14 Important Advantages and Disadvantages of Recycling

One of the most alarming problems in the world today is waste management. With the ballooning world population, this issue can get much worse over time. If not dealt with accordingly the soonest time possible, too much waste can cause more pressing problems, including the following:

Soil Contamination

Recyclables like plastics, metals, glass and papers end up in landfills, they could end up contaminating the ground. Plastic bottles, for example, can release DEHA, a kind of carcinogen that causes reproductive problems, liver diseases and weight loss, if they reach plants, animals and bodies of water while lying in a landfill. Even newspapers and paper products that contain ink can be toxic to the ground, too.

Air Contamination

Any type of trash that contains harmful chemicals, such as acid, oil and bleach, can diminish the quality of air, if burned. Over time, these chemicals can build up and continue to damage the already depleted ozone layer. These toxic substances can also contaminate the air that we breathe, causing health risk. Methane gases can also come from garbage that is not properly disposed, further destroying the earth’s atmosphere and worsening the already devastating effects of climate change and global warming.

These are just two of the effects of improper garbage disposal. The bottom line is that humankind should exert all effort and use all resources to ensure the appropriate disposal of trash all over the planet. One of the most effective ways to address this issue is through recycling.

What makes recycling an effective and important way for the proper management of waste? Let us take a look at its advantages and disadvantages.

List of Advantages of Recycling

1. Recycling saves the Earth.
Recycling can help minimize the cutting of trees, which are used to make paper. So, by cutting less trees and producing more recycled paper, we preserve the environment for future generations. Besides that, conserving forests will help the environment. This is because trees are known to improve air, prevent floods and provide raw materials and nourishment.

2. Recycling conserves energy.
Processing raw materials that come from trees and other natural resources takes more energy than recycling materials. Recycling paper takes less energy than make new paper products from trees. Even transporting these materials from their source takes a significant amount of energy. So by opting to recycling, we are minimizing the use of energy, which can also decrease pollution, minimize health risk and help the economy.

3. Recycling helps in mitigating global warming and in reducing pollution.
If industrial companies recycle, greenhouse gas emissions from their factories and plants will be lessened. The use of fossil fuels that also emit such harmful gases will be minimized, as well. And by recycling non-biodegradable waste, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced.

4. Recycling minimizes waste products placed in landfills.
A lot of the waste materials thrown in landfills all over the world are composed of non-biodegradable products, which take a long time to decompose. But by reusing or recycling stuff, there will be less waste materials that tend to overflow from landfills over time, causing harm to the environment.

Another problem that will be addressed by recycling is the landfills getting filled up. When that happens, all rubbish will overflow into the ocean or the ground, contaminating the waters and the surrounding areas, as well as endangering all living things that come into contact with the waste.

5. Recycling can help you save money.
There are companies that pay cash for your trash. You can sell old water bottles, electronics and other things to them and they will give you money in exchange. Aside from that, patronizing recycled products saves you money because they are less expensive. Of course, you can reuse some of the trash you have at home to further lessen your expenses.

6. Recycling can reduce the need for allied activities like transportation and mining.
Such industries are the biggest producers of greenhouse gases and pollution. If the need for fresh materials is lessened due to recycling, there will be a lesser need for such activities, as well.

7. Recycling spreads awareness for the environment.
Recycling is just the start of a revolution that will help preserve this planet for our children’s children. Once people start to be accustomed to recycling, they will gain more eco-consciousness, encouraging them to participate in other environmentally friendly activities.

List of Disadvantages of Recycling

1. Recycling tons of garbage will require separate factories.
This could result in more pollution and energy consumption for cleaning, sorting, storing and transporting waste materials. The need for extra bins for different kinds of trash will also be needed. This can equate to more trucks to pick them up, increasing air pollution.

2. Recycling will produce pollutants, including chemical stews after breaking down the waste materials.
This can hurt the environment further, if not planned well.

3. Recycling is not always cost-efficient.
In fact, it can result in net loss year after year. The cost of putting all the junk in landfills will only cost $50-$60 per ton, while recycling will cost around $150.

4. Recycling can increase low quality jobs.
These include sorting garbage, cleaning toxins and doing other manual and intensive labor. This can result in low morale, low income and poor quality of life in a community.

5. Recycling can create more environmental problems, if not done right.
Collecting garbage on a daily basis may leave debris on the streets and recovery sites, rendering these places unhygienic. Aside from that, recycling companies might abandon dump sites and leave harmful chemicals to contaminate the land and the environment.

6. Recycling does not guarantee good quality products.
Bleaching is required to recycle paper, which involves a harsh chemical that is not only harmful to people but also to the environment. But there is no guarantee that the products will be of good quality.

7. Recycling can give people a false sense of security.
Many opponents of recycling argue that recycling is only the first step of many towards preserving the environment. This is because they believe that the only real benefit of recycling is slowing the damage from human folly. They also believe that unless humans really know the extent of the damage of waste, recycling will remain of little value to a lot of people.

Just like other things, there are those that agree with recycling and there are those who don’t. The decision to recycle depends on your belief whether it is beneficial to the environment or not.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.