Why recycling is good for the economy
“Recycling,” a term that has exited for many years has gained substantial popularity in the recent past due to the disastrous consequences of pollution and global warming. Simply, recycling is the process of breaking down waste materials into their original constituent elements and using them to manufacture new ones. Diminishing supply of raw materials coupled with the threat of global warming has forced many manufacturers to consider recycling as a viable source of raw materials. Recycling has significant economic benefits such as conservation of resources and energy, reduction in pollution, creation of jobs, and generation of revenue.
The first benefit of recycling to the economy is that it facilitates the optimal use of resources. Considering that extensive exploitation of natural resources has contribute to pollution and destruction of natural habits, and the diminishing of these resources, recycling enables the processing of used materials into new raw materials that can be used to manufacture new products (Martchek 6). Through recycling, wasteful use and consumption of raw materials will be prevented and in the process pollution and will be reduced. The reduction in pollution has additional benefits. Forts, it will reduce the cost of cleaning the effects of pollutions such as oil spills or air pollutions. Secondly, diseases such as cancer that are caused be pollution will be reduced, which in turn lowers the cost of medical costs to individuals and to the government. Another related benefit of recycling is that it lowers the cost of waste disposal (New Jersey WasteWise Business Network 5). Disposing waste is a costly process, but through recycling communities can save money and space that is used to create landfills. This space can be used for other beneficial purposes other than for dumping wastes.
Recycling helps in the reduction of costs by offering new sources of raw materials. When raw materials are recycled repeatedly, the costs of extracting and processing raw materials will be lowered significantly. When manufacturers save costs by using recycled raw materials, they passed these savings to consumers in the form of lower prices. The value of a product is recreated through recycling; therefore, the cost of buying a new product is lowered. Another related benefit of recycling to the economy is that it saves money since it is cheaper to manufacture a product from a recycled material compared to new raw materials (European Environment Agency 4). For example, it is cheaper to use recycled steel rather than buying new steel.
Recycling also has the benefit of helping in the creation of new businesses. Recycling will give rise to processing, transport, and selling business that deal in recycled products. As these businesses develop and advance as more industries turn to recycled produce as sources of raw materials, more job opportunities will be created leading to reduction in the levels of unemployment that have continued to rise. It is approximated that recycling will create 11 new additional jobs for 1000 tones of waste material.
Lastly, recycling benefits the economy through creation of new avenues of revenue generation. If there is a market for recycled raw materials, the return on investment from recycling will be higher compared to other industries. With the increasing concern over pollution and global warming, the recycling industry is bound to grow (Martchek 23). The recycling industry will be creating value for wastes products and at the same time generating additional revenue.
Despite the benefits of recycling to the economy, there are related disadvantages of recycling. One of the downsides of recycling is that it may not be cost effective. There will need to create distinct factories to process reusable materials and contribute to additional pollution due to cleaning, storage, and transportation of these products. Another downside is that recycled products may not be durable. Since waste products are picked form heaps, the quality of products manufactured from recycled materials may be poor and the products may not last long. This will lead to need for additional recycling of extraction of new raw materials. Recycling is also associated with unhygienic and unsafe recycling sites. Some wastes have harmful chemicals and recycling may lead to contamination of water sources due to leach formation. Recycling may also endanger the lives of people conducting the recycling process (European Environment Agency 7). Lastly, recycling is always small-scale in nature, which means that it will take time before it becomes a successful and reliable source of raw materials. There will be continuous need to extract raw materials since recycling cannot satisfy the industrial need for raw materials.
In conclusion, recycling is a viable source of raw materials that has significant economic benefits. Since pollution and global warming are becoming realities that threaten human existence, recycling offers the most practical source of raw materials. Recycling will lead to the creation of new business tat will create jobs and additional sources of revenue will be provided by the recycling industry. Although recycling has related drawbacks such as not being cost effective, lack durability of products made from recycled materials, and limited nature in terms of scale, its economic benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
European Environment Agency. Earnings, jobs, and innovation: the role of recycling in a green economy. EEA Report, 2011. www.eea.europa.eu/...jobs.../download
Martchek, James. The importance of recycling to the environmental profile of metal products. Fourth International Symposium on Recycling of Metals and Engineered Materials, 2000. https://www.alcoa.com/global/en/.../importance_of_recycling.pdf
New Jersey WasteWise Business Network. The Economic Benefits of Recycling and Waste Reduction – WasteWise Case Studies from the Private and Public Sectors. 2013 (Updated 2015). www.state.nj.us/dep/dshw/recycling/.../casestudy2013.pdf