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10 Recycling Advantages and Disadvantages

navajocodetalkersadmin on June 22, 2015 - 8:12 pm in Pros and Cons

Recycling. This is possibly one of the most talked about and widely advocated terms of the century. Recycling is the process of taking a product that has already served it’s intended purpose, and turning it into something else. Just about anything can be recycled, whether it be a tissue box used for a craft or an old bottle that you use for oil. However, the most common reference of recycling is when packaging made of plastic, aluminum, paper, or glass is put through a recycling plant and turned into new packaging. Recycling has had wonderful effects for our entire planet, and these effects could be increased substantially if recycling was used on a large scale. Recycling is wonderful, but everything has some downfalls.

Advantages of Recycling

1. Helps To Protect The Environment
The main reason that recycling is used and advocated by so many different people is because it has wonderful benefits for our planet. The processing of goods to create packaging and other products emits a large amount of carbon dioxide gas, or green house gases, into the atmosphere. This is the main cause of global warming and climate change.

2. Conserves Natural Resources
In order for packaging to be made natural resources from the Earth must be extracted and used. Things like trees are cut down in order to create the packaging, which contribute to deforestation. Recycling would stop these resources from being exploited by taking the abundance of existing waste and turning it into a new product.

3. Less Waste In The Landfills
One of the greatest benefits that come from recycling is the reduction of waste that are put into our landfills each day. Each year recycling prevents over 70 tons of garbage from going into the already over filled landfills. Landfills directly affect the soil and environment around them, even polluting water sources.

4. Creation of Green Jobs
The recycling industry has created millions of jobs for people all over the world. On top of the creation of jobs, the jobs are also green. This means that they do not harm the environment and instead actually benefit it. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics have released that recycling has created 3.1 million jobs.

5. Strong Support
Out of all of the ideas surrounding environmentally friendly and green services, recycling has gained the most support. This high amount of support has also spurred high levels of funding into research and the construction of facilities.

Disadvantage of Recycling

1. High Start Up Costs
The construction of a recycling facility is very expensive. The special equipment and machines that are needed, as well as the sanitation and sorting equipment needed for the materials that come in, add up very quickly.

2. Unsafe Working Conditions
When dealing with large amount of garbage there are many different health and safety concerns that come into play. Bacteria is harbored in the waste materials, which must be handled by the workers while sorting before it can go to the sanitation process of recycling.

3. Difficult To Do Large Scale
While recycling on any level is a great thing to do, in order for it to be truly beneficial it must be used on a wide scale basis. As of today, this is not possible because of the excessive costs associated with recycling.

4. Lower Quality Goods
Packaging made from recycled material is about 40 percent less resilient and strong than packaging that is not made from recycled materials. This is because the natural fibers that make up the materials strength are weakened from the first processing, and then weakened even further from the second.

5. Requires A Lot Of Energy
All of the machinery that is involved in recycling requires fuel and electricity to run. These large machines, which are ran on large scale, inadvertently contribute to pollution which completely ruins the idea of recycling in the first place.

Important Facts About Recycling

  • Aluminum cans can go from recycling to the shelves of stores in just under 2 months.
  • The average American will use 680 pounds of paper, and only about 10 percent will recycle.
  • In the late 1990’s, the United States recycled 22 million pounds of cardboard.
  • The hierarchy of recycling is: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
  • It takes 500 years for a Styrofoam cup to decompose.
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