Global warming, climate change, and recycling have become highly politicized. It can be easy to become disheartened by your recycling efforts, thinking they don’t help or create lasting change. These environmentalists discuss if individual recycling efforts can affect the big picture.
Three Ways Individual Recycling Has an Impact
Yes, it does. For a couple of reasons.
1. It is an action that triggers behavior changes for the individual. This means there is a rewarding feeling from the single act of recycling that will lead to more sustainable actions
2. It sends a signal to your friends, and family, as well as businesses that you interact with, that they should care about recycling. Which will trigger more recycling.
3. Waste handling businesses will work harder to recycle more if recycling bins are used correctly. Proper recycled materials are an economically beneficial resource they can sell and turn a profit on, which incentivizes them to make recycling easier and more available.
Recycling Activates a Chain Reaction
When one family starts recycling, it significantly reduces its footprint and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere and environment. Of course, a single-family doesn’t make any difference to the planet, but it encourages other households to start recycling too. This activates a chain reaction that grows exponentially and involves more and more people in recycling. As a result, the continuous growth of the sustainable household network will lead to significant global improvements. It’s hard to measure the impact while it’s not mainstream.
Individual Recycling Efforts Affect the Big Picture
Even without measuring the efforts of recycling, acts of environmental consciousness and ecological preservation are acts of hope. Hope is a fundamental component of the human experience.
Furthermore, it’s a mistake to atomize individuals or families apart from the collective effort. Recycling to diminish man-made pollution is a necessarily replicable and collective behavior. Measuring the individual scale of recycling can be useful, but small statistics should not deter the inherent optimism that recycling inspires.
Recycling Always Make an Impact
We have to understand, accept, and remember at all times that every action makes a difference and can affect the big picture. Think of it this way — every bottle that is recycled is one less bottle in the ocean, and every electronic device that is disposed of responsibly is one less device harming the environment. Adopting a recycling habit, even when it seems inconsequential, makes an impact. And this is why one should always put in the effort to recycle and encourage others to do the same.
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