We live in a world where it is so easy to get our hands on basically anything that we want at any time. Sometimes that means we forget, or we never knew to begin with, where things come from and just how much work and energy it takes to turn a raw material into an item that we use. While there are a lot of things that are made efficiently and sustainably in the United States, many of the things that we purchase every day come from all over the world. While it isn’t a bad thing that we buy goods from other countries, it can take a toll on the environment. In this blog and the next, we’re going to look at how much energy is required to put something on a shelf and how much energy could be saved if we all took the time to make a little effort.
Recycling helps cut out a lot of the energy costs that are associated with harvesting raw materials. Whether it’s the oil needed for plastics, trees needed for paper products, or metals needed for cans to car parts, the extraction of raw materials is not only costly in terms of the physical labor required to mine or log, but in terms of the amount of energy (usually supplied by fossil fuels) it takes to get to the materials.
Think about it this way: if a company that makes paper decides that it needs one tree to fill the orders it has, it might send one man out to the forest to cut down that tree. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? One man for one tree isn’t as simple as it sounds, though. That man will get in his truck with his chainsaw and drive to the forest where the tree he needs to cut down is located. He’ll cut it down then put it into his truck to take it back to the mill where it will be processed into paper.
Did you notice how many steps in that process required the consumption of energy? The drive to the forest required gasoline or diesel fuel, his chainsaw used gas, and so did the return trip. The milling will use energy, too. This example was made to be as simple as possible. In reality, most logging operations are dizzyingly complex and require dozens of different vehicles and people to harvest enough wood for the needs of manufacturers.
How Recycling Helps
Now imagine if, instead of requiring a new tree, the paper company had a huge, almost limitless supply of recycled paper that only needed to be milled in order to be sold again. Think about all of the energy saved by not needing a bunch of vehicles and chainsaws running. This is just one of the many advantages to recycling.
At GreneLefe Recyclers in Oceanside, we do most of the work of recycling for you. Call us to set up a recycling program for your business that doesn’t cost you a cent but will earn you money, as we feel it’s only right that you get a fair price for your recyclable materials. Home recyclers don’t despair; we’ve got you covered, too. Feel free to drop off your recyclables at our Oceanside recycling facility today!