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Recycling Services
Recycle Technologies has been delivering recycling services to the community since 1993. As a recycling and shredding company based in the Midwest, we operate licensed facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Notably, Recycle Technologies stands as the sole Minority-Owned document destruction and recycling enterprise in the Midwest region.

Recycling - Waste Stream or Source Material?

November 2, 2020
Recycling has become an essential service across the country and around the world. It seems like...

Recycling has become an essential service across the country and around the world. It seems like everything is recycled from aluminum cans to paper products, plastic bottles to plastic bags, e-waste to food waste. We do it because we know it’s good for our planet. We do it because it feels right. From a stewards-of-the-earth point of view and that could be enough. But what about from a supply-and-demand point of view? Do we view recycling as just another waste stream or source of material?

If I were to ask you where “recycling” falls in an item’s lifespan, where would you put it? For most of us, I bet we’d put it right at the end. It would just replace “toss it in the garbage” in the order of events. But I’m starting to think it’s time we put it where it belongs. I think it’s time we START with recycling.

How Do We View Recycling?

I recently read an article on resource-recycle.com from their October 2020 publication. The general topic was scrap paper and plastic markets and the forces that drive them. But one statement stood out to me. Stephanie Baker of KW Plastics said, in regards to the impact of COVID-19 on the recycling world, “I think it shifted the conversation from talking about recycling as part of the waste industry to talking about it as part of the manufacturing industry.”

She’s absolutely right. For decades we, as consumers, have been bombarded with marketing campaigns telling us that our food cartons are made from “recycled materials.” We hear about building materials made from recycled plastic bottles. We use wrapping paper made with “100% Recycled Paper.” We know recycling has an impact because we see it day in and day out. But have we ever put it at the top of the list? Have we ever started with recycling as the first step the timeline?

Why Recycling Matters

Using recycled materials improves the health of our planet because it keeps items out of landfills. However, once again that is only looking at the end result of a product. Products made with recycled materials are protecting the planet from the start. By reducing the amount of virgin resources being mined and processed at the beginning of the manufacturing process, recycled materials reduce greenhouse omissions, decrease deforestation and save ecosystems. Recycled materials are twice as beneficial because they reduce damage up front and eliminate damage at the end.

The benefits recycling has on the world are felt locally and internationally. Increases in local recycling can mean an increase in local manufacturing. It relieves some of the reliance on international relations and builds strong places where we live and work. Recycling creates jobs, improves economies and protects communities. It saves us money on transportation, keeps our air cleaner by reducing greenhouse emissions and other pollution and slows the growth of landfills and garbage dumps. It also reduces the amount of waste sent to foreign countries.

What Materials Matter?

We all think about plastic, paper and glass. Bottles, jugs, cartons and more are items we use every day made from those commonly recycled products. Because of how common they are we've been learning about them for decades. However, in this age of technology, e-waste and the components that go along with our digital world require more attention than ever. Devices, like computers and TVs, contain toxic materials that must be kept out of landfills. Electronics also use plastic components, metals, and minerals. All of which can be recycled or reused to make new devices. Electronic waste is a growing problem that requires a modern solution. We need to take electronics that have reached their end of life and reuse the base materials. E-waste recycling matters at the end of life and at the start of it.

Recycling isn’t just waste disposal. Recycling is waste prevention.

Image by ejaugsburg from Pixabay 

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