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Rock Street, San Francisco

Recycling is such an important environmental issue, and yet it seems as though there isn’t much done about it as a community. If you ask a random person on the street what they think about recycling, nine times out of ten they’ll smirk and tell you it’s good for the environment. But, really, they don’t understand the significance of recycling. Recycling is plainly returning an item back to its original condition so that it can be reused. Recycling is so important to the welfare of our community that California passed a law that required all of its counties and cities to cut the amount of waste going to their landfills in half.

Although, few know that recycling waste products conserves water, energy, trees, and helps reduce pollution in our drinking water and air. Possibly a more important reason to recycle is because it will reduce pollution risks in our society. Perhaps the most obvious way it will be able to do this is by keeping waste out of landfills, which can introduce contaminants and other toxins into groundwater systems. Recycling also keeps materials out of incinerators, which can pollute the air and create severe ash residue.

Furthermore, recycling lowers environmental damage caused by logging, mining, as well as other methods that facilitate the procreation of raw materials. Most importantly, recycling prevents the emissions of many greenhouse gasses and water pollutants. Perhaps the most appealing reason to recycle is because of its ability to create a myriad of jobs. Recycling creates eight times the amount of jobs incinerator and landfill companies generate. Reuse, recycling, and waste reduction offer direct development opportunities for communities. It saves money. For most folks, recycling is free and/or cheaper than hauling away landfill garbage. Many communities either have or are running out of landfill space. Once the existing landfill space is used up, either a new landfill must be built (typically expensive and paid for through increased taxes), or the garbage must be hauled off to a different area to be dumped (expensive and paid for through increased garbage rates). And, ever en so there will come a time that there will be no nice alternatives.

Recycling has the potential for reducing the use of raw resources which we are running out of and/or are too expensive to mine. This is what is fueling metal recycling. It can also prevent us from threatening to run out of resources that we are using at an unsustainable rate. And, it can help prevent the conversion of land, and the habitats that stand on that land, into wood or agriculture production. Recycling also has the potential to capture, fully use, or re-use substances that would be potential contaminates within a landfill.

Batteries, mercury filled thermometers, CFL light bulbs, electronics, refrigerators, automobile fluids, many scales and pieces of medical equipment with small bits of internal radio activity, chemicals used and generated in manufacturing, and so many other things are examples. For many individuals, companies, and communities re-using, re-purposing, and re-manufacturing materials on-site or within the region results in savings and/or products that return value to and/or within the community.

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