Is It Really Worth It to Recycle?


There’s a really great article over at Body and Soul Magazine’s site about recycling and why it really does matter. It’s ideal fodder for when you find yourself arguing with someone who claims that recycling is pointless, and impetus to talk to your wayward neighbor about using their recycling bin (doesn’t it drive you crazy when you see, week after week, some families just not recycling at all?)

Ever wonder if recycling is worth the effort? After all, in the face of melting ice caps and epic hurricanes, it’s hard to see how a few less cans in the landfill will amount to environmental salvation. In fact, we’re recycling more now than ever before, and yet problems like shrinking forests, dwindling oil reserves, and climate change persist. Can the simple act of tossing a bottle in a blue bin really add up to anything significant for the planet?

We turned to environmentalists and experts on the inside tracks of recycling and waste-and crunched a lot of numbers-to find out. Bottom line: Recycling has everything to do with climate protection. The process reduces heat-trapping emissions at every stage-and there’s no better time than the present to step up the effort. For many of us, recycling is an event that ends at the curb. But as you’ll find out, that’s just the beginning.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.