Is Recycling Really What It’s Cracked up to Be?

Calgary, AB, Canada

Everyone seems to advocate for recycling, and it’s a widespread practice made standard in many businesses, institutions, and homes. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a closer look. What are some of the realities of recycling that you may not have considered?

Quality of Materials
An avid recycler might be quick to simply throw their paper, plastic, or metal product into the recycling bin and assume that the material will go to good use, but is it actually this simple? The truth is that the process of recycling doesn’t consistently result in a new product of equal quality, as many assume that it does. Eventually, that material will become less and less pure over time, becoming part of increasingly inferior items, until it no longer retains enough quality to be useful. At this point in the chain, it’s likely going to end up in a landfill. Its clearly not as ideal a process as you would expect!

Once increasingly prominent issue when it comes to recycling is cost. For one thing, manufacturers’ demand for higher purity in materials like paper is going up, and the revenue that recycling companies can gain from recycled materials is shrinking. That means that the net expense of running a recycling facility is becoming far less cost-effective. Meanwhile, the task of sorting recyclable materials is falling more and more on recycling plants, as people are rarely willing to do the sorting themselves. That puts the burden of labor — and the costs it comes with — on the recycling process. Why pursue methods that are only getting more expensive?

Cost and logistics often go hand-in-hand. Because of the resources, time, energy, and labour that the recycling process demands (especially when it comes to glass and plastic) the benefits in terms of both economics and environmental concerns are harder and harder to fully justify. When compared to the energy that can be produced through smart combustion of landfill waste, recycling just doesn’t conserve a net volume of resources that people tend to think that it does. There are popular assumptions, and then there are realities. It pays of to pay closer attention to the latter!

The case of recycling just goes to show you that the closer you look, the less straightforward things really are. Sometimes, instead of adopting popular practices, the tried and true ways of managing waste are best. Call Economy Waste at (403) 888-5483 so you can do things right!