Garbage and Recycling

Does recycling conserve the environment?

Background Information

Every year Americans throw away 1 million pounds of garbage per person, half of which could be recycled. Enough steel is thrown away that Manhattan could be completely rebuilt, and enough wood to heat 10 million homes for 100 years. However it costs $40 per ton to process recycled goods and some pollution. Is the pollution from recycling factories worth the recycled goods?

Pros:

  • The paper industry is one of the world's largest generators of toxic air pollution and water pollution, however If recycled there is far less waste.
  • Five recycled soft drink bottles will make enough fiberfill for a ski jacket, this reduces natural resources that have to be used to create new fiberfill
  • 1,050 recycled milk jugs can be made into a six-foot park bench, this also reduces natural resources wasted
  • If 10% of Americans bought products with less plastic packaging 10% of the time, about 144 million pounds of plastic could be saved from being in landfills.
"Dr. Alan Hershkowitz, director of the National Resources Defense Council, thinks it is. 'Everything costs money,' he cautions, "including incinerators and landfills." The difference, he explains, is that recycling is designed to ease the impact we have on our environments and alleviate the burden our waste has on our communities. "So yes," Hershkowitz says, 'it is worth it.'"

-Opposing Viewpoints Recycled Materials Produce Less Pollution

Cons:

  • Producing paperboard burger containers creates more air and water pollution and uses more energy than it does to recycle polystyrene clamshells.
  • It takes more water to recycle newsprint than to make it afresh.
  • It costs $40 per ton to process recyled goods.
  • Americans could put all of the trash generated over the next 1,000 years into a landfill 100 yards high and 35 miles square, there is not that much pollution that society should be worried.
"This moral fervor comes at a price. A study from the Reason Foundation, 'Packaging, Recycling, and Solid Waste,' concludes that recycling, though sometimes beneficial, all too often wastes resources. But then, it has long been known that most trash isn't worth reusing, recycling programs usually lose money, and landfills offer a safe disposal method."

-Opposing Viewpoints Recycling Does Not Conserve the Environment

Final Thoughts

In Conclusion I think recycling does help the environment. Paper can be reused, plastic can be reused, glass can be reused, not only does this save natural resources but also saves the environment because in general it makes less pollution to use recycled goods than brand new ones.
Find Out More

Recycling Glass, What you can do to help.

Bibliography

Bandow, Doug. "Recycling Does Not Conserve the Environment." Pollution. Ed. Tamara L. Roleff. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Our Widespread Faith in Recycling Is Misplaced." This Just In. 1997. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.


"Get The Facts." Utah Recycles. RCU, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.



Hershkowitz, Allen. "Recycled Materials Produce Less Pollution." Pollution. Ed. James Haley. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2003. Current Controversies. Rpt. from "In Defense of Recycling." Social Research (Spring 1998). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.



Incinerator. Digital image. Pickeringpoliticss.file.wordpress.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.


Landfill. Digital image. Stlouiscountymn.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

Martin, Sam. "Recycling Can Reduce Pollution." The Environment. Ed. Laura K. Egendorf. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2005. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Recycle." Mother Earth News (Jan. 2001). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.


Plant, Brenda. "Recycling Is Economical." Pollution. Ed. Tamara L. Roleff. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "The Five Most Dangerous Myths About Recycling. 1996. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.


Recycling Factory. Digital image. Directindustry.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.


"Recycling Glass - How It Helps Environment." WWF. WWF, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.


Recycling Sign. Digital image. Thomson.govoffice.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.


Recycling Sorting. Digital image. Britishcouncil.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.