Recycling protects our planet. Taking a few extra steps with your waste every day could keep tons of trash from sitting in landfills. It’s essential to care for the environment since we rely on it for everything, from the air we breathe to the food we eat. Properly disposing of our recyclables helps our planet and our health. The multiple physical and mental health benefits of recycling are staggering and difficult to ignore.
1. Cleaner Air
Even the air we breathe is affected by recycling efforts. Less waste in landfills reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality. Reducing those pollutants is vital since they can increase your chances of respiratory complications and irritation in the eyes, nose and throat.
Recycling even reduces greenhouse gases by lowering the amount of fossil fuels needed to create products. Mining and refining new materials require more energy than recycling old ones. Recycling and buying recycled items can improve the air you breathe and keep you from developing respiratory problems.
2. Less Disease Spread
Heaping waste piles draw in pests like mice and flies, which are natural disease carriers. Living in areas near a landfill or dump can make you more likely to contract illnesses transported by these critters.
For example, flies can carry things like H. pylori, which causes peptic ulcers in humans and other, more severe illnesses. Studies of the house fly turned up 130 different pathogens, including some life-threatening bacteria.
Every time you choose to recycle, you prevent further backlogging in landfills. Pests end up with less waste drawing them in, so the spread of these contagions isn’t as noticeable.
3. Lowered Risk Of Birth Defects
Recycling keeps food waste, e-waste, plastics and much more from overwhelming landfills, helping to reduce the negative impact on our environment. Just living near a landfill can severely harm unborn babies.
Infants exposed to the chemicals from burn-off and decomposition are more likely to be born prematurely and at a lower birth weight. They also have increased chances of congenital disabilities, especially with prolonged exposure. Keeping more recyclables out of landfills helps stop the issue at the cause.
4. Increased Access To Nutritious Food
Food waste dumped in landfills is a significant contributor to global food scarcity. It generates massive amounts of greenhouse gases as it decomposes, which spurs further climate change. Extreme heat and weather events resulting from climate change destroy essential crops.
When you recycle your food waste by composting, you reduce the number of harmful chemicals entering landfills. Using or selling your compost also helps improve the nutritional value of future crops.
5. Lower Chance Of Certain Health Conditions
The garbage you throw out typically ends in one of two scenarios — rotting in a landfill or burning in an incinerator. Neither of these outcomes is good for the environment or your health. The greenhouse gases and runoff from landfills pollute the air you breathe, the water you drink and the soil that grows your food.
Also, the fumes from incinerated garbage are known to be carcinogenic, raising the likelihood of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and various other cancers.
6. Improved Mental Health
The health benefits of recycling go far beyond just the physical. Giving back to the community and the planet has far-reaching mental health effects, as well. As you adjust how you handle waste, you’ll feel like you’re part of something bigger. Knowing your contribution can help combat climate change is a powerful feeling and quite a mood booster.
One Small Change — A Big Difference
So often, people hold off from recycling because they think it will be difficult or a waste of time. You may feel like your small habits couldn’t possibly make a difference in the grand scheme of things. However, if everyone thinks that way, nothing will ever happen.
Change needs to occur at the individual level. You start recycling and get your neighbor involved. They encourage someone else in their life, and before you know it, those little habits spread and make a big difference.