Smart business owners know that anything that gets thrown away or characterized as “waste” is just that—a waste of resources, energy, and, ultimately, money. If you’re going to spend hard earned time and money on buying something, you want to maximize it’s value. Everyone knows that recycling is supposed to be good for the environment, but do you know why? And did you know that it can also be good for your bottom line?
Recycling Saves Energy
You’re probably well aware that the carbon pollution produced by fossil fuels is a major contributor to climate change. Any time you can reduce the amount of fossil fuels being burned to produce energy, you’re doing something great for the planet. Making a product from recycled materials instead of raw materials generally takes far less energy. For example, using recycled aluminum to make aluminum cans requires 95% less energy than making those cans out of raw material. On a large enough scale, recycling can even help maximize your profits—firms like Cozzi Recycling purchase scrap aluminum and other metals and sell it to other firms and industries that can use it, instead of these valuable materials simply going to waste.
Recycling Saves Water
Just like recycling saves energy, it can save a ton of water as well. It’s estimated that recycling one ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water.
Recycling Keeps Waste out of Landfills
Every bit of “waste” that’s recycled instead of being thrown into a landfill means less space being taken up simply to deal with garbage. When it was under pressure to reduce waste, McDonald’s partnered with Environmental Defense Fund and was able to find ways to eliminate 300 million pounds of packaging. As a result, the company also saves an estimated $6 million each year.
Recycling Prevents Pollution and Preserves Wildlife Habitat
In addition to reducing the amount of carbon pollution from using energy, recycling reduces pollution from chemicals that may be used during mining and extraction operations. If industries can use recycled materials instead of raw materials from forests and mines, this reduces the harmful impacts and habitat destruction that can result from extracting virgin resources.
Recycling Can Save (or Make) You Money!
While it may not be what you traditionally think of as “recycling,” selling or donating used items can help you earn money, or at least receive a tax donation. The Environmental Protection Agency has a helpful list of resources and ideas.
Lizzie Weakley, the author of this post, is a freelance writer.