The Value of Recycling

The CBS News Segment on recycling raises a good question about the value of recycling. The value of recyclingIn fairness, 1.5 minutes is a tough way to condense a story. So, I have no issue with the facts as they were presented…

Nonetheless, there is much more to the question of recycling value.

Recycling has a value that transcends the question; is a town making money on their recyclables?

There are several elements of this discussion that are just too time consuming for a news report; These include:

  1. The fact that for every ton that is recycled, there is an avoided cost of disposal that can exceed $184/ton….Thus, even if the cost to market some recyclable materials is as high as $50/ton, there is still value in the process.
  2. The environmental benefits of reduced air and water pollution, plus a net savings in energy saved by recycling a ton of raw material rather than using virgin material has significant value that traditional economic models do not account for when recycling and disposal are compared against each other.
  3. How can it possibly make sense to bury raw materials that can be remade into high value items and then go out and search for more virgin raw material?
  4. One of the biggest issues with recycling today is a lack of quality. People simply put too much of the wrong thing into the recycling container. This is a function of education, education and more education.
  5. Manufacturers simply do not design for recyclability in enough of their products..in effect, they are shifting the handling costs for these materials to taxpayers who fund recycling programs.

Each of these issues requires much more time to discuss than even this blog can provide. The most important thing to remember is that:
Recycling has value; both monetarily and environmentally…and that value when combined, exceeds the monetary costs…

Watch the CBS News video segment:
Low Oil Prices, Improper Disposals At Recycling Centers Could Hit Taxpayers Hard

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