The environmentalism movement has several major facets. Probably the most recent and most fanatical is the so-called climate change threat. Another is pollution for which the Environmental Protection Agency is hot on our trail. A third has been around for years and has perhaps become so entrenched in our lives, we pay it less attention. We are talking about recycling.
The familiar mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle” has driven local and national efforts and infiltrated both social and government campaigns. Like much of the activity either performed by government or required of the people by government, we rarely know how effective it is. The realist can generally rely on the sad truth that if government is involved, it isn’t very effective.
The fact is that sometimes recycling makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t. In the legislative rush to pass recycling mandates, state and local governments should pause to consider the science and the economics of every proposition. Often, bad ideas are worse than none at all and can produce lasting damage if they are enshrined in law. Simply demanding that something be recycled can be disruptive of markets and it does not guarantee that recycling that makes either economic or environmental sense will even occur.
Recycling Mania is a Giant Placebo
Just as recycling programs have been around for years, we have likewise known for years that they really don’t work very well. Not all materials are equal and neither are recycling efforts. Those different colored containers may make it all seem simple enough but the reality is much more complex. The out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude may pacify the consumer but most are clueless about what goes on behind the scenes.
“A 2010 Columbia University study found that just 16.5 percent of the plastic collected by the New York Department of Sanitation was ‘recyclable’…
“Since that time, things have only gotten worse. Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a story detailing how hundreds of cities across the country are abandoning recycling efforts.”
We can’t forget that while we may be saving materials from landfills, they still take up space. Recycling means doing something with them. As it turns out, the largest importer of recyclables has drastically reduced their imports. China now restricts mixed paper and most plastics.Recycling costs money. Some are quick to dismiss the economic element in favor of saving the planet. But, guess what, the benefits touted may not actually exist. In fact, recycling can actually have a negative impact at times. Click To Tweet
The Illusion of Recycling
Naturally, this importing, exporting, handling and treating materials involves money one way or another. Some are quick to dismiss the economic element in favor of saving the planet. But, guess what, the benefits touted may not actually exist. In fact, recycling can actually have a negative impact at times.
One of the original claims that began the modern recycling movement was that we were running out of landfill space. That has turned out to be bogus. Therefore, to continue recycling for that reason is nonsensical. Of course, there may be other good reasons but those would need to be satisfactorily documented.
Resources are used in the recycling cycle. Water to clean materials, fuel for trucks and barges, energy to run recycling plants. Those vehicles and plants, in turn, produce their own pollution, a paradoxical repercussion considering the intent. Some are finally waking up to the truth. Let’s help others do the same.
Read in full at America Finally Admits Recycling Doesn’t Work.