kevin s asked in EnvironmentGreen Living · 1 decade ago

Is recycling sometimes counter productive?

The reason I ask is I live in the Country and we and others bring our small amount of recyclables to the drop off center. now we might each have a few pounds of tin, paper , aluminum and so on. But, think of the gas it takes to drive up there,the time spent, The three or four people that have to be paid by tax payers to work there. I just think the cost and the waste of other resources to do the recycling a lot of times make it counter productive.

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I suppose it is counter productive, but the answer would depend on how your trash is handled. Do you have to cart that somewhere yourself or is it picked up for you?

    Where I live, the trash and recycling are picked up in separate bins, but there are also drop-off locations for those who have large cardboard boxes or a one-time load of recyclables.

    What isn't recycled here is burned in an incinerator. The metals are reclaimed from the ash, and the heat from combustion is used to make electricity for 75,000 homes. The remaing ash is used to make "ashphalt" for paving streets.

  • 1 decade ago

    To some extent recycling can be counter productive, it takes large amounts of energy to process paper, alumminum, etc. But not nearly enough energy as it takes to extract new resources. You do have a point about individual people bringing their own recycled materials to recycling centers. As far as tax payers money, I believe it is well worth the cost, and honesty recycling is profitable. Not only does the government provide recycling centers, but many recycling businesses make a profit other wise they wouldn't being here today. I find it important to ask these questions, it is a way for us all to examine our societies habits and find more efficient and environmentally friendly ways to go about our everyday business.

  • 1 decade ago

    By 'recycling', I would not mean just plainly taking the my used stuff to the recycling points, although I will still do so when I come across any recyclables lying around in the house or my office. In sustainability term, 'recycling' should mean recycling whatever we have at hand and use them to the max, before we sent them to be recycled.

    Recycling should come last in the process of sustaining the consumption of earth. If we keep thoughtlessly buying unnecessary products and not use them, but repenting our guilt by dropping everything off at the recycling centre, that still defeats the purpose. I do all my necessary test prints or drafts on one-side-printed A4 paper used by other people, and make use of any remaining white space on them to write notes or do sketches, before they go into the recycling bin. I recycle my old, or torn, or out-of-fashion clothes, by doing some alteration and renew its look so that I can wear them again.

    By recycling, I do not go out there and keep buying merchandise branded with a big 'made with recycled material' mark.

    Recycling will counter productive, only when it is made into yet another marketing proposition by capitalists to generate new demand in consumer products, and not for the sake of sustaining the life of our mother earth.

    But when something is used to its ultimate stage and can still be recycled due to its make, I sure hope we will still take it to the recycling bin.

  • -RKO-
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Don't make a special trip. I only take stuff to the recycling center when I know I'm going right by there anyway. That way I'm not really using any extra gas.

    I load up my car with cardboard, aluminum cans, plastics, mixed paper, telephone directories, washed tin cans, used cooking oil, newsprint, plastic milk jugs and soda bottles, and glass. -RKO- 07/09/07

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  • 5 years ago

    My dad has been saying this longer than most people around here have been alive. But he also has hated plastic for a very long time. People hop on these bandwagons and don't think them through. I recall when it was "use plastic shopping bags, paper kills trees." My dad said, "Trees grow back, plastic is here forever." We lived in Florida when I was a kid and they started manditory curbside recycling. Drinkable water in Florida will always be the most precious resource, yet they had us rinsing out glass and plastic to pile up in warehouses. Still do, btw. Been many years of it, now.

  • One big point everyone missed is that you should never make a special trip to just go to the recycling center (or to go anywhere else) Always try to combine lots of jobs and errands in one trip so that you can save time, gasoline, and money.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Looking at aluminium, this is produces from bauxite which is mined in Africa among other places. This is then sent to be smelted into aluminium. So you use energy to mine the bauxite and to transport it to Asia, India or Europe for the smelting process. This also uses a lot of energy and produces as a side product large amounts of cadmium ( a poisonous substance banned under RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) regulations.

    So, as it is extremely easy to recycle, I think the answer for aluminium must No. So carry on saving your yogurt pot lids!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Correct... in addition sometimes the recycling process is more harmful to the environment than using the raw materials would.

  • 1 decade ago

    NO NO NO. We need to reduce our electrical consumption and I think that we need to recycle otherwise we will be suffering the consequences of these actions.

  • 1 decade ago

    maybe in regards to the energy required to recycle the material.

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