Absolutely. Take one example: the steel used in automobiles. About 25% of the steel milled today consists of steel from recycled materials, usually junked automobiles, and the steel recycling industry is worth billions a year. If not one single car in the entire world was ever recycled, we would be mining iron ore to produce new steel at a much faster rate; not to mention the land space needed to store all those junked cars. You can apply this paradigm to almost anything recyclable: wood pulp, paper, plastic, aluminum, etc. If we recycled none of these materials at all, every single water bottle produced would require another few drops of freshly-extracted petroleum; every piece of paper would require new wood fiber from a freshly cut-down tree; every drink can would mean another ounce of aluminum ore mined from the Earth’s crust. Recycling preserves a vast amount of resources already, but as of now we don’t yet recycle nearly as much as we should, so there is still a huge potential for savings, both in resources and in money, from future recycling efforts.
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