In an age of “green awareness,” nothing could be more important than expanding your green vocabulary, which is why it’s important to know some of these recycling related terms. We will cover the following 10 vocabulary words related to recycling:
We all create too much trash, and the landfills are overflowing with the detritus of human civilization. One way to make garbage work for us is by using materials and choosing products that are packaged in biodegradable containers.
What does “biodegradable” mean? Under the right conditions, the container will naturally be broken down by microorganisms into natural substances, such as carbon dioxide or water. These elements can easily be reabsorbed by the earth without doing harm or poisoning the water table from which humans get their drinkable fluid.
Another similar word is “decomposition.” This is a natural breakdown of materials into basic elements, from which soil is replenished. This is recycling at its most elemental.
Conservation is vital in keeping important natural resources from being depleted by inattention and selfishness. If you turn the water off when you brush your teeth, or shut off a light when you leave a room, you’re doing your bit to conserve water and electricity, both of which are necessary for life and the continuation of civilization.
If you think first, you’ll find that “acting green” is as natural as breathing (clean air!)
You turn on the faucet and out comes cool, clean, potable water. But where does that come from? Much of our drinking water supply comes from groundwater. Groundwater is water under the surface of rock and dirt, that fills all the nooks and crannies, and eventually filters its way down to the water table. This type of water is what you get when you drink from a well or a spring.
Other water can come from lakes and rivers, or even sea water, which is desalinated and treated for human consumption.
When you throw out hazardous chemicals, you may think they just disappear into a landfill, but that’s not true. They will eventually turn into a liquid, called a “leachate,” which can filter down through solid waste and enter the earth to contaminate the water table.
Always keep such chemicals in a container, and properly dispose of them. A call to your local recycling department will tell you how to get rid of hazardous materials so they can be safely disposed of.
What happens when you use up too much oil? It took millions and millions of years for oil to be produced under pressure and from organic produce. Once it’s gone, it’s gone (unless you want to wait for a few hundred million more years!)
Materials such as oil that are in short supply and cannot be recreated are referred to as “nonrenewable resources.”
Another way to stop the endless stream of waste is by the science of “waste management.” That’s when experts try to remove recyclable materials so they can be reused and remade into new products, which has the effect of reducing the ever-growing mountain of trash contaminating landfills.
“Source reduction” is another way of stopping the flow of trash into landfills. This is when you try to stop trash at the source from ever entering the waste stream.
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