Why is it important to recycle?

Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. Collecting used bottles, cans, and newspapers and taking them to the curb or to a collection facility is the first step in recycling. Recyclables are sent to a materials recovery facility to be sorted and turned into other items for manufacturing. Recyclables are bought and sold just like any other product. Besides reducing greenhouse gases by sending less garbage to the landfill, recycling helps you actively contribute the environment and your community. You can help the environment if you buy recyclable products instead of nonrecyclable ones. Look for the recycle mark—three arrows that make a circle—on the package. Recyclable products are usually made out of things that already have been used. It usually takes less energy to make recycled products than to make new ones. In addition, many consumer products—like computers, TVs, stereos, and VCRs—have special labels on them. The label says “Energy” and has a picture of a star. Products with the ENERGY STAR® label are made to save energy and ultimately help protect the environment. And, if you have the yard space, you can practice composting by using microorganisms (mainly bacteria and fungi) to decompose organic waste, such as food scraps and yard trimmings.

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