7 Benefits of Recycling Explained

Benefits of recycling are; pollution prevention, energy conservation, job creation, public health improvement, carbon reduction, improved quality of life, and sustainable manufacturing.

This article discusses the benefits of recycling, as follows;


1). Pollution Prevention

By converting waste to useful materials, recycling prevents pollution and protects the environment.

When recycling is being practiced effectively, the amount of waste that is sent to landfills and other dump sites is reduced. This is otherwise referred to as ‘landfill diversion’ [2].

Less waste in the environment implies that there will be less open biodegradation. As a result, the problems associated with open biodegradation, such as greenhouse emission and air quality decline, will be mitigated.

Recycling can therefore be linked to other environment-friendly practices like soil restoration, water conservation, air conservation, and environmental remediation.

Waste materials that can be effectively managed through recycling include organic, inorganic, municipal, commercial and industrial waste.

Because recycling conserves natural resources, it mitigates resource exploitation through drilling, mining and deforestation among others.

This conserves minerals, oil and gas, raw materials and natural ecosystems like forests. It also reduces the risk of environmental degradation through soil and water contamination, climate change and global warming.

Lastly, recycling reduces pollution that could occur as a result of the implementation of alternative waste management or waste-to-energy practices like incineration, by replacing such practices as a versatile and sustainable option.


2). Energy Conservation

Recycling is a method of energy conservation, because it mitigates the occurrence of processes that waste energy.

Most manufacturing activities consume both non-renewable and renewable energy. These include extraction of raw materials, processing, and design of products.

Through recycling, the demand for newly-extracted resources, as well as newly-manufactured products, becomes less. In the same vein, the energy which is consumed by such demands is conserved [5].

For example, the recycling of plastics saves energy, both in the form of fossil fuels that are used as raw materials for manufacturing plastics, and energy that is required to convert these raw materials to the finished product.

Recycling plant-baser products like paper leads to conservation of forests, which are natural reserves of bioenergy.

In sustainable farming, recycling could save energy that is spent on fertilizer manufacturing, or food production. Rather than consume energy by demanding for synthetic fertilizer, agricultural waste can be recycled and converted to valuable organic fertilizer through composting [4].

Organic waste (biomass) can also be recycled through waste-to-energy processes like anaerobic digestion, and can be converted to useful energy in the form of biofuel.


3). Job Creation

Recycling is a supportive measure toward achieving economic sustainability.

The recycling industry is huge, as a result of the elaborate nature of the recycling process, and the scale of waste generation in most parts of the world. This implies that effective recycling programs will create job opportunities.

Globally, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created in the recycling industry. Such jobs involve waste collection, sorting, treatment and recovery of recycled materials.

Benefits of Recycling: Job Creation (Credit: Ignácio Costa 2006 .CC BY 3.0.)
Benefits of Recycling: Job Creation (Credit: Ignácio Costa 2006 .CC BY 3.0.)


4). Public Health Improvement

Recycling improves public health by improving the quality of the environment [1].

When waste materials are managed effectively through recycling, the rate of soil, water and air pollution reduces. At the sane time, pollution-related illnesses become less-prevalent.

At work, recycling limits the exposure of workers to hazardous waste materials that could be a threat to safety.


5). Carbon Reduction

Recycling reduces the carbon footprint of waste generation and management activities on Earth. This is as a result of multiple factors.

Atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane among other greenhouse gases, are reduced by recycling, through the mitigation of open decomposition of organic waste materials in landfills and other dump sites [3]. These organic materials are rather recycled and converted to useful energy and/or organic fertilizer.

Recycling also reduces atmospheric carbon by reducing the rate of mining and extraction, which are both carbon-emitting activities.

Lastly, recycling reduces the scale and demand for electricity generation, thereby conserving fossil fuels, reducing combustion rates, and mitigating carbon emissions.


6). Improvement of the Quality of Life

Recycling improves the quality of life by improving the environment and economy.

As a result of recycling, people are less-exposed to health risks associated with pollution.

Employment opportunities, circular economy, and sustainable farming practices are all linked to recycling. These factors can help address humanitarian problems like hunger, poverty and food insecurity.

Recycling also improves the quality of life by instilling sustainable habits and behaviors into the population. When recycling policies are in place, consumers will purchase the most relevant products with high quality, since these products cannot be discarded immediately.

Lastly, recycling improves quality of life by increasing the value of commerce and assets such as land.


7). Sustainable Manufacturing

Recycling facilitates sustainable manufacturing by conserving resources.

Through recycling, raw materials can be supplied from used products. This reduces the demand from resource extraction from their natural reserves, and therefore shortens and simplifies the manufacturing process.

Manufacturing becomes sustainable through recycling because finite resources can now be renewed and reused repeatedly.



Benefits of recycling are;

1. Pollution Prevention

2. Energy Conservation

3. Job Creation

4. Public Health Improvement

5. Carbon Reduction

6. Improvement of the Quality of Life

7. Sustainable Manufacturing



1). Chase, N. L.; Dominick, G. M.; Trepal, A.; Bailey, L. S.; Friedman, D. B. (2009). ‘“This Is Public Health: Recycling Counts!” Description of a Pilot Health Communications Campaign.’ International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 6(12):2980-91. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph6122980. (Accessed 9 September 2022).

2). Freedman, M. R.; Franklin, I. B. (2010). “Implementing a Solid Waste Management Diversion Program in a Conventional Cook–Serve Hospital System: A Feasibility Study.” Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition 5(3):370-379. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/19320248.2010.504109. (Accessed 9 September 2022).

3). Matthews, E.; Themelis, N. J. (2007). “Potential for Reducing Global Methane Emissions From Landfills, 2000-2030.” Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237292932_Potential_for_Reducing_Global_Methane_Emissions_From_Landfills_2000-2030. (Accessed 9 September 2022).

4). Shilev, S.; Naydenov, M.; Vancheva, V.; Aladjadjiyan, A. (2006). “Composting of Food and Agricultural Wastes.” Utilization of by-products and treatment of waste in food industry (pp.283-301). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-35766-9_15. (Accessed 9 September 2022).

5). Thormark, C. (2001). “Conservation of energy and natural resources by recycling building waste.” Resources Conservation and Recycling 33(2):113-130. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-3449(01)00078-7. (Accessed 9 September 2022).

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