Humanity has advanced so much in terms of technology, society, and culture. It is necessary; we need to advance as we live in a world that has become more complex by the day. Unfortunately, we are abusing nature for this advancement. Our factories have emitted greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The need for timber and dwelling places resulted in the denudation of our forests. Our marine travel polluted seas. Our landfills contaminated groundwater. That is why we now have stronger hurricanes, more massive landslides, warmer climates, and escalated extinction; these are the consequences of damaging our world and the fragile ecosystems.
Astronomer Carl Sagan said in as commencement exercise in 1996 regarding a photograph titled The Pale Blue Dot (referring to the earth as seen by Voyager 1 6.4 billion miles away), we have “to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” How true. And one of the easiest ways to save our world is through recycling. Recycling is the reprocessing of old, used, and ready-to-throw materials into new products. In the past few decades, recycling has gained a lot of support. That’s because people have realized the benefits recycling contribute to nature. Furthermore, the effective promotion and awareness programs with regards to recycling have garnered even more support.
However, not all people are convinced that recycling is the way to get rid of the world’s garbage. Here’s why:
1) Recycling instigates environmental problems rather than reducing it. That’s because the processes and materials used for recycling are pollutants themselves. For example, filtering chemicals used for recycling paper are actually toxic. Ironic considering that recycling is supposed to save the environment. Indeed, critics say that recycling won’t matter since pollutants and waste sleaze their way into the recycling industry.
2) There isn’t any garbage problem; therefore, there is no need to recycle. Critics say that the garbage crisis is false propaganda. That’s because there are lots of areas that can be used as landfills. Also, landfills are easily treated and covered, and are cost effective ways to store garbage. The garbage problem, they say, is an overreaction.
3) Recycling gives us a false sense of security. Akin to the first reason, recycling causes harmful environmental impact. However, the false propaganda and massive information campaign makes people think that no harm is done when recycling. In effect, people will tend to buy more environmentally harmful products (such as plastic bottles or diapers), believing that they can be recycled anyway. This kind of thinking is called entitled consumerism.
4. Recycling actually hurts the economy. That’s because recycling equipment, chemicals, and processes are actually expensive. In fact, recycling, in some cases, is more costly than producing virgin products. Thus, the endeavor becomes an economic liability. Furthermore, recycling certain products is difficult and not always successful.
5. A steady supply of recyclable materials and a strong demand for recycled goods are needed for the endeavor to be fully viable. Government intervention is needed here.