By: Katelyn Torlincasi
When someone recycles, they are told they are making a difference, making the Earth a greener place, saving our planet, but do we all actually comprehend the extent of how recycling works and the different kinds of material that can be repurposed? The amount of material that can be repurposed into something better or equal in value is incredible, yet the majority of people barely know the true power recycling has over our society. Each different container or product is repurposed into something else. According to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the website clearly lists what different products like newspapers, metal cans, plastic bottles and even more can turn into. Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection is on top of how to optimize the value of recycled material through pressing edge recycling systems. For example, because of their recycling systems, they are able to turn newspapers into paper plates, berry boxes, egg cartons, kitty litter, sheetrock, etc. Metal cans can be turned into bike parts, car parts, appliances, and new cans. Lastly, plastic bottles can be turned into carpet, backpacks, sleeping bags, and of course, new beverage containers. Those are just a few possibilities with the small list of products that we have mentioned.
Additionally, recyclable waste can be transformed into is buildings. When you recycle, the recyclable waste that is being produced can be turned into construction elements needed to build buildings, as well as other things to be constructed. When buildings are being made with such materials, they have to be LEED-Certified; LEED is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. Some familiar buildings on Long Island that are LEED-Certified are the Tanger Outlet Mall in Deer Park, Brookhaven National Lab Research Building in Upton, the Westhampton Free Library in Westhampton Beach, and Wild by Nature supermarket in Oceanside. These are rather common places that we may not have known are created by recyclable waste, but that is the magnitude of what our recyclable waste can be used for.
Emerson College of Boston, MA is doing their part in going green. Out of Emerson’s 5 residential buildings, 4 of them are LEED-Certified. On-campus, Emerson does not sell water bottles but provides numerous water stations throughout all the buildings to eliminate the plastic waste from water bottles. The school provides the students with reusable clamshells that they can use in the dining hall to get take out food. Also, most of the school’s buildings use a heating system called “green steam” from Veolia’s to increase the college’s efficiency.
The list of what the school does to be green does not stop there and the possibilities of what everyone can do to decrease waste and be more green is always evolving. These are just some things that aid the efficiency, while simultaneously makes our Earth a little more green every day.