Recycling was common in ancient times, where the main reason was the high price of raw materials and production itself. Later, in the pre-industrial era, for example, paper was sorted in Japan and ash was collected in Great Britain, which was used in the manufacture of bricks. In later times, metals, bottles and clothing in particular were recycled. During World War II, recycling was demanded mainly due to the lack of raw material. In the 1970s, there was a need to reduce energy consumption, where recycling played a significant role. From the 1990s and at the turn of the millennium, an ever-growing problem began with emerging electrical waste, which was widely exported from developed to developing countries, which was economically beneficial for both parties. However, environmental impacts have forced governments to introduce new legislation and modernize waste treatment.
To protect the environment, recycling is important in reducing landfill or incinerator waste, reducing the need to produce or extract raw materials, reducing waste in the oceans, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening sustainable development and a healthy society in general.
An important element of sorted waste is its quality, for example the homogeneity of the sorted material. Its benefit is a reduction in recycling costs. In the worst case, the prevention of the removal of sorted waste to a landfill if the quality of the sorted waste is too low, for example a large amount of non-recyclable waste in the sorted one.
There are many reasons for recycling and it is better to enumerate rather than give a clear answer. However, it should be noted that individual reasons may be valid for a given region, while others do not make sense in the region for various reasons. Recycling must first and foremost be cost-effective. In any case, reasons for recycling are
- cost savings,
- saving raw material,
- reducing greenhouse gas emissions,
- energy saving,
- lowering air and water pollution,
- lowering negative impacts on the environment.