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What is recycling and why is it important to recycle?

Recycling is an important practice that contributes to the protection of the environment and the sustainability of the planet.

Recycling is the process of collecting and transforming materials into new products that would be otherwise discarded as waste.

Why is recycling important? The Global Recycling Foundation points out multiple advantages, although they can be summarized in that it conserves natural resources and reduces the overexploitation of raw materials, thus protecting habitats. It also helps to save energy, since recycled products dispense with several essential steps in the manufacturing process. In other words, it takes much more energy to extract, refine, transport and process raw materials than to process already available recycled materials.

According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, "it takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than to manufacture it from raw materials, while using steel scrap instead of virgin ore to make new steel requires 40% less water and generates 97% less mining waste." "Recycled steel saves 60% energy in production; recycled newspapers, 40%; recycled plastics, 70%; and recycled glass, 40%."

Thus, reducing the exploitation of mines, quarries and forests, avoiding processes such as refining and the industrial transformation of these raw materials, together with the consequent energy savings, contributes significantly to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide (CO2, the main cause of global warming), in addition to air, soil and water pollution. To give you an idea: the 18 million tons of CO2 saved each year in the United Kingdom thanks to recycled materials is equivalent to taking five million cars off the road.



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