The Truth About Recycling

The Economist looks into the truth about recycling and they have discovered some neat things. Of course, there are some complications with recycling, and it’s important to remind ourselves that nothing is perfect, but it’s good that we aim for perfection. Recycling is a really really good thing to do.

Based on this study, WRAP calculated that Britain’s recycling efforts reduce its carbon-dioxide emissions by 10m-15m tonnes per year. That is equivalent to a 10% reduction in Britain’s annual carbon-dioxide emissions from transport, or roughly equivalent to taking 3.5m cars off the roads. Similarly, America’s Environmental Protection Agency estimates that recycling reduced the country’s carbon emissions by 49m tonnes in 2005.

Recycling has many other benefits, too. It conserves natural resources. It also reduces the amount of waste that is buried or burnt, hardly ideal ways to get rid of the stuff. (Landfills take up valuable space and emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas; and although incinerators are not as polluting as they once were, they still produce noxious emissions, so people dislike having them around.) But perhaps the most valuable benefit of recycling is the saving in energy and the reduction in greenhouse gases and pollution that result when scrap materials are substituted for virgin feedstock. “If you can use recycled materials, you don’t have to mine ores, cut trees and drill for oil as much,” says Jeffrey Morris of Sound Resource Management, a consulting firm based in Olympia, Washington.

10 thoughts on “The Truth About Recycling

  1. I’m all for recycling but there is a major problem with it, is it’s controlled by the Government.
    They of course do everything badly and are most concerned with filling the pockets of their friends. The result is trash hauled all over hells half acre [for the trucking industry] endless studies [for the engineers], stupid new regulations filled with loop holes [for the lawyers] and a giant publicity campaign [for the add industry] to calm the fears of the stupid. It’s costing a fortune and having less than half the impact it should have. It’s a pretty simple idea that should be easy to manage, what a mess!

  2. Will, that maybe true where you live, but we can’t assume that that is the case everywhere. Like the UN, recycling is something we should have/do because if we didn’t have it we would be worse off.

  3. There’s no need for anything to be buried in the ground as a disposal method.
    We should as a society only produce containers that can be fully recycled.
    Producing multi-material containers that cost a huge amount to recycle because of the complex nature of the product needs to be addressed.
    When I was a child we had glass bottles of pop which we returned to the shop for the deposit money. The milk man brings glass bottles of milk.
    If you can’t recycle it then don’t buy it!

  4. Recycling is the last resort, the transport and process of recycling are not carbon neutral! landfill and incineration should not come into the equation at all, even “energy from waste” is harmful. Our only way forward is reduction and reuse. Reduction is at the stage of manufacture, the onus should not be on the person on the street, oh yes, our buying power can put out a message, but it is the government, with legislation on the manufacturer where the changes will come about!

  5. In the post (GRD) great republican depression era in North America, Swarms of ex-factory workers will flock to the land in order to survive. They will take low paying part-time jobs in villages and cities when they can and will compost, vermiculture, grow chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, pigeons, whatever does best and tastes good, they will try aquaculture, they will live in shanties made from recovered bits and boards from City dumps and old buildings, they will make sauerkraut, brew beer, ferment wine, grow pot, erect windmills, attempt solar power, dam creeks, collect old cars,wear second hand clothes to bare threads, use every cracked dish until it snaps, stuff drafty cracks with crumpled newspapers and old rags, burn wood, hunt, fish and in general, struggle for survival in a land where paychecks are few and far between! Many parts of rural Canada are beginning to look like this already! I know, I write from there!

  6. Awesome Post! I just became involved in this and I am attempting to learn as much as I can. You know of any of places I can find more information on this? I also love your theme to.

  7. Oh my Lord! This guy at work was pretty much telling me this same exact point. At any rate, seeing as I’m about to quit this crap-lousy company, I guess I could present you with a hook up. Not very many folks find out about this, but you could possibly get a $1,000 gift card for no cost at this time, kind regards of the lazy regional management. These guys will probably try anything for extra customers!!

  8. this is bull f’n s’h and if u really wantm to know about recycling go to south junior high

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