Recycling provides a range of environmental and economic benefits to our community that the alternative landfilling simply does not provide. While recycling does have some environmental impacts, manufacturing with recycled materials saves natural resources, energy and water and reduces pollution.
While we may have three times as much wood available as we did eighty years ago because of tree farms, Americans consume fifteen times more paper products. Without paper recycling, we would need to increase timber harvesting by 80% just to keep up with demand in the next ten years.
According to the most recently published (2011) “Nonhazardous Solid Waste Management and Landfill Capacity in Illinois Annual Report” (developed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency), at 2009 collection rates we presently have about 24 years of landfill space left in Illinois which represents an improvement over the 2005 IEPA report which indicated that there would be as little as 19 years of landfill space remaining.
This report also indicates that there is a nearly 34 percent recycling rate in the state which is down from 38%.
Research from the IEPA also shows that disposal volumes are increasing over 4 percent per year.
In 2005, there were 51 Illinois landfills active, Since that report was issued seven landfills have closed.
Locally, 18 years of landfill capacity remain in this region as of January 1, 2010.
These figures indicate that each resident of Winnebago County generates almost 2,339 pounds of waste every year, of which less than 21% is recycled
Disposal options like landfilling extend the responsibility for and the costs of our waste to future generations while recycling relieves the pressure on our dwindling natural resources and places the responsibility on this generation, where it belongs, to be wise stewards of our resources for our children.
Recycling is one of the few environmental actions that every single American can participate in and feel good about.
We need to recycle as much as possible because we know it really does make a difference.
Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful’s education programs include many aspects of environmental conservation issues including recycling, reuse, source reduction and selective shopping.