The universal truth is that human wellbeing is linked to the health of the environment. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, 24% of global deaths, and 28% of deaths among children under five, can be traced to avoidable environmental factors. As such, environmental sustainability has become a topic that cannot be avoided.
Environmental sustainability refers to the responsibility to conserve the environment and its natural resources, and protecting global ecosystems to support health and wellbeing, now and in the future. It is the responsible interaction with the environment to avoid depletion or degradation of natural resources and allow for long-term environmental quality. This article has more on this topic
1. It reduces pollution
Recycling ensures materials that would otherwise be classified as waste and simply be sent to landfills, be used to make new products. Recycling, therefore, decreases the demand for new materials and reduces the levels of pollution that will eventually be emitted by creating new items.
Avoiding unnecessarily sending new waste into landfills, recycling ensures the waste is reused, and significantly cuts on environmental pollution. This, in turn, promotes environmental sustainability
2. It saves energy
Recycling requires less energy to make new materials, as compared to using raw materials to make the same. It is a much more energy-efficient way of creating new materials. Increased recycling leads to lower levels of energy consumption, which then means less need for energy to be created. Ultimately, the chain leads up to less pollution being created, reduced environmental damage and thus environmental sustainability
3. It aids in the conservation of natural resources
Recycling helps improve the lives and habitats of people and local wildlife as it reduces the number of raw materials harvested for the manufacturing process. Saving these forests, water and minerals see to the conservation of natural resources for later generations. For instance, forests are not cut down for timber or paper since paper can be recycled and the replanting of trees is encouraged in areas the previously provided paper resources.
4. It lowers costs
Overall, recycling results in reduced costs in terms of production. The cost of using recycled material is much less than that of creating brand new material with which to work. It, therefore, follows that using recycled materials would mean lower costs for businesses. When recycling is implemented on a large scale, the savings that can be made can be hugely significant.
5. It reduces landfill waste
Landfills can collect a lot of waste, but unfortunately, they harbor waste that pollutes the environment. Recycling is beneficial as it helps reduce the amount of waste that is proliferated in landfill waste servicing centers.
As a result, recycling reduces the risks of natural gases, toxic chemicals and other harmful substances leaking into the local ecosystem. It keeps the local environment clean and safe for those living near these landfills and gives hope for a brighter environment and future
6. It cultivates a green image
People are increasingly becoming aware of the dangers posed by landfills as well as the benefits of recycling. In fact, businesses that do not recycle, are being viewed in a negative light, and those who take their environmental responsibilities seriously are seen as desirable partners. Not only is this cultivating a green image, but is also contributing towards environmental sustainability
7. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions
With climate change being a global concern, managing to reduce greenhouse emissions, goes a long way in achieving environmental sustainability, as well as determining the future for the world’s economy and ecology. Using recycled materials cuts down the reliance on new materials, whose manufacture would then be gradually reduced.
With the emergence of innovative technologies and the increased love for recycled materials, we will be cutting back on the release of greenhouse gases, that are primarily emitted by manufacturing plants. This would therefore contribute heavily towards environmental sustainability.
8. It reduces cases of incineration
Like the point on landfills, some waste ends up being incinerated. However, incineration means lots of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other toxic gases will be emitted into the atmosphere.
These gases are harmful and contribute to global warming and climate change. Recycling, therefore, means less waste will be incinerated and therefore fewer emissions into the atmosphere. This, in turn, leads to environmental sustainability.
What Are The Benefits Of Environmental Sustainability?
1. It means a reduction in energy usage
If you learn to become sustainable, you will find yourself using less energy, meaning fewer bills. At the same time, if you opt to consume less energy, you will be making a positive step towards environmental sustainability.
2. The growth of new technologies
The more you spare on energy, the more you’ll realize the need to switch to alternative and clean sources of energy, like wind and solar. This will mean the growth and development of such technologies, which have become increasingly popular over the years.
In the future, they might replace traditional sources of energy, and be incorporated in more of our lives, like in our modes of transportation. Today, we have electric cars, which are slowly replacing conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles.
3. Less pollution
Becoming more sustainable will mean more efficiency, less waste and eventually, less pollution. A reduction in the waste generated at your operation can not only be financially lucrative but can become a great selling point when discussing or advertising your facility and processes. A reduction in the amounts of waste generated also means less pollution, a cleaner environment and of course additional savings in terms of money.
4. Sustainability does not always mean going green
Employees of a sustainable corporation, love working there. Happy employees make productive employees. For instance, according to a study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12 percent boost in productivity, and according to the University of Oxford, happy employees are on average 13% more productive, produce higher sales, and are more creative. This makes profits a staple of sustainability, which will make you expand in operations, and will make you get into better relationships with suppliers, customers and other stakeholders.
5. It means new markets
By becoming sustainable, you will be able to move into new markets. Take the example of Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google. Google is basically a search engine, but who would have thought that they would venture into self-driving cars. It is because they are a sustainable company, and in their research for what to do next, they ventured into smart cars.
Sustainability always leads to new markets that for the better part are unexplored. Old ways are slowly being phased out and when a company decides to be sustainable, they will be embracing new technologies and will be knocking at the doors of tomorrow.
6. It will mean more for the future
The current data on the environment, and matters like climate change, outline a dark future ahead. It shows devastation awaits future generations, like increased ocean levels because of melting ice caps, frequent hurricanes and harsher droughts. However, if you choose to be sustainable, you will not only be combating these dangerous statistics but also giving hope for future generations.
Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We, therefore, have to figure out a way to live sustainably, so that future generations have a planet to call home
How Can We Make Recycling More Sustainable?
1. Make it easy
Recycling is sometimes difficult because it is inconvenient for some people. For instance, if it is below freezing outside, and the recycling containers in your apartment building are outside, chances are your trash will end up in the regular trash, rather than in the recycling bin. Also, on the streets, put several bins, with those labeled ‘recyclables only’ being marked distinctly for people to know them.
2. Know what to recycle
Not every waste is recyclable. It, therefore, is the responsibility of everyone to know what is recyclable and what is not. Also, everyone should know how an item destined for the trash, can be fixed so that it is recyclable. For instance, pizza boxes are recyclable, but if the grease from the pizza has touched them, or if they have some remains, they should not be recycled. Such information should be available to all.
3. Buy recycled
Recycling ensures the cyclical movement of materials through the system, eliminates waste and cuts down the need to extract more virgin materials. If you recycle or buy recycled products, you will be feeding into this chain, helping preserve the planet. Recycled products are all over in the market and range from printer papers to office chairs.
4. Recycle your water
Homeowners should consider rearranging their plumbing so that rainwater or wastewater from the shower and tub, is used to flush the toilet. For those who have a garden, water it with leftover bathwater or dishwashing water, well as long as you use biodegradable soap. Minimize the wastage of water in as much as possible, because water is and is slowly becoming a rare commodity to find.
5. Encourage those who use recycled materials
The majority of artists use recycled materials to provide a new product. For instance, it is not hard to find portraits of famous global personalities, made from pieces of trash. You should therefore encourage such artists by buying from them, and helping them recycle more.
In schools, you will likely find children make art from recycled materials and the same should be encouraged. This not only encourages the teachers but also teaches the young ones on the need to recycle, for a greener and sustainable future.
6. Encourage the Seven R’s of sustainability
We are used to the three R’s, reduce, reuse and recycle. However, try the seven R’s which are: rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle and rot.
Rethink how you view natural resources and realize that every choice you make is important to the health of the planet.
Refuse to accept or support products or companies that harm the environment, like overpacked items, or items packaged in plastic.
Reduce the number of resources used in your daily life, like reducing your garbage, the amount of water you waste or traveling less using your vehicle.
Reuse a product rather than throwing it away, just because its original purpose is over.
Repurpose and repair an item before throwing it away, just because it has become defective, like repurposing your cheese graters into light or earring holders.
Recycle by repurposing waste into a new product, a job best done in huge plants, although it all starts at home when you place these products in their respective recycling bins.
Finally, compost or rot by turning your food waste and other organics back into nutrient-rich soil.