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How Does Recycling Save Energy & Reduce Waste?

Everyone is well aware of the growing climate crisis. That’s why we’re all doing our part to lessen our carbon footprint and make the planet a better place than it was the day before. We've constantly been told that recycling is a great way to begin living sustainably — and that’s true. However, what does recycling actually entail?

It seems like a simple habit to develop — just separating your cans, papers, and bottles from the trash. But how does this seemingly small action create positive change? Or is this idea of recycling enacting change a lie?

We’re here to tell you that, yes, recycling does create positive change! Experts are not lying — recycling does do a lot of good for our environment. It's a minor lifestyle change that every individual can make to help eliminate waste, save energy, and generally reduce pollution levels in landfills and natural habitats.

It might seem far-fetched that simply sorting your rubbish into different categories and disposing of them separately makes that big of a difference. However, it genuinely is an easy action to take to make great changes.

Continue reading to learn the specifics about how recycling ultimately saves energy and reduces waste. After learning all the good recycling does for our planet, we’re pretty sure you'll run to get yourself and your loved ones blue bins for your recyclables.

Recycling = Less Pollution and Waste

Plastic pollution is a tragic phenomenon. When we toss our single-use plastic waste and other regular trash, we willingly contribute to the obscene levels of pollution in landfills, oceans, and around our neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, many of the products we use can’t be recycled. Nevertheless, it doesn’t justify getting lazy and ignoring the recyclable items. Single-use plastics like plastic bottles, empty shampoo bottles, empty jugs, and more are all meant to be sorted and recycled. This ensures there is less waste and allows plastic items to go through another life cycle and be used again.


There’s already enough unavoidable waste, soo it’s important to do your part in eliminating the amount of garbage that ends up in our natural environments.

Let’s break this down even further:

The Lifespan of Plastic

To put the importance of recycling into perspective, we can examine the lifespan of various plastics.

Likely the easiest form of plastic to sort and recycle are plastic bottles. As long as you have a designated bin, all it takes is a quick rinse and toss, and you’ve done your part. But everybody slips up sometimes, and it’s important to see just how devastating that slip-up can be in the long run.

Plastic bottles take 450 years to decompose when they are improperly disposed of. That water bottle you drank will now outlive generations to come — all because it was thrown away and sent to a landfill.

Other plastics, like straws or plastic rings, can take between 200 and 400 years to decompose.

These facts seem daunting — and they should! It's important to keep in mind how hard it is to get rid of plastic before just tossing it away. And though plastic is often at the forefront of the recycling conversation, we need to also keep this mindset when it comes to cans, glass, paper, cardboard, and so on.

What Becomes of Plastic and Other Materials After Being Recycled?

So, just how much waste can be reduced when we make that conscious choice to toss our plastics into the recycling bin instead of the garbage?

When we recycle plastic and other materials, that waste is processed and reused to create new products instead of taking up unnecessary space in landfills or oceans.

You’ll find brands of all kinds that utilize recycled materials to create new goods, and sustainable practices like this are so vital to the betterment of our planet and climate. Not only does this help eliminate waste, but it also helps reduce the number of natural resources used to produce items.

The fashion industry is one of the leading contributors to pollution and carbon emissions. Thankfully, the industry is making a shift towards sustainability by creating clothing out of recycled materials. Here at KOKOLU, especially, we are acting as leaders in the industry by creating stylish shoes and tote bags out of post-consumer plastic bottles.

Recyclable materials take on new lives when they are properly disposed of. They can go through continuous cycles of use instead of just polluting natural habitats and landfills. This eliminates waste and helps create a more healthy, sustainable planet.

Recycling Saves Energy

Recycling is a means to eliminate waste, and it’s also a wonderful way to save energy and ultimately reduce our collective carbon footprint.

In fact, recycling as a means to save energy goes hand-in-hand with the extended life-cycle of recycled goods. By reusing recycled plastics and other materials to create new products, we’re saving energy.

Regardless of the kind of materials used to create goods (like clothes, for example), energy is utilized. But when those materials come from recycled materials( like the plastic that KOKOLU works with to create bags and sneakers), we ultimately expend less energy. Plus, we do it all while still focusing on style.

It takes far less energy to process recycled materials than to create new goods. When companies extract and process raw materials, more work is done, and more energy is used. Making use of recycled materials requires less processing, so less energy is needed.

Utilizing a supply of recycled materials saves that energy because companies no longer need to expend resources, and thus energy, to create those new materials.

What Can I Recycle?

Now that we understand the amazing benefits of recycling, there remains only the question of what we can recycle. Unfortunately, certain plastics and other single-use materials can’t be recycled. We need a comprehensive list of what can actually be tossed in that blue bin.

Below are some of the major items to remember to recycle:

  • Paper/cardboard
  • Plastics, such as:
    • Plastic bottles
    • Jugs
    • Empty containers
  • Glass
    • Essentially, everything EXCEPT broken glass
  • Aluminum cans
  • Aluminum foil

What Else Can I Do To Be More Sustainable?

Recycling is important, but it is not the only minor step you can take to start living more sustainably.

Making simple changes to your daily habits can greatly reduce your own ecological footprint. You can start by turning off the water while brushing your teeth, turning the lights off when you leave the room, and taking shorter showers. Even just carpooling more frequently is a minor change you can make to live more sustainably and help improve the environment.

It is also important to be a more conscious consumer. Buy products from sustainable sellers. Clothing brands like KOKOLU are making great strides to promote sustainability and create products that are made from recycled materials.

So, when you buy Comfort Knit Sneakers from us, instead of another pair from a fast-fashion website, you are doing your part to improve the environment in style.

Living sustainably is not nearly as challenging as it might seem. Altering your daily routines and making more conscious choices greatly contribute to the betterment of the planet.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We all know the saying, but it’s more important now than ever to take the “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto seriously. Separating trash into the correct bins is an easy action that can have big results.

Many of us go through life without thinking twice about where we toss our empty soda cans or water bottles, but we can’t afford to be so casually careless anymore. We only have one planet, and it's our duty to treat it kindly.

Now that we know just how much recycling helps to reduce waste and save energy, we have to hold ourselves accountable. Little changes in our habits and behaviors will lead to huge differences in the overall wellness of our planet. Recycling is easy and worth it, so make the change and help improve the environment!


The Life-cycle of Plastics | WWF-Australia

How Does Recycling Save Energy? | American Geosciences Institute

How Do I Recycle?: Common Recyclables | US EPA

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