By recycling a commodity, such as newspaper, magazines or cardboard, we are reducing the number of trees cut down to produce that paper. By recycling products made from plastic, such as water bottles, we reduce the use of oil. By recycling metal containers, such as aluminum cans, we reduce the need for those metals. While materials such as trees, when managed responsibly, can be replaced, materials such as oil are finite, which means that once they are used up, they are gone forever.
Energy saved by recycling a single aluminum can would power a television for a full three hours. Recycling a single plastic bottle can save enough energy to power a 60 watt light bulb for six hours. Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to power a 100 watt light bulb for four hours. Recycling steel uses only a quarter of the energy that would be needed to make new steel.
By using waste reduction techniques such as recycling, we can reduce the amount of waste being sent to the landfill and extend the life of the landfill dramatically. In Alachua County, the Southwest Landfill was able to stay open four extra years due to the recycling efforts of County citizens. Keeping landfills open longer saves taxpayers’ money. Locating, permitting, building and operating new landfills are very expensive. New landfills also require a great deal of land which in many cases requires them being located closer to communities than the residents would like.
Alachua County and the City of Gainesville operate on a volume-based waste collection service, the less garbage you produce, the less you pay. So, reducing your waste stream and recycling as much as possible can save you money.