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As population growth continues to accelerate into the 21st Century, waste management will play an integral part in maintaining an ecological balance within our environment. We can no longer generate unlimited quantities of waste, and must sacrifice our economic viability to ensure long term protection of the earth. Therefore, recycling plays an important strategy in minimizing the generation of waste and reducing the need of hazardous landfills.

It is expected that certain problems will arise with recycling initiatives but the positive factors from our efforts will override those obstacles. With high levels of public participation, sufficient financial backing and increase technological sophistication, recycling can be an effective strategy for sustaining a healthy environment.

There are numerous environmental benefits that come with recycling. When products are made with recycled materials instead of virgin materials, we conserve land and reduce the need for more resources such as oil, minerals, and pulp. By avoiding initial production cost, energy is also saved.

By cutting down on landfills, environment becomes contamination-free. This leads to decrease in air and water pollution and eventually affect acid rain and global warming. Furthermore, recycling, when implemented sufficiently will deter littering and essentially waste management cost.

Conservation of Raw Materials

Recycling will limit the use of raw materials such as trees, oil and minerals. Detailed analysis shows that these environmental benefits of recycling far outweigh any additional environmental burdens resulting from the collection, processing and transport of recyclable materials in curbside recycling programs (Denison and Ruston, 199).

It is now clear that paper recycling can only be made to work if collection and consumption can be coordinated. Recycling metals minimizes the need for mining new minerals and decreases damage to wilderness. As raw materials become scarcer, their price will rise, leading to a search for substitutes, including recycled materials (Webb, 85). Therefore, the rate of recycling may be tied to the scarcity of raw materials or a rise in energy costs. As countries exhaust their natural resources, export of recycled material has become the beneficiary since virgin materials are not readily available. The long-term future for recycled program seems to be good when we realize that scarcity of raw material will enhance the attractiveness of recycled products. Though time and patience is needed to see the benefits of recycling programs, current abundance of resources will prevent us from full reliance. Eventually, recycling programs implemented today will enable us to ensure that future generations have a sufficient resource base. These initiatives help us cut down on waste of valuable resources, reduce environmental costs and create a healthier economy. Reduction of Energy Use The potential energy savings from recycling solid waste are enormous. Much less energy is needed to make recycled materials into new products compared to beginning the process again with new, "virgin" raw materials. For an example, substituting scrap aluminum for virgin materials reduces energy consumption by 90% (Brougton et al., 99).

The energy generated from burning these materials is but a small ...
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