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Recycling is promoted as one of the ways of conserving the environment and reducing wastage. Humans are decreasing Earth’s resources faster than they are being produced. In addition, we can expected that the supply of these resources will run out at some point in time and recycling can be used to reverse the effects. Reprcosseing use resources is vital for the preservation of future generations.
Recycling has many benefits to the environment regarding conservation of scarce resources but the leading cause of concern is how recycling is done. Recycling tends to focus on the benefits of reprocessing materials while ignoring that it can increases the waste that limits the amount of damage cause to the natural environment.
Recycling is essential to cities around the world. Critics argue that the use of recycling reduces the amount of pollution done to the environment by waste not being dumped in landfills. People view recyclable products as a way to decrease any future problems that can be caused from waste products being thrown away. In “Why is recycling important?,” the publisher, Veolia, argues that reprocessing waste or raw material, has become a significant impact on the amount of property needed for landfill space.
“When we recycle, recyclable materials are reprocessed into new products, and as a result the amount of rubbish sent to landfill sites reduces.” In other words, it states that recycling is beneficial because it decreases the number of soil contamination in landfills, which allows more space for other projects.. It mentions a concept of reprocessing materials that reduces any other environmental affect to others. For this reason, opponents argue that recycling is beneficial for society because it can provide a better future for new generations.
Though, it is true that reused materials can be an advantage, it is, however, the person’s way on how they decide to recycle products into the correct bins. People have the resource to find out what products can actually be recycled and what products can affect the environment even if they decided to recycle it. People have the choice to recycle for useful circumstances that will benefits the entire world or only use it for their own necessary to get rid of waste.
In order to enhance reused materials municipal governments across the states places millions of recycling facilities along the curbs and provides offices with millions of others to ensure there is the availability of waste collection facilities (aadland 2004). The notion that providing people with sufficient recycling facilities is the best course of action, howver, it has it’s downside that is often overlooked. It is supposed that people will intuitively be inclined to recycle when more options are provided to them than when there are minimal or inconvenient recycling resources.
unfortunately this is not always the case. It is plausible that availability of recycling options positively contributes to an increase in consumption of resources that recycling is meant to conserve. consequently there are unintended adverse results from making recycling facilities convenient and widely available. the adverse effects have been verified from results in a study conducted to ascertain the correlation between availability of recycling companies and consumption (catlin and wang 2012).
This results supported the research because test subjects were observed to have increased consumption of products that were free or which they did not attack the cost directly such as paper towels office paper. These materialls among others used in the study constitute a considerable percentage of goods that consumers use in offices and elsewhere and which the consumer does not pay directly. According to morgan 2006 an average office worker uses 10 000 pieces of paper annually.
Thedownside of recycling most consumers object to the idea of being wasteful andmost would gladly embrace recycling and other forms of environmentally friendly behaviour jesson and stone 2009 most if not all individuals have an innate desire to avoid waste and the guilt associated with wastefulness plays a significant role in determining the amount of a product that a consumer will use. Thus a person disposing of a product in a wasteful way or a non-designated area may experience guilt since he or she is aware that such material will result incontamination of the environment.
Naturally a person will have less negative emotions and guilt if recycling facilities lay all over and this would be interpreted as a green light to engage in wasteful consumption and disposing of a product. Therefore the availability of such facilities only leads to an increase in levels of use. The expected rise in consumption is in line with the rebound effect which states that a decline in costs occasioned with improved technological improvements may inadvertently lead to an increase in the demand of a product by the consumers. Consider a situation where advances in technology have led to a decrease in cost per mile. Naturally the driver will increase the number of miles travelled to offset the cost.
The same effect applies to the use of household energy such as air-conditioning heating among others. research should inform the procedure and methods used in implementing recycling to prevent theunintended increase in consumption that further depletes resources meant for future generations. recycling has often been performed based on the notion that it is good for the environment but neglecting surgical analysis of the downsides could result in severe consequences such as increased costs and manufacturers of disposable items promoting overconsumption as environmentalism morgan 2006 the latter is akin to a negative spill over. Environmentally responsible behavior can have a negative or a positive spill over. positive spillover is where an action to conserve the environment leads to unintended but positive reactions in a different area. A negative spillover takes place when one environmentally responsible behavior attracts a less desirable choice.
For instance the make available recycling bins policy gives a license to consumers of free products to consumer more. Consider a scenario of a person who is through washing his or her hands. The person is likely to use more towels if there is a recycle bin in thevicinity and less if there is none. The absence of a recycle bin would prevent the person from misusing the towels due to the guilt factor.
Also negative spillover could affect a person who undertakes neighborhood initiatives to conserve the environment by recycling. Such a person would see nothing wrong in using highcapacity heavy pollutants to transport waste products. the tendency to focus on the benefits of recycling has often overshadowed genuine concerns such asoverconsumption of free products or products that consumers do not pay for directly silverman 2008 companies can also stimulate overconsumption in thename of environmentalism. It is true that the availability of recycling bins promotes environmentally friendly behaviour and reduce consumption of some products.
However research findings indicate that consumers are unaware of thehidden costs associated with recycling such as sorting transportation energy andwater usage since they only focus on the positive aspects. Thus availability of recycling bins reinforces the belief that it is okay to the consumer beyond optimal as long as the product used will be recycled. In an experiment designed to gauge the effect that the presence of recycling bins had on consumption participants were given some scissors and pieces of papers. They were to evaluate the scissors in the presence in and in the absence of recycling bins. It was noted that more paper was used in the presence of recycling bins than when there was no recycle bin or when the number of recycling bins was low. Another point that was noted is the lack of green concern among the participants. Another experiment that mirrors the previous one was conducted in a more realistic setting and the results were the same.
The participants used more paper towels when a recycle bin was introduced. The researchers made sure that paper dispensers were full each day. The participants in the second experiment were unaware of the quantity of the product because the dispensers were not transparent. The experiment revealed an increase of 0.5 paper towels per individual. Annual paper towel usage per person in this restroom would increase by 12 500 for 250 days in a year considering the bathroom has an average of 100 users per day catlin and wang 2012 take the whole of united states and you will appreciate why it is important to use the evidence-based approach as opposed to sentiment to implement recycling.
The lab and field experiments by catlin and wang 2012 reveal beyond reasonable doubt that an increase in recycling options and convenience is based on a false assumption that consumers used a fixed amount of products regardless of whether or not the recycling option was available. In contrast it was found out that availability of recycling bins stimulated consumption of more products for which consumers did not pay anything e.g. Bathroom paper towels and office paper. thus recycling can increase disposable waste which will eventually end up in landfills once their useful life is over. consequently additional material for recycling will lead municipality or the involved parties to acquire more vehicles to transport the materials and these could contribute to pollution of the air.
An increase in waste inevitably leads to the need for more landfills and these contribute to a reduction in the value of property and pollution of the environment. This study is based on non-cost factors and it is a contribution to studies that involve costs such as rebound effect and spill over. Environmentalcosts of recycling recycling some products can be beneficial. Such productsinclude aluminum and tin cans that are difficult to make using virgin materials schmitz domagala haag 2006 products that do not merit recycling include plastics and glass because they are easy to make.
Unfortunately these form the bulk of materials that are recycled every day. Proponents rarely take into account the cost associated with carting away the products to recycling stations whose distance can be further away in comparison to a landfill. the process of recycling is associated with a life cycle that is distinct from the life cycle for the disposing or landfill process. recycling occurs in stages beginning with the collection of thematerial sorting process transportation to centres of recycling and reproduction. Some materials merit undergoing such a process because their benefit would offset the need to use raw materials but this is not always the case with others. Materials like aluminium have substantial environmental costs because bauxite and alumina must be used to produce one unit of aluminium schmitz et al. 2006 it would be prudent to recycle such materials where possible to avoid degrading the environment.
Materials that result in increased benefits to the environment are said to have a positive life cycle. Bimetal tin cans and papers are some of the examples because producing them from scratch is arduous. Recycling of plastics and glass is characterized by a negative lifecycle which is detrimental to the environment. Manufacture of glass and plastics from scratch is much easier. alsoraw materials are easier to transport than recycled products of the same. Plastics consume a lot of space and transporting them requires high capacity vehicles.
The transport of such materials takes place in urban where populations are concentrated and pollution by vehicles transporting such materials could have adverse health effects. recycling of disposable items as stated earlier gives an impetus to companies involved to perform a pr relation that is counterproductive since they often promote overconsumption in the name of environmentalism. Overconsumption results in an increase in waste as consumers dispose of mass quantities of these products in curbs and recycle bins every week.
The greatest financier of recycling is traded groups involved in glass paper and plastic industry according to statistics from environmental protection agency epa the plasticindustry in epa is represented by the society of the plastics industries spi and theamerican plastics council apc the plastics industry support recycling by and it ensures infrastructure is available to recycle plastics walker 2007 it also ensures there is a steady supply of materials to optimize the infrastructure. To achieve this it steps up efforts to compel consumers to get involved in the process of recycling through aggressive marketing techniques.
The unintended result is thatindividuals resort to consuming more than they would because of the marketing campaigns and availability of recycling facilities. Consumers get a false idea that it is all right to use more package items and disposable plastic goods since there are sufficient facilities to recycle the items. Moreover plastic companies use profits gained from recycling to promote overconsumption by using advertisements that allay guilt since adverts rarely use rationale. The consumerculture coupled with the business aspect of handling the recycling process is a major contributor to an increase in waste products and pollution-related activities westervely 2012 in past years when recycling was done with the motive to protect the environment less damage resulted from the activities.
Things havegone out of hand from the day recycling metamorphosed into a business entity. Like any commodity recycling is subject to the forces of demand and supply andit has gone global. Countries such as china that have a high demand for recyclables source their products from major suppliers such as the united states. The recycling business results in harm to the environment in several instances.
To begin with not all recyclables will end up being recycled in a factory and but will be disposed of in a landfill. besides some recycling companies horde the material when there is no demand leading to accumulation of excessive materials that eventually end up in landfills. Moreover an increase in entities with interest in the recycling business further leads to pollution of the environment. Normally citizens do not discriminate when disposing of products and things like bioplastics end up in the collection of recyclables even though they are not recycled morgan 2006 recyclers separate them from other plastics because they are treated as contaminants.
Contamination can easily occur if the polylactic acid pla the ubiquitous bioplastic in the market gets into the recycling stream. Such a bioplastic ends up in landfills thereby contaminating the environment. An increase in sources of waste due to overconsumption is directly related to the increasing in emissions. Epa reports that net greenhouse gas emissions have gone above theceiling for recyclables related to the newspaper medium density fibreboard aluminium corrugated cardboard and dimensional lumber due to an increase in sources.
Reports from a study conducted in oakland indicate that emission of specific particulates from recycling factories is causing pollution in affected cities.
Protests to force companies to shut down due to pollution areon record signifying the problem of superficially believing that recycling is thesole solution to waste problems. Recycling should be implemented cautiously to prevent compounding the problem of waste disposal. Regular checks should be done to find out if recycle bins are contributing to the accumulation of more waste and urgent action is taken to prevent escalation of the problem.
Epa should involve key players to help prevent misrepresentation of information regarding conservation of the environment. action should be taken against culpable financiers and advertisers that deliberately induce overconsumption with the aim of making more profits at the expense of the environment.
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