Recycling is one of the most important strategies for minimizing the pressures of society on the environment It has become the major process going on in industries.
Recycling is an important economic activity that creates employment and attracts investments.
The term “recycling” has two dimensions-recovery and utilization. Recovery refers to the diversion and collection of waste materials from landfills, incinerators, or other disposal methods. Utilization of waste into new and useful materials and products.
The basic phases in recycling are the collection of waste materials, their processing or manufacture into new products, and the purchase of those products, which may then themselves be recycled.
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What is Recycling?
“Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into reusable objects to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, and energy usage. air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from land filling) by decreasing the need for “conventional” waste disposal and lowering greenhouse gas emissions compared to plastic production”.
Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” waste hierarchy.
Also, Recycling can be defined as –
Recycling is the process of breaking down and re-using materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash. With the help of recycling Natural resources can be saved, emissions can be decreased, and the burden of solid waste can be reduced.
And, Anything that can serve as the source to make other things is called recyclable materials.
The materials reased in recycling serve as substitutes for raw materials obtained from such increasingly scarce natural resources as petroleum, natural gas, coal, mineral ores, and trees.
Recycling of materials can help reduce the quantities of solid waste deposited in landfills, which have become increasingly expensive. Recycling also reduces the pollution of soil, water, and air, resulting from waste disposal.
Types of Recycling-
There is mainly two types of recycling and those are-
- Internal Recycling
- External Recycling
1. Internal Recycling-
Internal recycling is the reuse in a manufacturing process of materials that are waste products of that process. Internal recycling is common in the metals industry.
The manufacture of copper nabbing results in a certain amount of waste in the form of tube ends and trimmings; this material is remelted and recast.
Another form of internal recycling is seen in the distilling industry, in which, after the distillation, spent grain mash is dried and processed into an edible foodstuff for cattle.
2. External Recycling-
External recycling is the reclaiming of materials from a product that has been worn out or rendered obsolete.
An example of external recycling is the collection of old newspapers and magazines for reproduction and their manufacture into new paper products.
Aluminium cans and glass bottles are other examples of everyday objects that are externally recycled on a wide scale.
These materials can be collected by any of three main methods:
- Buy-back centres
- Drop-off centres
- Curbside collection
Buy-back centres, which purchase waste materials that have been sorted and brought in by consumers.
Brop-off centres, where consumers can deposit waste materials but are not paid for them.
Curbside collection, in which homes and businesses sort their waste materials and deposit them.
Process of Recycling-
Recycling is a dynamic process that restores the life cycle of a material. The iconic recycling symbol has 3 chasing arrows. Each arrow represents one step in the three-step process that completes the recycling loop.
The first step is the collection. Materials are taken from the curbside or drop-off center. The second step is the processing and marketing of recycled materials.
Materials are sorted and then sold. The third step is manufacturing. The recyclables are converted into new products and take on a new life as consumer goods.
The fourth step is consumer purchase of products made from recycled material.
Now we will discuss different steps of the recycling process which are one, the collection process; step two, the processing and marketing; and step three, manufacturing.
Let’s discuss these steps one by one-
Step 1: Collection and Processing-
The first step in any recycling system begins with separating recyclable materials from those that will be thrown away or reused.
How one separates and prepares materials depends on the local collection system and the market specifications. Recycling starts with people separating recyclable materials from other trash.
The separated recyclable materials are collected by recycling programs, processed, and then sold to manufacturers for use in new products.
There are several methods for collecting recyclables, including curbside collection, drop-off centers, and deposit or refund programs.
Common recyclables after collection, are sent to a recovery facility to be sorted, cleaned, and processed into materials that can be used in manufacturing.
Recyclables are bought and sold just like raw materials, and prices go up and down depending on the supply and demand of the material.
Step 2: Processing-
Once the items have been collected the next step is to find a secondary use of the material. Recycled material is used in many manufacturing processes and many companies have found very innovative uses for the materials.
Recycled materials are sold just as raw materials are sold. Using recycled material uses less energy and reduces the environmental impact of many products.
The recycling vehicle transports the recyclable to a material recovery facility and unloads everything onto the floor.
As the recyclables make their way on a series of conveyor belts, workers and mechanical systems separate the material by type.
The large piles of separated aluminium cans, and plastic bottles. paper and other materials go through a baler to become compact and transportable.
The recycler then sends the bales to an end user.
Step 3: Manufacturing-
End users, or manufacturers, use the material as feedstock to make new products. Materials like aluminium and plastic are melted down under very high temperatures and reformed into new cans.
bottles, and other products. Manufacturers recycle paper by mixing it with water to break it down into pulp that can be pressed into new sheets of paper.
The fourth and last step in the process is to purchase goods made from recycled materials.
Apart from this industrial recycling, all the leaves, food leftovers, waste, twigs, and other garden waste are decomposed by worms and other bacteria and are converted into fertilizers.
Example of Recyclable Materials-
There are several examples of recyclable materials, many of these are-
- Motor oil
- Steel products
- Trash bag
- Plastic water bottles
- Metal scrap
- Different kinds of paper
- Other small electronic equipment
- cellular phones
- Plastic product
⇒ Must Read: 10 Most Common Recyclable Materials and Their Uses
Advantages of Recycling-
There are three types of advantages or benefits of recycling and they are-
- Environmental Benefits
- Economic Benefits
- Social Benefits
1. Environmental Benefits-
- Recycling can prevent millions of tons of material from entering landfills saving space for garbage that cannot be re-purposed. Landfills not only pollute the environment but also hampers the beauty of the city.
- The pollutants that are released into the air and water can be greatly reduced with an increase in recycling. . It reduces the amount of energy used daily by minimizing the production of new materials.
- Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. It keeps the Earth looking beautiful since it reduces the overflow of garbage.
- In terms of energy, a single light bulb can be powered for up to four hours with the energy saved from one recycled glass bottle.
- Conserves the Earth’s natural resources like raw materials, minerals, trees, etc.
- Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from rubbish in landfill sites.
- Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste. Habitat destruction and global warming are some the affects caused by deforestation.
- Recycling reduces the need for raw materials so that the rainforests can be preserved.
2. Economical Benefits-
- Properly run recycling programs cost the government, taxpayers, and business owners less money than waste programs.Studies show that by continuing to increase positive recycling habits, the can create over one million jobs annually.
- People can even make money by collecting approved materials to a nearby recycling facility that will pay for the product
- Helps create jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries.
- Conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals • Increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials
- Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
- Saves energy: Huge amounts of energy are used in making products from raw materials Recycling requires much less energy and therefore helps to preserve natural resources.
3. Social Benefits-
- Recycling is essential to cities around the world and to the people living in them.
- No space for waste.
- Our landfill sites are filling up fast, almost all landfills become full in the coming decades. Hence recycling helps in overcoming this problem.
- Reduce financial expenditure in the economy. Making products from raw materials costs much more than if they were made from recycled products.
Challenges Faced in Recycling-
There are several reasons which influenced the recycling process and these are-
- Costs of Recycling
- Lack of Education and Awareness
- Inadequate Services
- Lack of Support
- Startup Costs
- Lack of Alternative Recycling Options
- Few Educational Resources
- Poorly Trained Employees
- Poor-Quality Recyclable
- Safety Challenges
1. Costs of Recycling-
A big challenge in upholding a successful recycling and waste strategy is the associated costs. Outfitting an entire building with new, consistent and effective recycling equipments can sometimes be expensive.
2. Lack of Education and Awareness-
A lack of education appears to be an issue, despite the progress that has been made thus far. Many people know that recycling is a good habit, but they are unsure of which items can be recycled.
3. Inadequate Services-
The services provided for the complete process of recycling are not adequate from the very first step of collection to manufacturing.
There are hurdles regarding separating the waste, transporting it safely etc, and finally manufacturing it into a new product it’s not an easy task.
4. Lack of Support-
In order for a recycling program to work, there needs to be cooperation from both legislators and residents who want to save the environment.
Understanding the short-term and long-term benefits alike can motivate towns and cities to establish recycling programs sooner and faster as per requirement.
It is essential for every recycling process to have a certain level of flexibility for all of the parties involved. Legislators have to see that they are saving money for the town or city over time.
So that it can be ensured that everyone has agreed to a solution that does not make them feel restrained in their own community.
6. Startup Costs-
It’s not always easy for towns and cities to always run with the idea of recycling, especially when they possess the initial costs.
Towns and cities that are willing to invest in the startup costs of recycling programs have to themselves for the cost and time incurred slowly.
7. Lack of Alternative Recycling Options-
In areas where curbside recycling is not an option, it is the duty of the residents to travel to facilities in their town or city where they can recycle their used products.
When this is the case, an entire community needs to come together in order to ensure that there are enough alternative recycling options in the area.
8. Few Educational Resources-
A lack of educational programs and resources for children can reduce awareness of problems, such as global warming.
It can be challenging to make recycling a foundation of a community, whether it’s a large city or a small town.
9. Poorly Trained Employees-
This is a common issue. Most recycling operations are affected sooner or later by poorly trained, under-motivated work staff.
The fact is, many of these people have never been properly trained, and don’t understand the expectations or even the basics of their job.
That’s why a reputable labour team supplier should always clearly explain job expectations and then actually manage workers.
10. Poor-Quality Recyclable-
Recyclable quality depends largely on geographic location. The quality in the country can vary greatly. Having knowledgeable on site operations managers and well trained employees will help, you maintain productivity even when the quality of recyclable is low.
11. Safety Challenges-
There are significant safety challenges facing the waste/recycling industry. They include chemical exposure, combustible dust explosions, machine guarding hazards, and exposure to powerful equipment with moving parts.
Industry leaders always offer a proactive safety approach which begins with an intensive safety compliance audit at every plant and extends to rigorous safety training for all employees to get safety levels up where they need to be.
Tips For Recycling-
In order to do fruitful recycling we need keep in mind some of the facts. Here are some tips to recycle more efficiently and effectively-
- “Make sure it’s clean”! One single dirty product can contaminate an entire bale. It can ultimately cause recyclable items to get redirected into a landfill.
- Flatten cardboard. This will save space in your bin and make room for more recycling. Set up designated recycling containers at home, work, and school.
- Look for products made out of recycled materials when you shop.
- Identify which types of plastic your building and neighborhood will accept
- Before you recycle, think about reducing your waste and re-using items in a new way. Local artists and schools might be able to use waste materials for their work and classes.
- Encourage others to recycle with you and make people more aware of the Benefits of recycling.
If industrialists all around the globe aim to make products that can be recycled later and recreate products from used materials, it will surely decrease problems like pollution and global warming.
The right disposal of materials should be checked for hassle-free Recycling. The economy will surely be supported and money would be saved.
So everybody should make sure that their products are recycled by some means because for our survival on earth, we have to protect our environment.
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Abhishek Tiwary is a blogger by passion and a Quality Engineer by profession. He completed his B.Tech degree in the year 2017. Now working in a reputed firm. He loves to share his knowledge with others.