With the environmentalists accentuating the benefits of recycling and demanding the garbage to be reprocessed, the cost of this process is what that plunders the minds of the governments and the recycling authorities. A debate is going on all over the world on whether it is viable to get the products recycled.
The protesters of recycling are of the view that it is a process that benefits only those in the related fields like the politicians, environmental activists, waste handling corporations, etc. to name a few. These people staunchly believe that the money spent on recycling can be diverted to the more needy requirements of the country for its upheaval.
However, the governmental agencies, environmentalists and the economists hold a different viewpoint over this action. In the purview of the environmentalists, its benefits envisage numerous elements that are to be scrutinized on the evaluation of the advantages of this process.
The economic costs pertaining to recycling revolve around the price of the garbage collection process, the cost of maintaining the landfills, and the expenses involved on the segregation and recycling of the recycles. The cost of selling the recycled products and the loss from the products that could not be marketed; all amounts to the cost in the eyes of the authorities taking up the responsibility.
These costs are then compared to the benefits that accrue in the form of reduced air and water pollution, reduction in the generation of greenhouse gases, minimization of hazards from the landfills, savings in the fossil fuels and natural resources, lower greenhouse emission, etc. besides the amount collected from the sale of the recycled products.
Comparing the cost with the benefit will reflect that the advantages far outweigh the cost of recycling the waste. In the United Kingdom, the Waste and Resources Action Program discovered that the attempt to recycle resulted in the reduction of 10-15 million tons of CO2, which itself speaks of the impact it has on the environment.
The initial attempts made by many state governments were met with a failure. In New York, for example, the recycling program did not fare the way it was expected during the launch. But, when the last of the landfills in the state was closed down, the switch to the private out-of-state landfills resulted in a huge blow to the revenue, making recycling the only profitable option.
To quote Michael Shapiro, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Solid Waste, “A well-run curbside recycling program can cost anywhere from $50 to more than $150 per ton…trash collection and disposal programs, on the other hand, cost anywhere from $70 to more than $200 per ton. This demonstrates that, while there’s still room for improvements, recycling can be cost-effective.”
Today many business undertakings respect the need for recycling for the benefit of the society. The efforts put in by companies engaged in hauling and demolition, who stress on getting the garbage segregated, differentiating the recyclates from the non-recyclable waste and transporting them to the end destination for a cleaner and safer earth is highly commendable. To conclude, let the earth be our measuring scale in guiding us in our decision for recycling.