Since the 1980s, recycling has been on the forefront of environmentalists to try and reduce the amount of solid waste we as humans produce. By taking waste material and turning it into new, usable objects we are helping to cut down on that solid waste.

But, why is recycling important in the first place? What does the issue of solid waste have to do with us and our planet? Read on to learn what makes recycling so important.

recycling bottles

Why is it Important to Recycle?

The importance of recycling comes from an item’s ability to be used multiple times. If an item is single-use and non-compostable, it will end up in a landfill. Here are some of the ways recycling helps reduce our impact on the environment:

Greenhouse Emissions

Reduced Greenhouse Emissions

Recycling cuts greenhouse emissions in two ways. First, it reduces the amount of methane-producing waste found in the landfills. Second, recycling uses less energy than using new materials.

Natural Resources

Conserves Our Natural Resources

When we don’t recycle, we need new materials to create the items we use. This means we have to harvest natural resources. By recycling we are reducing the need for new raw materials and cutting down on the use of natural resources.

Protecting Wildlife

Protecting Wildlife

Since recycling reduces the need for raw materials, ecosystems and wildlife are less frequently disrupted or damaged. Less trees are cut down, less animals are displaced, and less water, soil, and air is being polluted.

The 5 R’s

When you were young, you may have learned the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. Well, in fact, there are actually 5 R’s to follow when it comes to our environmental impact. Each one has its distinctive role in helping to reduce our carbon footprint.


Above all else, refusing to use single-use or non-recyclable products is the number one way to cut back on waste. Refusing to use helps to cut your share of waste out. A really simple way you can refuse wasteful products is to decline straws at restaurants. If you’d like, you can purchase reusable straws to use instead!


In some cases, refusing to use doesn’t always seem like a viable option. In that case, reducing is the next best bet. Reducing the amount of wasteful products we use helps to reduce the amount of solid waste we produce. In fact, if we were to reduce single-use products, there would be less to recycle. When shopping, be mindful of the amount of waste products you are purchasing, and aim to purchase alternatives that are biodegradable.


Single-use products require us to have to recycle, and that’s if the item itself can even be recycled. Instead of purchasing single-use items, try to purchase reusable alternatives. A few examples are to purchase metal silverware versus plastic single-use silverware and to use reusable cups versus single-use plastic cups.


Repurposing, often called upcycling, is a great way to make use of items once they’ve served their initial purpose. There are countless videos on the internet that show how to upcycle, including turning milk jugs into plant pots, an old ladder into a bookshelf, and more. You just have to get a little creative, but that’s the fun part of it!


Last on the list is recycling. While this is definitely an important role in reducing waste, hopefully you’ve found other ways to reduce waste in the above examples. If not, that’s okay! Recycling helps to break down old, unusable material into new usable material for reuse. A great way to remember to recycle is to have a separate bin dedicated for recycling in your home. That way it’s as easy as throwing trash away in your garbage can and only takes a split second to decide which bin it goes in.


Recycled Scrap Paper

Businesses Roles in Recycling

Businesses can also play a role to greatly reduce solid waste. There are plenty of aspects of your business that can be changed to help. A few of these ideas include:

– Starting a scrap paper bin to reduce paper waste.

– Work with vendors to reduce product packaging waste.

– Cut out single use items such as plastic cups from the break room (if you still want to use single-use items, look for compostable ones).

– Use old coffee mugs to store pencils, used cardboard boxes for storing supplies, and more for upcycling old items.

– Have a recycling program in place and encourage it!

One of the best things you can do as a business is to be a role model to your customers. By showing you care and taking great strides to reduce your waste, you are setting a good example for your customers to do the same.

As you can see, recycling has an impact on the world around us. It protects wildlife and ecosystems, prevents build up of harmful waste in landfills, and keeps the air we breathe cleaner. If we all work to use the 5 Rs in our daily lives, we can keep our Earth a beautiful place.


Royal Refuse offers residential recycling, yard debris and trash services in Eugene. Get more info about what items Royal Refuse recycles.