CEE Green Team-Civil and Environmental Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

We are an environmental college. 
Let’s act like one together. 

Cutting back on global warming, preventing air and water pollution and saving our energy resources, are the reasons why we should recycle and compost. Currently, CMU is recycling at a 26% rate and generates approximately 3000 tons of waste annually. As a community we can work together to further reduce the amount of waste that ends up in area landfills. 

Why We Should Recycle

Here are some reasons that make it clear why it is important:

To Reduce Global Warming
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that is a major contributor to global warming. Manufacturing certain products releases a lot more carbon dioxide than recycling them would. Aluminum is the best example of this. Manufacturing new aluminum goods produces 95% more carbon dioxide than recycling old aluminum objects. For each ton of paper that is recycled, 15 trees are saved from being felled! We are aware of the fact that trees use up carbon dioxide from atmosphere to make food through the process of photosynthesis. It is estimated that one tree absorbs almost 250 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. Here are some more points that would explain why recycling is encouraged these days.

To Prevent Air Pollution
We are already aware of the amount of gaseous waste that industries spew out everyday. Factories and industries manufacturing items made from plastic and metals release large amounts of toxic gases. With continuous increase in population, demand for these goods also keep rising. If we do not recycle these objects then we have to set up new industries to manufacture these goods. This means more air pollution.

To Solve the Problem of Scarcity of Landfills
Lot of our garbage is disposed off in landfills. But the rate at which we are producing trash, is overwhelming. We are already running out of areas that could be used as landfills and soon there might not be any left either. This crisis is severe in the cities and suburbs. There, the problem is so pressing that landfills are slowly creeping closer to crowded human settlements. This is making human beings vulnerable to diseases.

To Prevent Water Pollution
This problem is related in part to landfills. The waste that is disposed in landfills is not treated. Contaminants from the products in the landfills seep down to lower levels of the soil where they reach groundwater and pollute it. Other than polluting groundwater, scarcity of landfills and the overwhelming amount of waste that we produce has not left us with any choice but to dump waste in seas and oceans. The devastating effect of release of industrial waste in these water bodies coupled with civic waste that are being dumped in the seas and oceans, on marine ecology, is well-known to us. Environmental preservation is one of the most important benefits of recycling.

To Save Energy
Another reason why you should recycle is that it saves energy. Recycling most of the products that we use involves much lesser amount of energy than making them anew. For example, recycling paper saves almost 65% energy than making new sheets of paper. If instead of making new products, one pound of steel is recycled then it saves enough energy to light a 60 watt bulb for 24 hours straight!

Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/why-should-we-recycle.html

  • In 2009, Americans produced enough trash to circle the Earth 24 times.
  • We generate 21.5 million tons of food waste each year. If we composted that food, it would reduce the same amount of greenhouse gas as taking 2 million cars off the road.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to listen to a full album on your iPod. Recycling 100 cans could light your bedroom for two whole weeks.
  • Americans throw away 25,000,000 plastic bottles every hour.

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