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TYPES and EFFECTS of WASTE PACKAGING and RECYCLINGGianenzo SpagnuoloThe purpose of recycling is to reduce the need for new raw materials consumed. It is a broad term that defines the accumulation of various materials with the intention of using them to create new products. After processing, old materials that would otherwise be thrown away, are given a new lease on life. Virtually any product and material that we use today can be recycled. This reduces the amount of landfill waste and mitigates the environmental effects trash has on ecosystems and organisms living in them. Packaging from transporting and storing so many types of products comes in numerous forms. Plastic, paper, cardboard, glass, metals, fabrics, wood, and even the technology we use daily can all be recycled. Plastic: Plastic as we know it comes in many different forms; there are over 50 plastic groups. Annually 381 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated. Due to the massive amounts of natural resources being used to create this, recycling is vital. Recycling plastic not only reduces the number of raw materials used, but also reduces the amount of waste going into the environment; it is estimated that it takes 500 years for plastic to decompose. When plastic decomposes, it forms microplastics, and these tiny particles could pose health risks to humans and wildlife, specifically aquatic life. To mitigate the damage of plastic trash to wildlife and the environment, ensure you responsibly dispose of plastic trash. Paper and Cardboard: While paper and cardboard can break down into the soil with reduced impacts on the environment, recycling these materials reduces the need for trees to be turned into virgin pulp.
When a single tonneof paper or cardboard is responsibly recycled, 1.5 cubic meters worth of landfill space is saved, the amount of electricity saved is around 4000 kW/hours, and most importantly, 17 trees worth of lumber is saved. Recycling paper and cardboard into new fresh products saves electricity and is extremely easy; around 70% less energy is needed to turn lumber into a pulp and then back into paper or cardboard. Metal: All forms of metal can be recycled, and due to the high return rates of metals, they can be recycled many times over with little to little loss in weight. The impacts of metal waste on the environment are minimal, and they take many years to break down and are generally unsightly. Recycling these materials is an effective way of reducing landfill mass. E-Waste: Electronic waste is a rapidly expanding concern as each year, more and more households throw out old or damaged tech. The concern is that various types of materials are used in a piece of tech. Plastic, metals, glass, and toxic components such as batteries make recycling difficult but not impossible.
The massive tech company Apple and its mobile devices are created using recycled components from older models. Around 20% of the 2021 lineup of devices uses recycled materials; the company has invested in increasing these numbers each year. Glass: Glass is similar to metals in that when 100g of glass is recycled, 100g of glass can be created from the original 100g; with the same purity and quality. With the longest time to decompose, glass can quickly fill up landfills; however, the removal of it even years later allows it to still take first place as the most important for recycling. Recycling is essential for the planet as the population expands. Thankfully investing in this industry will be a benefit for years to come and not just in the short term.
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