Waste Management & Recycling

by Ahleiah Al-Waraqi
(May 2013)

This essay focuses on the benefits of recycling and analyzes how it positively impacts our environment. Some benefits of recycling include reduced costs on energy, reduced potential health risks, reduction of landfills, and converting waste into reusable sources.

Recycling benefits the communities of Chicago and Schaumburg in several ways. In Schaumburg they have what is called Single Stream Recycling, which is designed to reduce different sorting in order to increase the different recycled items. This recycling system also helps residents to become more engaged in recycling (Village of Schaumburg).  Schaumburg has a set of rules and guidelines for the materials allowed for recycling in an acceptable condition. The Village makes sure that materials being recycled are useful for potential valuable resources. They have great ways that help motivate residents to recycle, which have been beneficial to the town and increased its rate of recycling. Residents can also earn money by recycling based on the materials they wish to recycle. This process also helps those who are out of work and need to earn an income.  For many in Schaumburg, recycling has become a necessary thing.

This picture represents recycling by the type of material/product. Much like how Schaumburg’s recycling process does their recycling on a daily basis, instead of blending all recyclable materials together.


One of the greatest benefits of recycling is conserving energy. By becoming more energy efficient, we can reduce energy costs and keep more money in our pockets. According to Consumer Reports-article, “Cut Your Energy Bills,” recycling saves two hundred and fifty dollars a year. However, this is still not enough money per year seeing as how recycling saves the least amount of money. (Consumer Report).  Rewards are also given based upon how much a household recycles based on the weight of the materials collected. A household is given $250 in a program called Pay as you throw (Consumer Report). Most people choose not to recycle because they think that a certain item would not be able to be reused and recycled. Luckily in Schaumburg, there is a list of materials that are acceptable for proper recycling. This is beneficial because the more information people have; the more efficient they will be when they recycle.

Recycling has benefits that help us outside of our environment as well by creating reuse centers. According to Chicagorecycling.org, the Creative Reuse Warehouse was made to conserve reusable items in order to prevent them from going to the landfills. For example, you may find scraps of foam core, piles of ribbons, and boxes of broken crayons that were spared from sitting unused in a landfill (chicagorecycling.org). Also, known thrift stores such as The Salvation Army and Goodwill are considered as reuse centers. These stores are known for recycling used clothing that people donate, rather than just throwing them away in the garbage. Shoppers can go to these places and find clothes for a much cheaper price than in another retail store. This is prime example of a recycling benefit because it helps others who may be short on income and cannot afford high-priced clothing. These stores are very popular and have a diverse clientele who purchase used items such as clothing, books, movies, shoes, furniture. Because thrift stores benefit a number of people and utilize reusable items, they are one of the most efficient ways of recycling.

According to Biocycle World’s article, “Composting Renewable Energy and Sustainability,” recycling helps address climate change issues because it is a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Biocycle). The article shows that we need to gain more knowledge about recycling and take action since it is up to us to get involved with recycling and become more in tune with our surroundings.

Recycling is not just a simple matter of throwing cans into the recycling bin and putting paper into the paper-only bin, it is about our society as a whole utilizing recycling to make for a better future. From reducing energy, to recycling personal belongings that are collected and sold in thrift stores, to the many benefits of reuse centers, recycling is the key to maintaining a sustainable future.