What Is the Connection between Recycling and Conservation?

Esther Ejim

Just like the name suggests, conservation refers to purposeful efforts toward the judicious management of the natural resources on earth, with the aim of preserving them as well as battling the side effects of previous mismanagement. The relationship between recycling and conservation stems from the fact that recycling is one of the many systems utilized in the conservation of natural resources. Targets for conservation efforts are varied, including areas like rainforests, land and water.

Recycled plastics can be turned into items such as motor oil and detergent bottles, while recycled aluminum saves about 95% of the energy it would take to make new aluminum.
Recycled plastics can be turned into items such as motor oil and detergent bottles, while recycled aluminum saves about 95% of the energy it would take to make new aluminum.

An application of the link between recycling and conservation is in the conservation efforts aimed at preserving the rainforest in particular and trees in general. The rainforest is an area of the earth with the most diverse mixture of species per square mile. A rainforest is so densely packed with various species that new species are continually being discovered. An important role of the rainforest in relation to the planet as a whole is the fact that the abundant wealth of trees and plants serve as an important source of oxygen for the planet and an equally important source for the absorption of carbon monoxide from the planet. Aside from this, the trees and plants are also important sources of food and medicine as well.

The recycling logo uses the trefoil symbol.
The recycling logo uses the trefoil symbol.

The gradual and continued destruction of the rainforest is a result of the burning of areas in the forest for agricultural purposes, the cutting of trees for timber and other wood-related products, and the clearing of land to make way for the establishment of factories. Trees in the rainforest are destroyed far more often than new trees are planted to replace them, leading to a sustained loss of the rainforest in yearly increments. The relationship between recycling and conservation can be seen in the manner in which concerned people all over the world try to manage the resources from trees by recycling tree-based products. This includes items like paper, wood and related products. Such efforts substantially reduce the need to cut new trees to make these products, since the products can be made by recycling previous products that have been discarded.

A bag made of recycled paper.
A bag made of recycled paper.

Another link between recycling and conservation can be seen in the area of water conservation, which is aimed at protecting the natural water resources of the planet. The same applies to the conservation efforts directed at the proper management of agricultural land through the practice of proper agricultural methods meant to make the land as productive as possible without depleting the nutrients in the soil. This is especially important as it reduces the need for the destruction of trees in order to make room for new and fertile agricultural land.

Recycled soda cans can be made into a variety of new materials.
Recycled soda cans can be made into a variety of new materials.
Recycling allows discarded materials to be repurposed and made into something new.
Recycling allows discarded materials to be repurposed and made into something new.

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