Recycling has always been encouraged as a way to help the environment, but it also has its downfalls.
One problem that many people focus on with recycling are the emissions from the increasing amount of trucks used to pick up recycling.
However, this is not an established problem. To see if the recycling trucks have a negative impact on the environment, the amount being recycled and how much energy is being saved must be compared to the amount of emissions released by the truck. Only then can a decision, for that specific area, be made on whether or not recycling is bringing more harm than good. Plus, a city could switch to an electric or hybird truck type.
Another possible problem with recycling deals with the ink on paper products.
According to a 2005 article by the Education Development Center titled “Landfill vs. Recycling,” toxic chemicals are used to remove ink from newspapers before they can be recycled. These chemicals then end up in the environment, causing harmful effects on plants and animals.
The article explains how paper made from new wood releases more toxic chemicals than recycled paper. The article also said there is now an increase in soybeans being used for ink to reduce the use of toxic chemicals.
Another issue of recycling is the amount of energy used. Wood products, petroleum and aluminum all require a lot of energy to refine and reuse, which is why consumption should be reduced.
However, when aluminum is bought it is better to recycle it than throw it away. Recycled aluminum uses at least 75 percent less energy than making a new aluminum product from virgin materials.
Recycling one aluminum can can save enough energy to watch television for three hours according to the A Recycling Revolution Web page, www.recycling-revolution.com.
When looking at the reduce, reuse and recycle model it must be understood that it is a hierarchy model, and recycling is on the bottom according to Holly Myers an Environmental Studies professor.
People need to be aware that in order to truly help the environment they should reduce their consumption first, then reuse items that were necessary and finally recycle what could not be reduced or reused.
“Of course there are negatives to recycling, but the positives definitely out weight them,” Laura Winebarger, president of the Environmental Action Group.