What can be recycled? Many of items that we use daily: plastics, glass, ceramics, paper, cardboard, aluminum, iron, electronic and electrical waste,and so on.
Paper is obtained from wood processing in factories with the help of numerous chemical agents. At the same time, old and large forests disappear and there is a great risk of river pollution.
In order to avoid damaging of the environment, it is possible to re-collect the paper that we no longer need and give it to recycling. Moreover, processing of waste paper uses up to 60% less energy than if the product is received from natural materials (wood). Also, the processing of already used paper utilizes 15% less water. Some data show that with recycling of one ton of office paper we save 17 trees, save 4200 kW (kilowatts) of electricity and 32,000 gallons of water. In addition, it is possible to recycle all types of newspapers, paper bags or all packaging made of paper. If we recycle paper, many forests, rivers, lakes as well as many other living beings are saved.
Plastic is a material which is obtained from petroleum. This oil is a type of ore that can be found inside the Earth. It is created by the decomposition of plants and animals during millions of years. Through exploitation of oil and its processing into plastic, a fragment of the history of our planet disappears.
If the current rate of oil consumption is continued, it is estimated that oil resources will be exhausted for 35 years. The another problem with plastic is that it does not decay in the land, but it is permanently kept in the environment. A possible way of destroying can be burning, however, in that case the level of air pollution is increased.
Therefore, it is preferable to avoid the purchase and use of plastic bags and bottles. Recently, a special, new kind of plastic has appeared that is recyclable. Such a plastic has a sign of recycling on it and they need to be collected and recycled.
Metal (copper, iron, aluminium)
There are many items that are made of metal: can of drinks, deodorant bottles, cars, buses, trains, airplanes, refrigerators, stoves, boxes of cream and the like. Certainly, metals are received by the appropriate processing of ores. The process starts by mining ore, which destroys or impairs integral landscapes ( hills, mountains, meadows…). Then, the mine is rinsed in water and thus the water becomes polluted.
The process of smelting uses enormous amount of energy and harmful combustion gases are released into the atmosphere. At the end of this procedure, the obtained metal is then used for different purposes. It is necessary to dig up four tons of bauxite ore and consume 13,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity for just one ton of aluminum. During process of obtaining aluminum from the mentioned ore, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen fluoride are released into the atmosphere. In some developed countries, the used, old cars are given to recycling. Also, electrical appliances are recyclable.
Glass is a material that we use in everyday life through different products: bottles, jars, cups, mirrors, windows.. Glass may be in various colors that are added to it (at the stage of production). It is made during the process of melting sand with the addition of some other substances at very high temperatures. This process waste a lot of energy, and large amounts of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere.
If we recycle glass, rivers and air will be less polluted and energy consumption will be reduced.
The recycling of just one bottle can save enough energy to light a bulb of 100W (watts) for four full hours. The advantage of glass is also that it can be ceaselessly recycled.
Our personal contribution could be in the collection of glass containers and unnecessary packaging made of glass that can be recycled or reused.
Electronic and electrical waste
Electronic & Electrical (EE) waste belongs into the category of hazardous waste. It includes all sorts of devices that are classified in 10 categories, from small or large household appliances, IT equipment, through the lighting equipment, fluorescent tubes, electronic toys to medical devices.
Many EE products consist of chemical substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, beryllium and others. If they are inadequately thrown away or disposed of in municipal landfills, through the evaporation into the air cause long-term environmental degradation and also may affect the liver, kidney, brain or cause cancer.
The recycling of electronic waste is very complicated because there are a lot of different materials on a relatively small area. Thus, those devices should be disassembled into smaller parts:
From the angle of re-utilization, materials are:
Recyclable, ie. that can be used again by returning to the manufacturing process. These include plastics and plastic parts, metal, cables, etc..
Non-recyclable, ie. that can not be returned to the producing process.
Almost 70% to 80% of the components of a computer can be recyclable. The recyclable plastic parts is represented with about 4%, and metal parts with about 96% by mass. The mass proportion of recyclable components in a CRT display is about 30%, while the ratio of plastic and metal in this part is 50-50.
So, why should we recycle? At first, we have to save our planet from destroying and do not allow more and more waste on landfills. Secondly, manufacturing of items and products require large amounts of energy, which is usually acquired from non-renewable energy resources. We can also save our many trough recycling and more importantly, we can work for future generations leaving them a healthy and acceptable place for living, the planet Earth.