You probably recognize the recycling symbol but few of us know what those arrows represent. Some think that the arrows represent the key words of waste reduction – reduce, reuse, and recycling.
However, what they represent are the three necessary steps in recycling:
- Separation and Collection It’s no longer enough to separate your recyclables and put them into a recycling bin. The separated materials are collected, cleaned, and sorted for reuse.
- Manufacturing Manufacturers are needed to make products from these recycled items (bottles, can, glass, paper, etc.) for commercial or retail sale.
- Buying Recycling Products Consumers need to purchase these products in order to close the loop and make the recycling program work.
Each component of the recycling system is dependent upon the other two. That means if you don’t separate the items into a recycling bin they can’t be collected, if items aren’t collected there will be nothing to make new products from, and if new products aren’t manufactured you are not buying products made from recycled material. Bottom line then is you aren’t really recycling.
Recycling conserves resources, saves energy, reduces air and water pollution, and helps create jobs.