Recycling Pros and Cons List

Just hearing the word recycling is enough to send people on both sides of this debate into a tizzy. While recycling is a simple enough process that seems self-explanatory, there are those who believe enough in the disadvantages of recycling to argue them vehemently. On the other side of the coin, recycling supporters see no reason why we shouldn’t all be recycling.

With two disparate view points and valid points to be made on each side, the time has come for a closer investigation into the pros and cons of recycling.

List of Pros of Recycling

1. Reduction In The Consumption Of Energy
In the modern world, we are constantly looking for ways to decrease our overall energy consumption, in hopes of leaving a viable planet for our children and their children to live on. We are consuming all forms of energy at a rapidly skyrocketing rate and must curb this tendency to ensure a brighter future.

When products are manufactured, a great deal of raw energy must be consumed. By recycling, the consumer reduces the amount of energy that is needed for processes such as mining and refinement. Recycling also makes the production process much cheaper for the manufacturing companies, which increases their overall cost effectiveness. Often, these savings are then passed down to the consumer.

2. Environmentally Friendly
One of the biggest advantages that proponents for recycling argue for is the decrease in the cutting down of trees. When trees are consistently chopped down in order to create new products, this can have a very harmful effect on the overall environment. The loss of trees to create yet another batch of paper can be devastating to an ecosystem.

Recycled paper minimizes the need for felling and deforestation. It is not just recycled paper that benefits the environment, there are a variety of other resources, such as water, plastic and certain metals that should also be recycled in order to keep damage to the surrounding environment at an absolute minimum.

3. Decrease In Pollution
When you recycle, you significantly decrease the production of industrial waste. When it comes to pollution in modern society, industrial waste is the largest catalyst. Anything that can be done to stem the tide of pollution is very important to our long term survival. Industrial related products like cans, bottles, plastics and chemicals need to be recycled.

Recycling these products ensures that they will not be used once and thrown away carelessly. By recycling industrial related products in a timely, responsible manner, you can do your part to cut down on harmful pollution. Reusing products instead of just throwing them away should become a major point of emphasis as we learn more about the lack of recycling and its harmful effects on our planet.

4. Increased Resource Conservation
By recycling, you are able to extend the shelf life of many of our natural resources. The lack of usage for older items has led to a marked increase in the production of new materials. In order to make these new products, valuable raw materials must be obtained and the methods used to do so lead to increased damage to the environment.

Recycling provides a serious boost to the preservation of our most valuable raw materials and as an added bonus, cuts down on the amount of mining and excavation that must be done to obtain them. In particular, materials such as wood and water must be recycled, so that we do not allow our production to outstrip our amount of materials on hand.

5. Impedes Global Warming
Global warming has become another hot button topic of discussion. By recycling, the number of greenhouse gas emissions is decreased. Typically, piles of waste are burned when it is time to get rid of them, which leads to these toxic emissions and causes further global warming. When a person recycles, they are doing their part to minimize this burning.

Instead of burning massive amounts of waste, the material can be re-used in a manner that is far more helpful to the environment. Recycling also has a positive effect on the amount of greenhouse gases that are released during the industrial production phase. When industrial production is slowed, this cuts down on the burning of fossil fuels to create new products.

List of Cons of Recycling

1. Not Cost Effective
While recycling has a variety of benefits to our environment, it is not helpful to our wallets. Not only do our expenses increase as we must purchase the materials for proper recycling and incur potential additional costs such as transportation, but factories must be built in order to store and clean the recycled products so that they can be re-used.

As a result, recycling is not nearly as cost effective as its supporters would have you believe. Manufacturers can save money on the back end by selling recycled products to consumers, but the initial investment may be too much for some economies to handle. The construction of factories can also lead to increased pollution, which is what recycling is designed to avoid.

2. Recycling Sites Are Not Always Safe
Recycling is not as safe as many would like to believe. The sites where recycling takes place are often unclean and unsafe for the staffs who work at them. It is difficult to dump large amounts of waste in any location without it becoming hazardous and recycling plants are not any different.

The areas where the recycling materials are dumped become fertile breeding grounds for disease and there are a large number of inherent dangers that come with the amount of debris that is created. Waste is produced at recycling sites and this waste often mingles with bodies of water, which causes mass pollution. This even includes the water that we drink each day.

3. Recycled Products Are Not Durable
Being able to create new products from the remnants of older, used ones seems like a great idea on paper, but something is lost during the execution of this plan. Products that are created from recycled goods are often not as durable as their counterparts that have been crafted from raw materials.

The problem is due to the fact that most recycled items are made from piles of waste that have been allowed to sit for long periods of time, compromising the durability of the materials. Many of the items used to create recycled products have already been used over and over again and are quite fragile. Recycled products are able to be purchased cheaply because they are not built to last over the long haul.

4. Hard To Implement On A Large Scale
Recycling certainly helps to put a dent in pollution and is good for the environment, but it is unclear if it will ever be able to be implemented on a large scale. Supporters treat recycling as if it were the end all be all, when in reality, it is a comparatively small aspect of our overall health and stability.

Recycling mostly takes place on a smaller scale, as homeowners and some small business owners have implemented recycling related policies. Larger industries and other major entities have yet to turn to recycling and until the process takes place on a larger scale throughout the world, recycling will remain a niche pursuit.

5. Changes Have Yet To Be Made
Some of the facts surrounding our refusal to change our ways and stop using up every available resources are truly staggering and display the complete lack of changes that still need to be made. In the United States alone, we waste roughly half a million trees every Sunday when we read our newspaper. Plastic wrap continues to be used at a high enough rate to wrap up the entire state of Texas each year.

When a person uses a disposable napkin, it can take five centuries for that one single napkin to decompose properly. Our consumption of aluminum cans and tin foil remains at an all time high. Until we are willing to make serious changes in how we live each day, recycling is the environmental equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig.