I found this info about The True Cost of Recycling?

what do you guys think? I want to know how other people feel about what I just read thanks♥
The True Cost of Recycling
By Larry H. – 2007-04-13
Recycling waste uses double the energy consumption and causes twice the pollution from factories, trucks, byproducts etc.

Preparing the recyclable material uses more energy and creates as much waste and byproducts as using raw materials.

Lets take a look at a plastic pop bottle for example and start at the beginning of the recycle chain.

The bottle is prepared for the recycle bin:

First the plastic bottle is washed, usually in the kitchen sink with running tap water – Water is wasted – Electricity is consumed to drive the pumps that supply the water to your home. Electricity is often produced by
burning either oil, gas or coal. These resources require mining, drilling machines, haulage etc. These machines are built from… (A bit like the old woman who swallowed a fly isn’t it?)

a) The pop bottle is then placed in a plastic recycle bin:

Factories with special tools and machines to manufacture the bins are needed – Factories and tools require steel and other minerals to be mined to construct them. A huge amount of electricity is needed to run the manufacturing machines in the factories. Dangerous chemicals are used in the process of manufacturing the plastic recycle bins, not to mention pollution and hazardous waste the factories produce.
b) The plastic bottle is taken to a recycle machine that crushes the bottle. Once again factories are built to manufacture the machines….(here we go again). Raw materials used in the process of creating the can and plastic bottle crushing machines include steel, plastics, lead, copper, paper, ink, computer boards and chips (The number of toxic materials needed to make silicon chips include – highly corrosive hydrochloric acid, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and volatile solvents like methyl chloroform, benzene, acetone, trichloroethane, and a number of super toxic gases. Electricity is consumed to power these recycle machines.

A special recycle truck picks up your recycle bin or collects the bottles from the depositing points:

Special trucks are need to collect the recyclable waste. More raw materials including steel, copper, rubber, paints, and plastics are used to build the trucks. The trucks need oils, grease, coolants and fuel to run
(these all have to be mined), not to mention the extra pollutants put out by exhaust fumes from the extra trucks on the road, (It has been said that diesel exhaust fumes are one of the top two most carcinogenic
substances known to man.)

The trucks deliver the recyclable material to a sorting factory:

Factories and machines are built to sort the various recyclable materials from each other, paper, plastics, glass, metals etc. Specially made separating, crushing and chipping machines (these all have to be purposely built for the job) process the recyclable waste to more manageable and usable sizes ready for transport and sale to factories.

The raw recyclable materials are transported to goods manufacturing factories:

The material is transported via trucks (more trucks on the road), trains, ships etc. (all requiring more resources to be built and to operate) to various factories that produce new goods from the materials. The goods are shipped to shops and ware houses to be sold and once their service life is over the chain starts again.

Recycling will not save trees because we are now replanting at least as many trees as we cut down.

But don’t we also recycle because of a shortage of landfill areas?

It has been calculated that a thousand years of garbage would only fill an area 35 miles square by 100 yards deep.

Recycling costs.

Practically all recycling programs run at a loss.

12 Responses to “I found this info about The True Cost of Recycling?”

  1. hipp5 Says:

    That article is absolute crap. It’s made up of purely subjective measurements. How can you claim "The True Price of Recycling" when you don’t calculate any prices.

    Every one of the "costs" associated with recycling occurs with raw materials as well (but to a greater degree).

    a) Oooo we might have to produce plastic recycling bins. What the hell are garbage bins made out of?

    b) Hmmm we had to crush the cans to make something new. What about processing the bauxite required to make new aluminum?

    c) Special trucks to pick up the materials? Hmmm I was under the impression that garbage needed trucks to take it away too. I guess I must be on drugs.

    Yes, there is costs associated with recycling (that’s why reduce and reuse come first). HOWEVER, when the WHOLE life cycle of a product is looked at, recycling ALWAYS comes out on top. Granted, some materials are better than others. Recycled aluminum only uses 5% of the energy as new aluminum. Recycled glass isn’t much better than new (95% of the energy). If you want a good article on it, National Geographic did one a few months back (sorry, I can’t remember the exact month).

  2. Kristin.E.Loves.Mj. Says:


  3. defunctzombie Says:

    You are going to find very convincing articles about both sides of the issue. The thing it, you have to decide for yourself which to believe and how to mix the opinions.

    I personally think recycling is worth it, but I’m not going to go out of my way just to recycle remote control batteries because you’re not supposed to throw them in the trash.

  4. FREDO FROG Says:

    everything costs, all recycling programs run at a loss are they suppose to make money ?\It takes 500billion years for a plastic bag to break down and bottles , so we will need more land fill also Recycling will not save trees but it will save us imagine if we did not recycle rubbish would overtake us plastic bottles , bags , tyres etc It has been calculated that a thousand years of garbage would only fill an area 35 miles square by 100 yards deep
    not sure where that came from go to india and the poorer countries and see how much land they loose because they don’t recycle if we don’t clean up our home we won’t have one

  5. Attorney Says:

    Its bunk… it contains absolutely no quantitative data (e.g. numbers or figures) and contains only qualitative descriptions (e.g. simple descriptions of the steps)

    You can write a similar prose about the life cycle of a plastic pop bottle when it is made from virgin plastic that comes from petroleum.

    For instance part of its states: "The pop bottle is then placed in a plastic recycle bin: Factories with special tools and machines to manufacture the bins are needed – Factories and tools require steel and other minerals to be mined to construct them. A huge amount of electricity is needed to run the manufacturing machines in the factories. Dangerous chemicals are used in the process of manufacturing the plastic recycle bins, not to mention pollution and hazardous waste the factories produce."

    The issue is that the SAME or SIMILAR factories produce GARBAGE CANS and without recycling we will need more garbage cans. The same can be said for the picking up recycling.. less recycling more garbage pickup, etc.

    Therefore the author is not calculating any costs.. he is not reviewing the benefits of recycling and apparently is not concerned with the benefits only exaggerating the negatives.

    The above said.. not all things are cost effective or energy effective to recycle. However, certain things are very cost effective to recycle — take many metals such as aluminum and copper. And it is very cost effective to recycle when you realize that many things, like lead and mercury and other hazardous materials, are very toxic and dangerous when they leach from landfills!!!

  6. OHoh Says:

    The answer you get will depend on how you work it out!

    I agee with some of the article, but not all. For example, I agree that there are costs associated with setting up and then running a recycling facility, but the most glaring flaw in the article is that it does not analyse what costs are saved. The article is completely one-sided.

    Machines that crush, break, melt etc etc don’t always have to be built from new – existing ones can be used or modified for the purpose. This happens all the time anyway through regulations versus corporate pressures (i,e. abilty or potential to change; need to make a profit etc) which impact on the pace of change.

    The most recent Europe-wide laws mean that every step in a chemical process has to be accounted for and weighed-up against the costs (socio-economic analysis). Cost-ineffective measures are dropped even if the original proposals had merit.

    The article suffers from an over-eager and over-simplistic argument against the subject of recycling. I hope the above paragraphs, which are by no-means exhaustive, show this and support my point stated at the start of my reply.

    Finally, consider the concept of Freecycle. You can argue whether this is recycling or simply extending use, but if you regard it as recycling then there is a cost associated with it too. Folk use energy to power a computer (which they would have had to buy which someone would have had to build that someone else designed etc etc). Folk also spend time to send e-mails and then actually travel to collect items and in doing so use up fuel and calories! Just like the article in question this is a biased assessment of the issue, as it does not consider what is saved (money and energy that would have been spent on buying a new item; fuel, time and energy to dispose of the item – and to be consistent in this case would you factor in the fact that you use a car that somebody has had to build that etc etc? : – ) More importantly, however recycling puts back into that limited pot the raw materials needed to make products again, which would not need to be imported and so on.

    As for neatly containing 1000 years of garbage in 35 square miles – I invite anyone to come to Rhyl anyday of the week to see how much area one shopping bag full of waste covers after the seagulls get hold of it. The local council in its (lack of) wisdom won’t issue waste bins in some areas – which proves how bad a situation can get if it is not managed properly.

    The fact is that it is common sense that recycling (and extending use) and conservation of resources is a good thing and should be encouraged. It doesn’t necessarily require a thesis.

  7. Gina M Says:

    And the alternative is … what?

    We’d all be better off if plastics cost as much at point-of-purchase as they do in the long run, instead of basing the price on initial manufacturing costs. More would reconsider because it’s easier to calculate personal investment than an environmental one.

    Buy everything you can in glass containers to do your part.

  8. Ross T Says:

    I don’t think the author is seeing the big picture.

  9. John M Says:

    I disagree with this writer.

    I don’t think he has first hand experence with the system.

    Recycling doesn’t uses double the energy consumption and causes twice the pollution from factories, trucks, byproducts etc. it cuts that by about 25 %.

    If you recycle 50% of the plastic and you have to landfill the other 50% you have saved the cost to bring up and refine the oil used to make the plastic, the equipment to haul the oil from point A to B to C to D to use. to mold and use.

    plastic is cleaned in some homes and not in others. it crushed in a press into a block of plactic that is 4 x 3 x 4 ft. this is so it can be shipped in a trailer for max. space useage.

    It is ground up and melted down, the slag off the top cleans the plastic, the rest is burned up and sent up a stack and into a reburning chanber and then hit with water and flushed into a holding pond. This pond is a sealed pond and is cleand out and hauled off be used in the manufacturing of other products, i.e. concrete with fiber, i.e. plastic string.

    I agree special trucks pick up the recycled good from each business and home, but that is less garbage to the land fills, and the same amount of hours of useage on the trucks, just more trucks hauling less weight and shorter boxes, and larger areas covered in a day.

    As for the amount of land need to store upp 1000 years of garbage, he needs some help with his figures. NY city use to take out barges into the ocean and dump it ever day 6 days a week for over 100 years. We didn’t fill the ocean, but the clean up is still coming ashore.

    The size of a barage times the numbers of trips times the number of barges in 1000 years, 35 miles wouldn’t cover it!

    Not all recycling is at a loss. Look up the company in CA, that takes the trash for the Bay area out to I-5 south and to it’s company plant. It burns the trash, that is not recycled over a cover belt, the tires fuel the buners and the gas the turnines and the power it produces has lead other country’s to copy the idea for power production. Only water vapors get to the top of the stack. All of the steel is recycled and sold for car parts etc. the paper and cardboard are labor needed items but cheaper then cutting down trees and waiting 50 years for them to grow back.

    just a few of the idea’s he missed in his writtings.

  10. daughtersbestfriend Says:

    The article you found is sooo wrong!
    Does it make sense to recycle? The short answer is: Yes.
    "Consider the true cost of a product over its entire life—from harvesting the raw materials to creating, consuming, and disposing of it—and the scale tips dramatically in recycling’s favor. Every shrink-wrapped toy or tool or medical device we buy bears the stamp of its energy-intensive history: mountains of ore that have been mined (bauxite, say, for aluminum cans), coal plants and oil refineries, railcars, assembly lines. A product’s true cost includes greenhouse gases emitted in its creation as well as use, and pollutants that cause acid rain, smog, and fouled waterways."

    Our human footprint doesn’t end after we buy and consume things; the final impact occurs when we discard items – and we Americans discard four-fifths of a ton of trash per person, per year.
    After You Throw It Away
    If your trash goes to a landfill it will end up sealed in the ground. It won’t decompose much, if at all, because air and water can’t get in. “Most landfills are more like mummifiers than composters,” wrote Elizabeth Royte in ‘Garbage Land.’
    Pollution created by transporting waste to disposal areas also harms the environment. Trucks and trains used to move waste all create diesel exhaust, which contains nearly 40 toxic substances. Several organizations, including the EPA, have classified diesel exhaust as a probable or potential human carcinogen.

    The Benefits of Recycling
    Recycling avoids many of these impacts. When you recycle something, the item gets sorted and used to make similar items – aluminum cans, for example, contain about 41 percent recycled aluminum. It takes 95 percent less energy to make a can from recycled aluminum than from virgin bauxite ore.

    By using recycled materials, the manufacturer creates fewer greenhouse gases. Recycling also reduces climate change emissions from incinerators and landfills. “Recycling is a win-win in terms of global warming pollution,” said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council and director of its national solid waste project.

    Recycling—substituting scrap for virgin materials—not only conserves natural resources and reduces the amount of waste that must be burned or buried, it also reduces pollution and the demand for energy. "You get tremendous Btu savings," Hale says.

  11. BeWaterWise Rep Says:

    This is probably true for some products. I’d think the best way is to reduce and conserve resources and this takes away the issue of recycling. One rather scarce resource that could do with conservation is water. Water levels have been dropping all over the world and it is time we did a rethink on the way we consume water. To follow some simple yet inexpensive tips to save water visit http://www.bewaterwise.com/tips01.html

  12. imreallybored13 Says:

    wow. there are extreeeemely convincing storys on both sids. take yo pick!