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Why Recycling Should Be Mandatory

The introduction of legislation requiring mandatory recycling in multiple states has sparked polarized discussions about the potential effects of waste management. Many stakeholders are worried about whether or not recycling should be made obligatory. Main, secondary, and tertiary recycling are the three forms of recycling. Primary recycling is the reusing, donating, or sale of a commodity after it has been used once. Secondary recycling is a form of material or product alteration that does not necessitate the use of a chemical process. Tertiary recycling is the method of repurposing a material or commodity through a chemical process or fire, such as melting metals. The top recycling countries in the world include Austria which has the highest recycling rate of 63%, Germany has 62%, Taiwan at 60%, Singapore at 59%, Belgium at 58%, and South Korea at 49% (Ackerman 193) . The United Kingdom is at 39%, Italy at 36%, France at 35%, and the United States at 34%.

There are some benefits associated with recycling. Firstly, recycling avoids the costs related to collecting landfill. Recycling eliminates costs related to collecting waste materials. Managing waste is an expensive affair considering the costs involved in terms of fuel, labor and other fees paid to governments (Florke 167). Recycling also reduces the number of other external costs associated with landfills such as dis-amenity effects, harmful emissions, and increased leachate. Last, but not least, recycling provides a number of direct benefits to consumers. For example, recycling of plastic and glass materials enables companies to sell their products at lower prices to the consumers (Ackerman 196). Recycling influences air pollution in a number of ways. The first influence is that the more people recycle, the less the landfills receive which results in a plus for air quality as landfills usually produce high levels of hydrogen sulfide gases. Recycling also improves the air quality as it reduces the demand for power. It requires less energy to collect, process, and ship recycled materials to industrial users than mining, refining, processing, and shipping raw materials and these results in less fossil fuel use and fewer pollutants being pumped into the atmosphere. The reduction of the demand for power and for processing raw materials also reduces the greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling also reduces emissions from incinerators and slows the felling of trees. The recycling of aluminum cans and paper causes significantly less water pollution than the manufacturing of products from virgin materials. The landfills have an abundance of toxic materials which over time seep pollutants into groundwater which is a primary source of drinking water.

Dangerous Myths about Recycling

Firstly people believe that only 25 to 30% of our solid wastes can be recycled, but this percentage was considered to be maximum level in 1985 (Board 555). Today communities have surpassed that limit to even higher than 50%. The second myth is that recycling is more expensive than trash collection and disposal, but the fact is when the recycling programs are designed correctly they will be more cost competitive with garbage collection. The third myth is that landfills and incinerators are more cost-effective and environmentally sound than recycling options. The fourth myth is that landfills are significant job generators for rural communities but the fact is recycling has the capacity of creating more jobs in rural and urban communities than landfills. The fifth myth is that marketplaces are the best in solving the issue of solid waste management and no public intervention is required.

Five reasons why people do not recycle

Recycling is inconvenient as it requires extra effort while other places do not have pick up points.

Many people claim that they do not have enough space in their homes to recycle.

Some individuals do not recycle because they are not paid for it.

There is misinformation that recycling does not make a difference.

A lot of people believe it's hard to recycle because it has many facets of recycling paper, plastic, and bottles.

Five reasons why people should recycle

Recycling is efficient in saving energy.

It reduces the need for more landfills.

It preserves it preserves our resources and protects our wildlife whereby there will be a reduction of animal habitats being destroyed, and there will be paper recycling that will save millions of trees.

Recycling is good for the economy as the recycling and purchasing of recycled products develops a rater demand for more recycled goods of which they use less water, less energy, and create less pollution.

Recycling also helps reduce climate problems as it produces less carbon that results in the reduction of unhealthy greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite these benefits, recycling also has a number of downsides. For one, those against recycling argue that the practice is more expensive compared to sending the wastes to landfills. This argument is, however, unjustified since in the long run, sending wastes to landfills results into more negatives than benefits in terms of lost land, increased harmful emissions, and leachate. Different critics argue that recycled materials are unhealthy and can lead to increased health risk, which is also invalid because accredited regulatory bodies test all recycled materials to ascertain that they meet required health standards (Board 590).

The overall recycling rates are increasing but so is our population, more goods are being produced, more natural resources being used and others are being wasted when we throw things. In the United States alone about 258 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste were generated, 34.6% of this amount is recycled, and the remaining 52.6% was sent to the landfills. It has been estimated that an average household creates a tonne of waste each year and with each year it increases by 3%.

Work Cited

Ackerman, Frank. "Why Do We Recycle?" Markets, Values, and Public Policy (2013): 190-199.

Board, NIIR. "Modern Technology Of Waste Management." Pollution Control, Recycling, Treatment & Utilization (2016): 535-668.

Florke, Randy. "Restore. Recycle. Repurpose." Create a Beautiful Home (2012): 165-178.

August 09, 2021

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