What Are Some Reasons To Recycle?

What are some reasons to recycle? Saving our natural resources and saving room in the landfills are Gerry Acuna's top two reasons for recycling. "Obviously, there are numerous reasons to recycle," says Gerry...

"Obviously, there are numerous reasons to recycle," says Gerry Acuna, the president of Tri Recycling Inc., who has been involved in recycling for 12 years.

"The top two are the cost savings on the energy that is required to manufacture virgin material and the actual landfill space savings."

He stresses that nearly everything is ultimately recyclable.
"The only thing that can truly be considered trash would be perishable waste, which is nothing more than kitchen garbage. And some of that can be composted. Some cities have composting programs, which literally minimizes what is put in the landfills."

Acuna stresses the importance of recycling and its impact on the environment.

"The buzz word right now is diversion. How do we divert garbage from our landfills? Years ago we passed what is called subtitle de-legislation, which basically said that a landfill could not exist unless it met [more] stringent requirements than what they had in the past."

While that appeared to be a step in the right direction, unfortunately the act misfired and in some cases became counterproductive.

Acuna continues "This legislation came about in the late 80's or early 90's and what it did was cause a lot of the little landfills, small town landfills, to close because they could not afford to meet the stringent requirements."
As a result, "A lot of those landfills shut down and were forced to bring their garbage to the major city landfills who could afford to meet subtitle de-regulations," explains Acuna. "Now, when you shut down a lot of little landfills and you start bringing everything to one or two different landfills it generates a squeeze there."

In the short-term, that made things difficult, but because of the legislation new options were considered.
Acuna remembers, "It forced us back in the early 90s to reconsider what we do with our garbage, reconsider what is actually garbage. [We asked ourselves] 'What can we eliminate to minimize what is going into the landfill?'"
The experts concluded that several everyday items could be recycled in massive numbers to reduce overall waste.
Acuna says, "The obvious things are plastics, aluminum, glass, and paper, which includes cardboard, newspapers, magazines, plus your regular copier, computer, and notebook paper."

All of those items have very accessible programs currently available to consumers for recycling, but as a society, we still may not be reaching our reusing goals.
"There is a lot of innovation out there and I think that as technology improves and we come up with other ways to recycle we could achieve 75% diversion," says Acuna.

"In other words, 75% of what is in your trashcan today could be taken out."

Results like that would produce considerable space in our country's landfills and further preserve our national resources.

"Our goal here in Austin is zero waste," notes Acuna. "New York City also has a zero waste mandate or goal. Is that truly achievable? Probably not, but if you strive and aspire to reach that goal, you're probably going to come pretty close, say 90%. I would be happy with that."

© High Speed Ventures 2011