 50% of the collection. Currently, there are around 800 thousand collectors, 30 thousand are organized in cooperatives and the rest works autonomously.
What materials can be recycled?
There are several types of materials that can be recycled:
- plastics, such as soda and juice bottles, toothbrushes, supermarket bags, shampoo jars, toys, tubes and pipes and cleaning product packaging;
- aluminum, such as beer cans, soda and canned food. Some cans are made of other materials, so it is important to check on the packaging if it is really recyclable;
- paper and cardboard that are not dirty and greasy;
In order that these products can be reused, it is important to take some care at the moment of separation. Plastics and glass should be washed to remove product remains. The metals can be kneaded to facilitate storage and transport.
Another interesting idea that is being adopted by some companies is the packaging return to the manufacturer. After consuming the product, you can deliver the empty packaging to accredited stores.
They will be forwarded to the factories and used in new products. As a form of incentive, some brands give discounts or new products to those who participate in this action.
In which cities is recycling done successfully?
In Brazil, recycling is not yet treated with the importance it should be. According to a study by Ipea, of all solid urban waste produced in Brazil, between 30% and 40% could be reused or recycled. However, only 13% of this total ends up being sent for recycling. Despite this, some Brazilian cities stand out in this issue, as is the case of the capitals Belo Horizonte and Curitiba.
In these cities there are incentive programs for recycling, with appropriate places for the disposal of materials, besides door to door collection. In the capital of Paraná, about 20% of the garbage produced is separated to be recycled.
In addition, there is collection at collection points of cooking oil and toxic garbage, such as batteries and medicines. These residues are not recyclable, but they cannot be disposed of in landfills either, as they contaminate the soil and water.
In the world, some countries are examples in this matter. Austria, Germany, Belgium and Holland are examples of countries that recycle more than 50% of the waste produced. This impacts directly on tourism and income generation in these places.
Have you seen how recycling can contribute to the development of the city, the reduction of pollution and the heating of the economy? Remember that you have a fundamental role for this process to occur.