Pros and cons of recycling

In this article we discuss the pros and cons of practising recycling in your homes. Based upon this, we draw intercomparisons amongst them to determine whether recycling is truly worth it.

Pros and cons of recycling

Pros of recycling are:

  • Minimises pollution
  • Protects environment
  • Minimises global warming
  • Conserves natural resources

Cons of recycling are:

  • More pollution and energy consumption.
  • Result in pollutants.
  • Increased processing cost and low-quality jobs.
  • Require stricter and more stringent implementation.
  • Good products are not guaranteed.
  • Generally ineffective.

Recycling

The act of separating an object into its constituent parts and reprocessing it to generate a new material or item is known as recycling. 

Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new resources that may be used for a variety of purposes.

Recycling takes use of the fact that many ordinary products that we throw away still contain material that may be used for other purposes.

The recyclability of an object is determined by the quantity of original matter that has been restored. In an ideal world, each item might, for example, be completely recycled.

Office paper, for example, would be recycled into new office paper. But, in many cases, certain materials have been altered too much to be processed and broken down into their original components.

Recycling steps

The recycling process has three phases that repeat themselves again and over. This is also the reason behind the recycling symbol’s three recognisable arrows.

These arrows represent:

  • Collecting and processing
  • Manufacturing
  • Selling/ buying new products

We shall discuss these in more detail.

Collecting and processing

Collecting and analysing data is the initial stage in the entire process. Materials can be collected in a variety of methods, including curbside pickup, reimbursement programmes, and recycling drop-off locations.

After the items have been gathered, they are taken to recycling centres. At these facilities, a number of things take place. The recyclables are sorted and cleaned after that.

Finally, the depots transform them into new materials that may be used to create a variety of commodities and products. After the resources have been processed, they are sold to other businesses and industries for use in their products.

Manufacturing

Collecting and processing is the first step in the entire process. Materials can be collected in a variety of methods, including curbside pickup, reimbursement programmes, and recycling drop-off locations.

After the items have been gathered, they are taken to recycling centres. At these facilities, a number of things take place. The recyclables are sorted and cleaned after that. 

Finally, the depots transform them into new materials that may be used to create a variety of commodities and products. After the resources have been processed, they are sold to other businesses and industries for use in their products.

Selling/buying new products

Finally, products made from recycled materials are sold and purchased in the third step. Consumers must continue to buy recycled things in order for the recycling loop to continue.

There are numerous goods in the store that contain recycled materials that you may purchase. The words recycled-content product, recyclable product, and post-consumer material appear on many things.

Advantages of recycling

Recycling offers several advantages not just to the person, but also to the planet itself. Some of these advantages are:

  • Minimises pollution
  • Protects environment
  • Minimises global warming
  • Conserves natural resources

We shall discuss these in more detail.

Minimises Pollution

Industrial waste is the source of all pollution in the modern world. Because these waste items are reused rather than being thrown away carelessly, recycling of industrial wastes such as plastics, cans, and chemicals goes a long way toward significantly reducing pollution levels.


Protects Environment

Recycling waste material has the significant advantage of contributing to Mother Nature’s balanced protection. 

While numerous trees are destroyed every day, recycled paper made from certain species is used on a regular basis to help minimise deforestation.

This classic example demonstrates how other natural resources can be recycled and put to good use in order to save the environment.


Minimises global warming

It is undeniably true that recycling reduces global warming and its devastating consequences. 

Huge volumes of trash have combusted during waste disposal, resulting in massive emissions of greenhouse gases such carbon dioxide, sulphur, and nitrogen, all of which contribute to climate change and global warming.

The recycling process includes very little combustion, and garbage is converted into useful materials with little or very little environmental effect.

Because waste recycling companies utilise few fossil fuels, the entire process of processing and creating items from waste materials releases little greenhouse emissions.


Conserves natural resources

If the process of recycling used and old materials did not exist, new items would have to be made by extracting fresh raw materials from beneath the ground through mining and extraction.

Recycling is a guaranteed technique of saving and protecting existing raw resources for future usage. Taking measures to conserve natural resources such as minerals, water, and timber ensures their long-term viability.

Drawbacks of recycling

Although recycling seems like a good method to reduce the waste generated and thereby reducing the toll on landfills, it also bears some disadvantages. These are:

  • More pollution and energy consumption.
  • Result in pollutants.
  • Increased processing cost and low-quality jobs.
  • Require stricter and more stringent implementation.
  • Good products are not guaranteed.
  • Generally ineffective.

We shall discuss these in more detail

More pollution and energy consumption.

It may seem contradictory, but recycling tonnes of rubbish will necessitate waste being transported, sorted, cleaned, and processed in different facilities, all of which demand energy and may produce by-products that contaminate the air, water, or soil. 

When more vehicles are used to collect recyclables, air pollution will rise as well. In reality, in 2009, the exhaust of the 179,000 garbage collection vehicles included three dozen poisons, all of which were airborne.

Result in pollutants

Pollutants like chemical compounds will affect the environment when waste items decompose.

Toxins and contaminants from the original material, such as lead paint or spray cans, might make their way through the recycling process and into the recycled product.

Worse, we might not know the goods we’ve been using are tainted for years. For the past 12 years, gamma radiation sickness has been induced by recycled steel used in buildings in Taiwan.

Increased processing cost and low-quality jobs

Recycling might cost up to three times as much as dumping rubbish in landfills. This is why, although being environmentally beneficial, it is frequently regarded as inefficient.

The procedure is extremely time-consuming. Even when there is a significant need for personnel, the type of job required might result in low morale and a poor quality of life due to low compensation.

Require stricter and more stringent implementation

When recycling isn’t done properly, it can be harmful to one’s health and the environment. Improperly managed debris and hazardous waste can damage land, air, and the environment. As a result, more severe implementation is required. When recycling firms close down disposal sites, the debris that is left behind can have a negative impact on the environment.

Good products are not guaranteed

Not all recycled materials are of good quality or even fit for human consumption. Bleach, for example, is used to recycle paper, which is a harsh chemical that is damaging to human health and the environment. Recycled items, as previously stated, may include harmful substances that were present in the original material.

Generally ineffective

Recycling, as illustrated above, causes greater pollution, higher energy use, and economic inefficiencies, making it less effective than popular belief.

Furthermore, recycling was ineffective in reducing demand. Metal demand, for example, rises by around 10% per year, yet the amount of recycled aluminium available falls short. As a result, aluminium mining will continue to be essential.

The amount of soda cans that need to be recycled outnumbers the capacity of recycling facilities by a factor of ten. In the United States alone, the typical person consumes 2.5 cans every day, resulting in 778 million cans that must be recycled.

Conclusion


Recycling may seem like a tedious task with low returns for some people. However, the process of recycling helps to reduce the total waste being sent to landfills quite significantly.

Most of the drawbacks associated with recycling are due to the inability for efficiently sorting and categorising waste. 

However, with future advances in technologies, as well as initiatives such as categorising waste at the source itself will further streamline the process of recycling.

Therefore, even though there are drawbacks associated with recycling, the advantages still outweigh the drawbacks.

FAQs

What is reuse and how is it different?

Reusing is the process of finding new uses for old items that would otherwise be discarded. Fixing, renovating, redecorating, or modifying an object in some manner to improve it or give it a new use are all examples of this.

In a nutshell, reuse is the process of repurposing an outdated object. You aren’t discarding anything, deconstructing anything, or repurposing it into something new. Simply said, you’re taking an object and altering how you utilise it.

What are the advantages of reusing?

Reusing offers various advantages, some of which include:

  • Saves money
  • Reduces landfill load
  • Reduces utilisation of raw material
  • Reduces energy utilisation

We shall discuss these in more detail.

Saves money

You may save money by reusing products. When relocating, instead of buying new boxes, reassemble the ones you’ve flattened and saved and pack your belongings. 

Everything from documents to seasonal ornaments may be stored in sturdy boxes. Paper bags may be readily flattened and reused. Bring them back to the store to help you wrap your purchases. 

However, before trusting the bags a third or fourth time, inspect them for wear and tear. Reusing containers and paper may also help businesses.

Reduces landfill load

Another benefit of reusing products is that it cuts down on the quantity of waste sent to landfills. Landfills are rapidly filling up, necessitating further landfill construction. 

Each time you reuse an item, you are preventing it from being thrown away in a landfill. If you reuse anything six times before throwing it away, you are effectively avoiding the disposal of five of those objects. 

Some things, such as printer cartridges, must be replenished before they can be used again, while others may require repair. 

Reduces utilisation of raw material

Reusing products cuts down on the quantity of items that suppliers have to produce. More trees are cut down as a result of items like wood pallets and non-recycled paper goods.

Crude oil, for example, is used as a basic ingredient in other products, such as plastic wrap and drink bottles. To conserve even more oil, wash and reuse those plastic forks and spoons instead of tossing them away.

Reduces energy utilisation

Fuel is required to transport fresh packaging materials. Large trucks use gasoline to transport raw materials to the facility and then bring completed goods to your neighbourhood store. 

Fossil fuels are used for more than just transportation. Manufacturing operations need energy, which is frequently supplied by coal or natural gas. 

References

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment