Recycling is the process of converting waste into new materials. It prevents valuable materials from going into waste, it reduces consumption of raw materials, controls pollution, and reduces energy use (Menikpura et al., 2014). Various materials or products are recycled including water, plastics, paper, tires, glass, cardboard, and electronics. Recycling means new products will be manufactured at a reduced cost thus controlling energy use. It protects the environment, reduces emission of greenhouse gas, thus, controlling the effects of environmental degradation on climate change. Therefore, various countries across the world have embraced recycling since it keeps the environment clean, and controls climate change (Huffman et al., 2014). Global warming, and climate change are global issues various countries are concerned about. They have, thus, invested massively in the recycling industry to reduce the effects it has on the world.
Recycling is beneficial to the environment, and to human beings. First, it helps the environment since it requires less energy than manufacturing new products. A country will reduce its energy use when it depends more on recycling. It helps reduce deforestation when some products such as papers are recycled (Huffman et al., 2014). When rubbish is heaped together, it releases harmful gases to the air leading to pollution of the environment. Therefore, it helps reduce emission of harmful gases. Moreover, recycling is useful to people since it saves space people could occupy or use productively (Huffman et al., 2014). It reduces the cost of producing new products, and preserves natural resources for the future generations.
History of Recycling
History records that in 1031, Japan was already reusing waste paper, which were sold to the local shops (Huffman et al., 2014). In Philadelphia, a recycling paper manufacturing unit was set up in 1690. The Rittenhouse Mill in Philadelphia was set up to recycle cotton, and linen rags into paper. In 1776, rebels in America were using the recycling process to come up with fighting materials (Carmona, 2017). In England, the process began in 1885 when the waste materials started being collected, sorted and recycled. In 1897, New York City established a recovery facility to collect, and sort waste for recycling purposes. The history of recycling continued with a major campaign advocating for recycling, stating that waste was wealth.
The first aluminum recycling plant was established in Chicago, and Cleveland. During the World War 1, the American Federal government advocated for recycling due to the shortage of raw materials to use during the war (Carmona, 2017). Rubber, nylon, and metals were recycled during the World War II to supplement the supply soldiers had. In 1930 during the depression, recycling was highly advocated for since it was a cheaper option unlike making new products (Menikpura et al., 2014). Depression was a major period when the world encouraged people to recycle since the income was low, and people needed cheap products. The history of recycling has continued with the latest laws passed in five states in America requiring unwanted electronic materials to be recycled. Technology, and innovation have been used to enhance recycling in the recent years. In Saudi Arabia, the recycling companies have hundreds of collections centers, thousands of collection vehicles, and they are available day, and night.
Process of Recycling
The first step in recycling is collecting the materials such as plastics or paper. The collection can be done in different ways including curbside collection, drop-off centers or refund programs (Huffman et al., 2014). The collected materials are taken to a recovery facility for sorting and cleaning. The second step is taking the materials to a manufacturing plant. The manufacturing plant will produce the recycled items, and they will be sold at a cheaper price. The cost of manufacturing recycled materials is low since raw materials are used in minimal amount while the energy, and the cost is low (Carmona, 2017). Some of the recycled products include steel cans, newspapers, paper towels, plastics, soft drink containers, and detergent bottles.
The third step is the sale of recycled materials. During the sale of such items, there are various terms used to inform the buyers of what they are buying (Huffman et al., 2014). The terms include recycled-content product, post -consumer content, and recyclable product (Carmona, 2017). Various products with such labels during their sale include trash bags, motor oil, egg cartons, comic books, cereal boxes, nails, and car bumpers.
Recycling in Saudi
Saudi Arabia produces over 15 million tons of solid waste annually with a projection that the waste may double in the next decade (Carmona, 2017). The various ingredients of waste in Saudi Arabia include paper, plastics, textile, metals, food waste, glass, wood, and cardboard. Food waste takes the largest percentage of 40-50% followed by paper at 12-28%. The concept of recycling is becoming common in Saudi Arabia (Carmona, 2017). It is estimated the 45,000 of TJ energy would be saved if recycling was embraced. The kingdom has over 29 million people who are embracing the concept of recycling. The government has started coming up with greener laws to encourage people to reuse waste to reduce the energy used to produce new materials (Carmona, 2017). The high population in the kingdom has increased the rate of waste. However, various companies have taken up the role of recycling the waste. Although the industry is not well-recognized as a source of income, people in Saudi are changing their perception regarding the waste materials, and the recycling process.
There are various organizations involved in recycling in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Some of the companies include the Waste Collection and Recycling Company Limited, NESMA, Al-Qaryan Group, and Trewind (Carmona, 2017). The focus of the various companies is to ensure the kingdom becomes better in reducing pollution, reducing energy used in the manufacturing process, and producing eco-friendly products.
- Carmona, J. (2017). Power Plant Output Augmentation by Evaporative Cooling Based on HRSG Blowdown Water Recycling in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: A Novel Approach. Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power, 139(11), 111701.
- Huffman, A. H., Van Der Werff, B. R., Henning, J. B., & Watrous-Rodriguez, K. (2014). When do recycling attitudes predict recycling? An investigation of self-reported versus observed behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 38, 262-270.
- Menikpura, S. N. M., Santo, A., & Hotta, Y. (2014). Assessing the climate co-benefits from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling in Japan. Journal of Cleaner Production, 74, 183-190.