Garbage or trash is everyday items that we use, then throw away. These include items such as packaging, newspapers, food craps, furniture, plastic bags, batteries, and all other things that we no longer need. As the population grows, the volume of garbage also grows. In its report, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that in 2012, Americans generated about 251 million tons of trash; recycled and composted almost 87 million tons of garbage, or nearly a 35% recycling rate. But the volume of garbage is rising and this can harm the environment and put our health at risk.

The EPA recommends several practices to reduce the amount of garbage and properly dispose of it. One is source reduction or waste prevention, which involves designing produces to reduce the amount of waste that will be thrown away, and also to make the resulting waste less toxic. This is being adopted by some companies who try to come up with product packaging that’s less toxic, re-usable or made of materials that are biodegradable.

The EPA also recommends composting, which involves collecting organic waste such as food scraps, dried plants and garden trimmings, then storing these until they become compost which can be used as fertilizer.

But another effective method is recycling, which is the recovery of useful materials such as paper, glass, plastic, and metals from trash to make new products. Recycling and composting prevented 86.6 million tons of material from being disposed of in 2012, according to EPA.

• Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators;
• Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals;
• Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials;
• Saves energy;
• Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change;
• Helps sustain the environment for future generations;
• Helps create new well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States.
Source: EPA

Recycling reduces the greenhouse gases emission which contributes to global warming. Global warming can impact our health, forests, wildlife and coastal areas. It can affect even our sources of food. With recycling, the release of carbon dioxide into the air is reduced. The EPA estimated that recycling helped prevent the release of 168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air in 2012, which is like taking 33 million cars off the road for a year – a great way to reduce pollution.

An effective recycling system is definitely a big factor in making sure that we get all the benefits from this environment-friendly method.