Updated: Nov 4, 2021
Recycling can be a pain. You have to know your 1s from your 7s, you have to make sure they’re clean, and chances are you’re not looking forward to lugging another bin to the curb every couple of weeks.
So all that effort — is it worth it? Here are four reasons to feel better about adding another chore onto your heap of responsibilities.
It helps your local economy
Your recycled paper, bottles and cans may not look like much to you, but for an entire industry, it’s a commodity. Recycling in Indiana means more raw materials for our manufacturing sector — an opportunity that industry experts say only a few states enjoy.
Recycling is also considered a job creator. Getting trash to a landfill or incinerator is not labor intensive, especially when compared to all the jobs required to haul, sort, bale and process recycled materials. A 2013 report from the Indiana Recycling Coalition estimated that recycling creates 10 times as many jobs as sending waste to a landfill.
Economics of recycling: Indiana is throwing away an opportunity
It helps make sure we have resources for the future
Humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly over the past several decades than in any other time in history, according to findings from a report compiled for the United Nations. Resource extraction will continue to threaten air, land and water quality as the world’s population continues to grow.
Public officials and business leaders are beginning to realize that, in order to sustain modern society, we are going to have to reuse and recycle a lot more.
Consider aluminum as an example. It’s expensive to mine and easy to recycle. About 75 percent of all the aluminum that has ever been made into anything is still circulating in products today, which means your pop can has probably had a previous life.
Even materials that can’t be recycled indefinitely, such as plastic, have much longer lifespans as long as they’re recycled. That means less mining and drilling and more use for what we’ve already extracted.
“The good news is, there’s enough plastic, paper and metal out there, you can manufacture what you need from existing sources.” said Ron Gonen, co-founder of The Closed Loop Fund, which invests in recycling infrastructure.