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We chose to do our project about recycling in Israel. Until the beginning of the 90's, there wasn't a lot of awareness about recycling in Israel. Garbage was sent to hundreds of landfills while contaminating land, air and water. In 1993, the government finally decided to act. The decision included the following topics: closing landfills, opening water purification factories, assisting the local authorities with transportation and burial of garbage, promoting recycling, and many more. With the help of recycling factories that were opened, recycling containers that were stationed in the streets, and many campaigns that were held, the awareness about this subject has been consistently growing, and now it's an important part of our lives. Due to this, we wanted to find out more .about such an important topic
We chose to do our project about the process and benefits of recycling, because when we talked about it, we found out that we don't really know much about what happens to the materials after we put them in the .containers
:Our research question is
What is the process that the materials go through during recycling, and how ?does it help decreasing pollution in Israel
Before we start, what is recycling anyways?
Recycling is the process of turning used products into raw materials that can be used to make new products. Its purpose is to conserve natural resources and reduce pollution and the amount of garbage sent to landfills. Making something from recycled materials uses fewer natural resources and requires less energy than it would take to manufacture the same item brand-new.
What happens during the process of recycling?
All kinds of materials are being recycled as you read. Almost everything can be recycled or reused, but some materials are much more popular. The most popular materials are: Paper: Recycling paper remarkably reduces the use of water and energy, and the pollution that is emitted into the environment. At the beginning of the process, the paper is sorted by type, weight, and color. After that, the paper goes through a hot chemical and water bath that turns it into a soupy, fibrous substance. It goes through filters that remove staples, glues and other chemicals. Then, the ink is removed by a chemical wash or by skimming it off the surface. The pulp is then sprayed and rolled into flat sheets which are pressed and dried. Often, new pulp is added to make the paper stronger. After the giant sheets are dry, they are cut and resold as recycled paper, or formed into carton packages.
Glass: Recycling glass is a great example for saving energy and costs. Glass bottles are just washed, disinfected, and then resold. Other glass products are sorted by color, ground up into bits, sifted, filtered, and finally, melted and reformed into new glass which can be used for making bottles, or for making roads. It's important to note that recycling window glass and glass used in light bulbs is very uncommon, because of the high costs and difficulties. Steel: Steel is easy to recycle – giant machines shred steel scrapes, and then, the steel is melted down and refined into huge sheets or coils. These can be used for making car bodies, or construction materials. Plastics: Plastic is a problematic material, because it's very cheap to produce and doesn't biodegrade. Thus, it is one of the most important things humans should recycle. In the recycling process, the plastic is sorted by types and colors, filtered, sifted of contaminants, then chopped and melted into pellets or extruded into fibers. These can be used in many ways – razor blade handles for example. Cans: Recycling cans saves 95% of the energy used to make new ones, and reduces usage in bauxite – the mineral from which aluminum comes. In the process, the cans are chopped up, heated to remove the paint coating, then melted and mixed. The molten aluminum is filtered and treated, and then poured into ingots, which are rolled into flat sheets, ready to be made into new cans.
Electronics: Recycling electronics isn't common, because of the costs and the toxic materials found in the electronic products. However, there are companies that specialize in recycling electronics and safely dispose of or reuse these materials. Others: Lots and lots of materials can be recycled. Organic waste can be composted and turned into fertilizer. Rubber tires can be shredded, decontaminated and made into insulations, surfaces in playgrounds, or construction industry materials.
And what about the gains of recycling?
There are two kinds of benefits to recycling– environmental and economic benefits: Environmental benefits - recycling reduces significantly the amount of waste sent to landfills. Moreover, it prevents pollution from chemicals at landfills. Another environmental benefit of recycling is that it reduces usage of natural resources. Also, recycling usually requires less energy than it would take to .make a new product Economic benefits - Recycling provides almost six times as many jobs and .three times as much as revenue per ton as landfill disposal
How's the recycling here in Israel? Paper and plastics are the main recycled materials in Israel. The reason for this is that the government doesn't put a lot of effort into increasing awareness about recycling. Here are some more issues that prevent the developing of recycle in Israel: • The garbage burying is very cheap, and so preferred by the
government. • • • The low prices of raw materials (and so, recycling becomes unworthy). Lack of legislation in favor of recycling. Lack of infrastructure to collect the materials, for the first sorting stage
of the materials and for factories that receive the first stage sorted materials. • Lack of preference for products made from recycled products
In practical terms, what can we do to help decrease pollution in Israel?
First, campaigns about recycling should be held , recycling containers should be stated in schools- that way kids will learn about recycling from young age and it bring it home. Moreover, we should recycle as much as we can- for example, make compost from organic litter, and make sure to take care of plastic bottles and papers as much as possible. And of course, the best way to decrease pollution in Israel is to be a smart consumer: Many polluting processes will be prevented if we stop using certain products and lessened the use of others such as drinking bottled water and instead drink tap water. If we buy second hand products, save energy at home, use buses instead of
private cars, eat less meat and use products that have less package and products that their manufacture is relatively short, pollution in Israel will be reduced. For example we will discuss our high school, Ironi Yud Dalet: In Ironi Yud Dalet, we use a lot of papers, in fact, every day, entire A4 paper packages are being wasted away on work sheets, tests, and many other things. Therefore, the paper consumption should be reduced to minimum- not only it will be environmentally right, but also a great economic saving. Moreover, different garbage cans for the different products should be placed in the classes and the teachers should encourage the students to sort their garbage. Another way to encourage the students to recycle is by conducting recycling contests in which the class that will recycle the most will win a prise/
And how will it help us?
In the long term, recycling will slow down infection processes and loss of raw material. Furthermore, if we won't recycle, in the near future there will be no more space for landfills. Besides, the space that is taken by the landfills is wasted on nothing and instead can be used for better purposes such as factories, residence or even recycling factories. The last reason is the most famous: Global warming. Everyone knows that there are many gazes that emitted from the garbage that decompose in the landfills, including all the materials that don't decompose (for example: plastic). All this gazes that emitted into the atmosphere cause the
"greenhouse effect", which warms the atmosphere by absorbing thermal infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere, and by clouds. All this, causes climate changes that can eventually destroy any trace to the climate we know.
An interview with Noam, A smart consumer and a recycling expert:
1. Q: Are you a member in a recycling organization? A: No. I'm a member in the student's union that promotes awareness about recycling around campus 2. Q: Do you think there is enough awareness in Israel to recycling? A: No; there is high awareness to recycling plastic bottles and paper but low awareness to other plastic products and electronic devices and very low awareness to compost and construction garbage. 3. Q: How do you think it's possible to increase the awareness to recycling? A: First of all, the awareness should come with proper infrastructure. Campaigns that teach wise consumerism, putting recycling containers in schools- that way kids will learn about recycling from young age and will pass it on to their house. 4. Q: In what way do you help to reduce the pollution in Israel? A: I live close to work so I can ride on bike or take just one bus. I buy products with less packaging, and basis products (products that don't go through a long energy- consumer manufacture process). I buy second hand, save energy at home, make compost out of the organic garbage, drink tap water (this way I don't consume plastic bottles) I lessened in eating meat (There is a lot energy the whole process of producing the eatable meat we buy) 5. Q: What is the most pollutes factor in Israel? A: Plastic bags and plastic products 6. Q: Why is that the most pollutes factor in Israel? A: It is possible to recycle it but because it isn't profitable no one does.
7. Q: what steps can be made to fight this factor? A: In the private level: to buy fewer products that have plastic package, nationally- to legislate laws against producing complex package. 8. Q: What can be produced out of recycled materials? A: Tires- surfaces in children's gardens, for the construction industry. Glass- remade bottles, roads Paper- recycled paper, carton packages Plastic- razor blades' handles 9. Q: What will be the affects of recycling in the long term? A: It will slow down infection process and loss of raw materials but it's not a solution: the ideal situation is reuse.