Benefits of Recycling


  • Prevents waste from going into the environment, rivers and ocean
  • Prevents waste from going to landfills and incinerators
  • Reduces the use of fossil fuel energy 
  • Reduces CO2 emissions
  • Conserves finite natural resources – this is critical for our environment and communities as global human ​population continues to grow exponentially
  • Conserves freshwater, up to 95% saved in the mining and manufacturing process for many materials
  • Prevents the extraction of virgin materials, such as oil and aluminum, and associated negative impacts
  • Prevents pollution of the air and water that threatens the health of frontline communities
  • Increases economic security by supporting domestic supply chains and local manufacturing 
  • Creates jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries
  • Reduces the negative impacts of climate change

Recycling Creates Jobs!

A 2021 GAIA report on “Zero Waste and Economy Recovery” demonstrates that zero waste (recycling, composting, reuse and repair) creates over 200x as many jobs as landfills and incinerators. 

A US EPA 2016 Recycling Economic Information (REI) Study found that in a single year, recycling and reuse activities in the United States account for:

  • 681,000 jobs
  • $37.8 billion in wages
  • $5.5 billion in tax revenues

Developing countries are key suppliers of many plastic substitutes, so increased global demand could create new, inclusive greener trade and investment opportunities. For example, 92% of the world’s jute (a natural fiber used to make bags, pouches and packaging) comes from developing countries, with the main suppliers being Bangladesh (74%) and India (9%), likewise 94% of global natural rubber exports in 2019 came from Thailand (31.5%), Indonesia (30%) and Côte d’Ivoire (8.5%) (UNCTAD).

Recycling prevents waste from ending up littered in our environment and causing environmental and human health impacts!

Did-You-Know: The estimated length of time taken for these items to break down in a natural environment e.g. in landfill/beaches/urban environment ( : 

  • Plastic bottles: 70-450 years 
  • Plastic bag: 500-1000 years
  • Cigarette: 1-12 years
  • Fishing line: 600 years
  • Glass bottle: 1-2 million years 
  • Aluminum can: 200 years
  • Styrofoam cup: 500 years to forever