Industrial wastes if left unattended to can cause a lot of damage. Recycling industrial waste products makes a great impact in the world. It helps preserve the natural environment for ourselves and our future generations. It is apparent that the more years go by, the more the need for better management of waste products. This is because as the wealth increases, people buy more products and create waste. When the population increases, it means there are more people to create more waste.
Lifestyle changes such as fast food and new packaging and technological products are developed, meaning more products are more biodegradable. There are regulations that are in place to demand that industrial companies are recycling their wastes rather than disposing them off and damaging the environment.
The practice of recycling is no recent phenomenon. There are claims of the practice dating back to Plato in 400 BC. At this time household wastes such as broken pottery and tools were recycled because resources were limited. They were thus reused when new material was unavailable.
Before the industrial period, scrap bronze and other metals were collected and melted for reuse. Dust and ash from coal and wood were recycled as a base for brick making. In these times, recycling offered and economic advantage.
Industrialization catapulted the need for affordable materials. This is why scrap metals were sought after more than virgin ore. The railroads from the 19th Century to the automobile industry of the 20th Century, there was a need for the utilization of scrap metal. Peddlers made a living collecting pots, pans, machinery and sources of metal from dumps, city street and even door to door. This especially became more rampant during World War I.
Recycling however became a highlight during World War II. This is because the lack of finances and materials made it necessary for countries to reuse goods and materials. The practice came to be viewed as an act of patriotism as it helped support war efforts. After the wars, the practice was maintained in some countries especially those that continued to lack resources such as Japan. In the 1970s, the costs for energy rose up and thus required investments in recycling. The practice is still carried on till today, as legislation and regulations in several countries that serve to ensure we do not leave a carbon footprint that will destroy the environment.
The best way to know whether recycling is effective is to compare it to other practices such as trash collection. There is a perception that recycling utilizes twice the amount of energy consumed. This is however not true. Recycling can be cost-effective because you can get $50-150 per ton. Trash collection and disposal on the other hand costs between $70 and $200 tones.
In the city of New York studies were carried out to determine the benefits of recycling. It was found that recycling glass and plastic was bringing a loss. It was thus noted that recycling industrial waste products cost twice as much as it would for disposing it off. New York shut down its last landfill and instead leased out the duty of disposing to an out-of-the –state of New York’s garbage. The result was that a recycling system was accepted as a viable economically for the city. As a result, New York returned the recycling policies, only this time they were better and safer.
One cannot therefore conclude that recycling costs way less than garbage disposal. It could cost less recycling if handled the right way and when the right policies and strategies are used.
Effects on Environment
Recycling is important because it can have a major impact on the natural environment.
There are chemicals and greenhouse gasses that are released from places such as garbage dumps, rubbish and landfill sites. Recycling the waste helps reduce pollution and the results of what is commonly known as the Greenhouse effect. The greenhouse gases are necessary as they maintain the earth’s average temperature. Without it, the earth be unable to sustain life. There are so many human activities that have contributed to a rise in temperature, and thus contribute to the greenhouse gases.
Deforestation leads to the destruction of the habitat and further enhances global warming. Companies can recycle paper rather than continue to buy new papers. Recycling reduces the need for any raw material, and thus the trees can be preserved. Also, when products are made from raw materials, high amounts of energy are used. Recycling therefore needs less energy and helps preserve and maintain natural resources.
As the years have gone by, recycling has grown better and better, and innovations have been used to enhance effectiveness and help preserve the environment. There are several patents for innovations being processed that are set to improve the recycling processes. Here are some examples:
i) Recycling Old Mattresses to form Cotton fibers: Old mattresses more often than not end up being dumped in the garbage after years of use. You can however recycle up to 80% of mattresses into new useful materials. The making of cotton fibers from old mattresses is a future innovation that could make a huge difference to the environment.
ii) Using Vapor Distillation to recycle rubber, tires and other organic material: In continents such as Africa, tires and rubbers are a landfill problem that is harming the environment. This invention will have a processing unit that recycles the material through a vacuum distillation process.
iii) Recycling Capture Diesel Soot: High carbon soot is not unusual when diesel gas is used, especially in developing countries. It however causes health such as respiratory complications and environmental problems such as unnaturally warm climates. This future invention will thus help convert the soot into a safer form.
Recycled Cardboard bicycle: People love to buy bicycles that are both durable and lightweight. They also want a bicycle that has effective speeds. For the longest time, bicycles have been made from metals and plastics that are hard to break down. However there are hopes of inventions where a bicycle is made from cardboard material that can be liquefied and dried again to form a new bicycle.
All in all, every company needs to ensure that they are reducing the impact industrial wastes have on the environment. Otherwise, it will mean not only destroying our own environment, it will also mean destroying ourselves, as we will barely survive once the environment has completely depreciated. There is thus a need for recycling industrial waste products.