Recycling plays an ever more important role in our society. The primary benefits of recycling are well understood by us all.
The reduced pressures on the environment contribute to a cleaner future for our children. Keeping children informed about the benefits and practices of recycling ensures that they not only grow up to develop better recycling habits but that they also pass them on to their own children and so produce a cleaner environment for future generations to come. While these sound like grand ideas there are many simple, practical solutions to advance the cause of recycling amongst young people such as the implementation of school recycling bins.
Bright, clearly coloured and marked school recycling bins provide a means for students to engage in the physical practice of recycling on a daily basis that integrates fully with their normal life. Not only can children become familiar with the normal practice of separating recyclables but the practice can also help to develop their understanding of the broader role that recycling plays in the function of society. When schoolchildren are being taught about the recycling process, being part of that process makes it easier to understand how it works. They can see how drinks cans from their lunch that they put into the recycling bins can then be taken and reprocessed to make raw aluminium saving the expense involved in mining the bauxite ore from which new aluminium is produced. By recycling these cans it limits the amount of mining that needs to occur. As mining can potentially be quite destructive to the environment any activity that reduces the amount of mining that needs to be carried out is obviously beneficial.
Beyond the reduction in mining it also limits the volume of waste that goes into landfills. Landfills, like mines result in the destruction of natural environments and can leak pollutants into the surrounding area. School recycling bins can also help students to appreciate the economic benefits of recycling.
The small amount of energy required to separate rubbish into different recyclables and non recyclables can result in much greater energy savings that in turn contribute to improved efficiencies in the transfer of goods which is of great economic benefit. Instead of transferring waste materials such as plastics to a landfill where they will sit, potentially for centuries providing no utility or worse, burned in an incinerator without the hope of ever providing utility and further polluting the atmosphere, waste materials can be returned to the supply chain alongside newly manufactured products. This has the effect of reducing the cost of plastics for the consumer. Further to this, the relatively inefficient process of refining crude oil to produce the polymers from which most plastics are made becomes less profitable. If the refinement process goes below a certain threshold of profitability more sustainable alternatives to plastic become commercially viable.
With recycling bins in schools, students can come to understand how seemingly small acts like recycling in their school accumulate to have large scale consequences such as affecting commerce and the product supply