Many of us feel overwhelmed by the term ‘recycling’. Recycling is a form of waste management that involves converting waste and other used materials into reusable products. Recycling helps to reduce energy usage, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce air pollution and water pollution (from land filling) by reducing the need for “conventional” waste disposal and also reduces greenhouse gases emissions. Petco, South African Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) Recycling Company, 2016 recycling figures shows that plastic bottle recycled tonnage in SA has grown by over 800% since 2005.
But what is the psychology behind why people don’t recycle?
Naledi Mqhayi, Clinical Psychiatrist, recently said in an interview with KFM that recycling is a conscience decision and there has to be a means to it.
She says recycling in South Africa is a new concept and South Africans are still getting used to the idea.
For a very long time, we were used to throwing away things … it is only now that people became more conscience of what they were doing and they would do it if they are encouraged or if there is a benefit to doing it.
Mqhayi says not everyone understands the benefits of recycling. Sometimes people who are collecting bottles, paper, and glass for money don’t know that they are saving the planet.
Human beings have the tendency of if it doesn’t affect me now I don’t see effects immediately so I can postpone it.
Human beings tend to behave better when they know there is a reward at the end of the day. Please go listen to the full interview on
Furthermore I would like to just explain the advantages of recycling and found the below points on the conserve-energy-future website. I truly hope this will encourage people to recycle more.
Advantages of Recycling
1. Recycling minimizes pollution
All forms of pollution in the modern world emanate from industrial waste. Recycling of these industrial wastes such as plastics, cans, and chemicals go a long way towards considerably cutting back on levels of pollution because these waste products are reused rather than just being thrown away recklessly.
2. Protects the environment
The great benefit of recycling waste material is that it plays a big part in protecting Mother Nature in the most balanced way. While many trees are felled every day, recycled paper manufactured from specific trees is continually utilized to reduce deforestation. This classical example demonstrates that other natural resources can be recycled and made useful this way to conserve the environment.
3. Recycling minimizes global warming
It is perfectly true that recycling minimizes global warming and its grave impacts. During waste disposal, huge amounts of waste are combusted that lead to emission of vast greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, sulphur, and nitrogen, which contribute to climate change and global warming.
Recycling process involves minimal combustion and waste is transformed into reusable materials with zero or minimal harmful impact on the environment. The whole process of processing and manufacturing products from waste materials emits few greenhouse gases because the very waste recycling industries burn little fossil fuels.
4. Conserves natural resources
If the process of recycling used and old materials was not there, it means new products will be manufactured by extraction of fresh raw materials underneath the earth through the process of mining and extraction. Recycling is a sure-fire way of conserving existing raw materials and protecting them for future use. Taking steps to conserve natural resources like minerals, water and wood ensures sustainable and optimal use.
5. Recycling cuts down amount of waste in landfill sites
Recycling old and used materials into reusable products enormously reduces the possibility of choking of landfill sites. This is beneficial because it helps minimize land and water pollution since landfills contributes mightily to environmental degradation.
6. Recycling ensures sustainable use of resources
Recycling guarantees that existing resources will be used sensibly and sustainably. The recycling process alleviates the possibility of discriminate use of raw materials when they are obtainable in huge supply. Governments these days have stepped in to encourage recycling from lower levels, for instance, schools, small-sized organizations and also at global levels. This means that manufacturing industries can leave existing natural resources for exploitation by our children in the future without affecting current production.
7. Recycling contributes to creation of jobs
To add to the benefits it brings to the environment; recycling opens up job opportunities. Recycling means many recycling plants will be set up, thus, leading to a long chain of collection and delivery. All these activities are performed by humans, so this will trigger an explosion of opportunities.
8. Reduces energy consumption
A lot of energy is used to process raw materials in the course of manufacture. Recycling plays a big role in reducing energy consumption, which is vital for large-scale production, for instance, mining and refining. Recycling also renders the whole process of production less expensive, which is a great victory for manufacturers.
I hope you will be inspired and will support recyclable products and start a recycle movement in your own home.