Eco-Living Magazine

Saving Energy: The Benefits of Recycling Plastics, Aluminum, and Glass

Posted on the 09 November 2011 by T_mackinnon @tedmackinnon

recycleBins 300x225 Saving Energy: The Benefits of Recycling Plastics, Aluminum, and GlassRecycling accomplishes much more than just keeping valuable resources from ending up in our landfills. It also helps to reduce our overall environmental impact. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that most of what is in our waste stream is completely recyclable.

Unfortunately, an average American tosses out nearly 1,200 pounds of garbage every year. The EPA also reports that, aside from the benefit of saving space in landfills, recycling plastic containers, aluminum, and glass will save large amounts of energy in comparison to the energy used to create new products.

Plastic

Most cities and towns throughout the United States have a recycling program in place, and the plastic most commonly recycled is PET, polyethylene terephthalate. Used primarily in drinking containers, PET can be recycled into things like jackets, carpeting, and garage door insulation. It takes 10 times more energy to create new plastics from raw material as it does to recycle it. The chemical structure is often altered during recycling, which means that many plastics can end up being an entirely different type of product after recycling.

Aluminum

The recycling of aluminum is highly efficient, as manufacturers will melt and reuse aluminum over and over again, with little to no quality loss. The Aluminum Association estimates that manufacturing an aluminum container entirely from recycled materials uses only five percent of the energy that is used to create a new can from bauxite ore.  The EPA estimates that recycling 2,000 pounds of aluminum will save the equivalent to 33 barrels of crude oil. This can significantly reduce the carbon footprint left by the aluminum manufacturing process.

Glass

Most recycled glass ends up as new glass containers, jars, and bottles. Recycling glass involves crushing wasted glass into pellets that are known as cullet. New containers are manufactured by using nearly 70 percent cullet, mixed with raw material to achieve a specified quality and color. The GPI (Glass Packaging Institute) states that every 10 percent worth of cullet added to the mix reduces required energy to make fresh containers by three percent or more. Utilizing less energy allows manufacturing equipment to last much longer, such as a furnace.

Other Benefits

There are many other important considerations besides the obvious energy savings, as the consumption of our natural resources, as well as the inherent environmental impact, cannot be ignored. Recycling aluminum partially eliminates the need to mine bauxite ore to match the demand, lessening the environmental harm that is caused by mining.

Plastic can’t be repeatedly recycled as well as aluminum, but discovering uses for recycled plastics can conserve petroleum, a resource that is nonrenewable. The production of glass uses quartz sand and other raw materials, but using recycled glass for manufacturing lessens carbon emissions.

Join in the discussion in the comments below and/or share the piece.

Photo credit: 

cc icon attribution small Saving Energy: The Benefits of Recycling Plastics, Aluminum, and Glass
cc icon noncomm small Saving Energy: The Benefits of Recycling Plastics, Aluminum, and Glass
cc icon noderivs small Saving Energy: The Benefits of Recycling Plastics, Aluminum, and Glass
 Some rights reserved by imeleven


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Airbus A330-200, Thomas Cook Airlines

    Airbus A330-200, Thomas Cook Airlines

    @ San Francisco International Airport, CA October 2018 Starting in May 2017, Thomas Cook began operating two flights per week between SFO and Manchester, UK... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Htam
    PHOTOGRAPHY, SOCIETY
  • Caroling Party

    Caroling Party

    Last night we hosted our fourth annual caroling party. I'm not a big Christmas gift-giving person, so our gift to everyone is doughnuts, hot chocolate, hot... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Sherwoods
    FAMILY, PARENTING
  • Struggling to Afford Insulin

    Struggling Afford Insulin

    People who need insulin for their type 1 or type 2 diabetes are skimping on the shots because the drug has become so expensive. A study this week in the... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • 8 Guiding Principles For Pursuing A Winning Venture

    Guiding Principles Pursuing Winning Venture

    Every entrepreneur has an idea for transforming a market with innovative new technology, or transforming society with a new process. Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Martin Zwilling
    BUSINESS, CAREER
  • Nutrition and Your Doctor

    Nutrition Your Doctor

    There are certain things that doctors are great at. How to prescribe medications? Yes. How to do surgery? Yes. Nutrition and weight loss? No, definitely not. Yo... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • Sunday 9th December: Annie Chinery

    Sunday December: Annie Chinery

    I'd like to begin this blogpost by saying that I do love my mother-in-law very much. My own mother died shortly before my marriage, and Ma Walker did exactly th... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Kirsty Stonell Walker
    CULTURE
  • Indoor Air Pollution: Are You Protected?

    Most of us think of big cities and smog clouds when contemplating air pollution. However, indoor air pollution can be just as prevalent and dangerous, if not... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Meet Rv