One way to teach your children to be responsible citizens is to teach them about recycling. Recycling turns old, used products such as empty cans and bottles into new items such as park benches. Less energy is used to make something out of recycled materials than to make something out of new materials, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Paper Use and Recycling
People in the United States use a lot of paper; however, many people recycle the paper they use, and over half the paper used is recycled. This means that in 2009, over 300 lbs of paper per person was collected for recycling. Recycling one ton of paper keeps 17 trees from being cut down.
About 4 million plastic bottles are used every hour in the United States, and most of the bottles end up in the dumpster or landfill. Recycling just 10 percent of all the plastic used keeps 200 million lbs out of the dumps. Imagine how much plastic could be kept out of landfills if nearly all of it ended up recycled.
Recycling your empty soda cans and aluminum foil reduces the need for new aluminum to be dug out of the earth. Recycling metal uses a lot less energy than making new metal. When you throw a can into the recycling bin, you save enough energy to watch an extra two hours of television or to use your home computer for three hours.
You can keep recycling glass over and over without it breaking down. If you recycle 5 lbs of glass, you save 5 lbs of the materials used to make it.
You Already Use Recycled Materials
Recycled materials are already present in a lot of things you use every day. For instance, most soda cans are made of recycled aluminum, and many glass jars and bottles contain at least some recycled glass. You may even find recycled materials where you’d least expect them. Plastic bottles can be recycled into park benches or into fabrics and other materials for clothing.
The Journey of a Soda Can
When you drink a can of soda or juice and put the empty can in the recycling bin, it can be recycled and turned into a new can, full of new soda, in just two months.
That’s A Lot of Planes
According to Oberlin, if the aluminum thrown away by Americans each month was recycled instead, it would be enough to rebuild the entire Air Force fleet. All the steel that ends up thrown away in the United States each year is enough to make every new American-built car.