General Question

Jeremycw1's avatar

Pros and cons of recycling?

Asked by Jeremycw1 (1367points) July 16th, 2011

I want to hear both sides… good and bad. What are the pros and cons of recycling? Cardboard, plastic, glass, etc. Thanks for your input!

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

17 Answers

Coloma's avatar

There are really no cons to recycling, but, there IS personal choice and the math of logic.

When I was married and raising a family I recycled a lot more than I do now as a single person with no kids at home anymore. I also no longer grow huge gardens so I do not compost.

I average about 5 aluminum cans a month and very little other recycle stuff.

What I DO still do, living rural, is toss all my organic stuff into the woods across the road from my house and what isn’t eaten by the wildlife simply composts itself.

Infact, just this morning I took a big bowl of watermelon and cantalope rinds to pitch and noticed a root ball from a transplanted Bamboo I cut down and tossed into the underbrush, is sprouting into a bamboo bush under the giant poison oak bush. haha

snowberry's avatar

I recycle all the time, everything I possibly can. In my old town they had the ability to recycle everything you can name- kitchen cabinets odds and ends of wood, tools, appliances, batteries, paper (they had 3 bins for different kinds of paper), 4 kinds of colored glass (green, brown, clear, and cobalt blue), computers and electronics, paint and hazardous waste, and on and on. Private companies offered curb side pickup.

The next place I lived offered minimal recycling because space was at a premium and they could not afford to store the stuff until they had a load, and even then it would have been too expensive to send it all the way to the main collection site. They did not offer curb side recycling.

Where I live now they are just getting started recycling, but there is a nice facility nearby, and the local trash folks offer to take your recyclables for a small fee.

Mamradpivo's avatar

I’m genuinely curious what anyone will post as a con for recycling. The only one I can think of is that recycling may increase consumption of junk foods since it’s so easy to recycle the container?
I know that most recycling uses a lot of energy, but it’s still less energy to recycle a glass bottle than to extract and manufacture a new one. Same goes for almost everything else..

snowberry's avatar

The only one I can think of (alluded to in my previous post) is that sometimes a recycling center is too far away to make recycling pay. In other words, sometimes it’s just too expensive in hauling costs and in storage costs to make it happen.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The only con I can think of is that not enough people take the time to recycle. If they did, it would make it more cost effective for those in the business.

laureth's avatar

@Mamradpivo – re “I’m genuinely curious what anyone will post as a con for recycling.”

I’m certain that eventually, someone will post a link to the Penn & Teller “Bullshit” episode about recycling. If they do, it maybe fun to see if one can verify the information found in it, as I could not, but the upshot is that the recycling process takes more energy and resources than just throwing that stuff away and starting with fresh material. The guy gives a bunch of numbers that I couldn’t corroborate with any facts found independently of the program. ;)

bob_'s avatar

Pro: it’s good for the environment.

Con: see here.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Con: Gives multinational corporations more materials with which to continue business for cheaper.

I’m more a fan of the “Re-use” part.

@Coloma Be careful with that bamboo. It can spread like crazy.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

You want to know what the con of recycling is? Space is the 1st one. If you live in a small apartment or some condo community you don’t have the space to store all of that. You will be taking it down to the recycle center often, and only getting a few bucks back out of it. Depending on where you have to drive you are barely covering your gas up and back, so unless you are doing it as a ”feel good” activity you are not making anything off doing it.

Very hard to do if you have space but no car. If you have the space to safe up quite a lot to get to a recycle center you have to have a way to get it there. A lot of mass transit around here will only allow so many bags to haul on its busses and commute trains.

If you do have a vehicle, it has to be the right vehicle. You can’t expect to get much in recycling in a sub compact unless you are willing to cram so much in there that you can only see out of your driver’s side window and the windshield. You don’t have a van, large SUV, or truck, it is very hard. Then you have to use a gas-guzzler just to haul your cans in, so you de facto offset any “green thinking” ideas you had because you are using a lot of gas just to go recycle the stuff.

The smell, unless you are going to take the time to rinse out all the cans and bottle you get the smell of many different soda and alcohol together and you might as well have a pet skunk who cannot hold its scent well. If you don’t have a large vehicle you are now exposing your car’s interior to that smell, drips, and other such stuff.

Then there is the time separating all of it and removing the caps. If you don’t like getting gunk all over your hands and clothes it is not for you.

Recycling is more for those who need it for the income. The garbage company here does all that, if you do not toss it in the recycle bin they provide the trash goes to a transfer station where workers pick through the garbage to remove hazardous items and the recyclable things. Since they have that job, and they would not have work if everyone recycled if I don’t have any friends or family that do recycle to give it to, and I am not going to hunt them down to give it to them, in the trash it goes and I go about my merry way. I don’t need the money that bad to waste time doing it.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Don’t most municipalities have recycling pickup now?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@incendiary_dan Yes, mine does. Most of the recycle goes in the bin, goes out to the curb once a week and the garbage company pickes it up and it is their problem. If I forget and a recycleable bottle or can ends up in there I am not going after it C’est la vie…...

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@incendiary_dan Where I live in a suburb of Memphis, TN, the only recycling pick-up offered is for yard materials, such as grass clippings, and branches. Anything else has to be done by the individual. There is a recycling center about three miles away, but even then, they have strict limitations as to what they accept. If there is an envelope that has a plastic window, the plastic needs to be removed. They do not accept the cardboard box that sodas and beer come in.

Ladymia69's avatar

Who says that the material that supposedly goes to recycling centers truly gets recycled?

snowberry's avatar

Regarding what @Ladymia69 said, Anyone here work at Walmart? Wanna go undercover for Fluther?

mattbrowne's avatar

It all depends on life cycle assessment. There are no cons for recycling in a future cradle-to-cradle economy. Today there are still some cons when life cycle assessments show more damage than benefit. For example driving recycled material half across a continent.

Nimis's avatar

Con: You start living like a borderline hoarder. Seriously.

Living in the bay area is awesome because there’s a facility to recycle or reuse pretty much everything. But there’s no insta-chute that delivers it from your home to their facilities. Besides recycling bins, we also used to have several boxes lined up against one wall that were labelled:
– Salvation Army
– East Bay Depot
– Urban Ore
– electronic recycling
– chemical recycling

When I was in-between runs, my car would sometimes look like it belonged to some crazy hoarder.
I used to work in a neighborhood where a lot of cars got broken into. Once they even broke into a car for a roll of quarters. I’d joke that no one would bother breaking into mine because it looks like it’s full of trash.

It’s not just the way your car looks like. You start having anxiety about throwing anything away. You watch Hoarders and wonder if your familiy’s going to have to dig you out of a mountain of trash someday.
Okay. This might be more of a Nimis problem than a recycling problem.

snowberry's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Excellent comments, but every recycle place I’ve ever seen requires you to rinse your cans and bottles out. If you don’t, it degrades the recycle-ability of the item. And they won’t clean it out for you. Instead they’ll just throw it away once they get it, which of course defeats the purpose,.

This goes for the grease on pizza boxes too.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther