The Environmental Standpoints Of Recycling Environmental Sciences

Essay add: 14-11-2017, 16:06   /   Views: 67

Economics of Recycling - Recycling has always been seen as being Green. The average person does not realize there is a cost to recycling. Determine the cost (economics, environmental, and social) to recycling various materials, plastics, metals, paper, glass, etc.


Recycling does not only have economic casts but similarly important environmental and social costs. Each product should be reused as many times as possible while reduction in consumption would take place. It is necessary to get rid of our habit of using disposable products. Instead, the society should aim for lower waste production.


The objectives of this research paper are to show and prove the environmental standpoints of recycling and the overall costs involving economic, environmental and social practices. After completing significant research through the biblical references shown in this paper and analyzing recycling at its many levels and forms an appropriate conclusion can be made to support the following thesis:

"Recycling does not only have economic casts but similarly important environmental and social costs. Each product should be reused as many times as possible while reduction in consumption would take place. It is necessary to get rid of our habit of using disposable products. Instead, the society should aim for lower waste production. "

When completing this research essay it is apparent that recycling is the process of re using societies materials so that is can be either used again or made into something else. This continual process is not only a material saver and cost friendly practice, but it also saves the environment as well. Pollution and many other harmful environmental circumstances can be eliminated with the use of recycling.

There are many forms of recycling and many different materials being restored that are described in detail below. Examples of materials being recycled include: paper, plastic, glass, ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, electronics, batteries, aggregate and oil. The final section of this report demonstrates the costs of recycling. Three areas are explored and they include economic, social and environmental costs.

In conclusion recycling is a necessity for our planet to stay alive. Society as a whole has to continue to re - use materials and reduce our overall consumption. If individuals practice their own recycling methods it will also improve our environmental standpoint. Recycling is an important role and needs to be taken more seriously before serious consequences arise.


According to the online dictionary recycling is describe as "to treat or process used or waste materials so as to make suitable for reuse." The treatment of waste products can be seen as the action of gathering materials at the end of their life, when they are seen as trash, and put them back into a new life in form of another product. Consequently this definition is describing waste materials as trash that will be processed and turned into new products that can be used again.

The Earth has been used as a sink for the outlet of pollution from the beginning of mankind and especially since industrialization in 18th century. The planet has also been used as a dump, meaning that mankind have been producing waste and trash which have been left in the nature. Therefore the environment has been affected without much consideration before.

The word recycling brings often house hold waste to peoples mind. It is the by-product of every day usage of common material such as plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, paper and similar goods and products. However, one important aspect of products that can and should be recycled was forgotten; the industrial waste. The actual manufacturing of these industrial products creates huge quantities of waste that causes environmental problems. As a consequence of environmental pollution, the benefits and costs as part of recycling process must be evaluated at the production level.

Evidently both production and consumption of recycling gives us many affects when it comes to the world surrounding us. In addition to the important environmental issues such as reduce pollution it is also important to remember to consider the use of natural resources and energy. Try to use resources and energy efficient because these assets are not unlimited but rather scarce.

BENEFITS OF RECYCLINGConservation of resources

It is well known fact, that mankind is developing at rapid rate and using more and more natural resources part of this process. However, many of these resources are non-renewable like coal, natural or gas which are not found in high quantities in long run term. They are not able to recreate or renew in short amount of time as we would need them to do so but instead it takes thousands of years. A way of conserving natural recourses must be found to achieve sustainable development and so granted a good life for future generations. Formation of new products needs a lot of energy in terms of heat, electric power or fuel for transportation. Recycling process can avoid using these natural resources to some extent.

In the case where natural resources are being used as the base materials for production of new products, by using the already recycled or reused material, we lower the consumption of the natural resource. Even when small portions of products are recycled it can save a lot of natural resources and cost connected to their manufacturing. For example, in the USA more than 70% of iron is being recycled what turns to save more than 50 million metric tons iron ore in one year.

Conservation of energy

The use of energy works on the same principles like conservation of resources. Less energy is needed when less manufacturing is needed. Moreover, in some cases like recycling aluminum requires only 5% of the energy and produces only 5% of the CO2 emissions as compared with primary production and reduces the waste going to landfill. Aluminum can be recycled indefinitely, as reprocessing does not damage its structure. In fact it is the most cost-effective material to recycle. Of course, some recycling processes would use much more energy than the actual production of product but because of that this kind of recycling is not being used on big scale. The example can be different kinds of electrical batteries. To separate each kind and adjust the recycling process accordingly would be very energy inefficient and therefore it is not done today.

Pollution reduction

Waste management can significantly reduce the pollution by applying the motto reduce, reuse and recycle. However, it is also up to people to change their mentally of reusing and recycling

By redaction of needs for new material that can be subsidized from recycled or reused material, less direct manufacturing is needed. Moreover, if people would consume less we would help reduce pollution as the output of manufacturing of new products. All of the manufacturing processes use energy that creates pollution either from machining or processing. There are additional risks for creating more pollution in the fabrication process where hazardous materials are being used.

The continuous daily habit of creating and buying more of one time use products instead of recycling or reusing creates more waste and more pollution. Any kind of trash dumped on the landfills contains poisonous gasses that get in the air, water and soil.


There are many products that can be recycled these days and many are but because of the complexity of the waste it is not an easy task. Below are some examples of products that are recycled relatively easy.


Paper is number one material that is thrown away as trash. Approximately 33 per cent of garbage is paper. On the other hand, it is the one of the most recycled product from non industrial production since it is relatively easy to turn waste paper in to a new paper product. Paper waste that is going to be recycled is called scrap paper similar like scrap metal and it does not matter what kind of paper it is. Almost any kind and color of paper can be recycled. Papers that have wax, paste, or papers that are coated with plastic or aluminum foil are usually not recycled because the process is too expensive. Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that for formation and whitening of the paper in recycling process dangerous chemicals to the environment are being used.


Society uses plastic more often from day to day. It is made out of oil with different materials added to created soft or hard plastic with different properties. The big problem rise when it comes to recycling it since not all kinds of plastic are recyclable. Only very few are and even if it can be recycled it cannot be recycled into the original characteristics. Generally, lower forms and qualities of plastic are being created when being recycled.


Glass is used to package many foods like juices, baby food but mainly in windows glass production because of its strength and see thru property. Because of it various use in everyday file like plastic it makes up about six percent of trash by weight, two percent by volume. It is relatively easy to recycle glass since the process old glass recycling needs 40% lower energy amounts than manufacturing it from new. The problem rises up from different kind of glass products which have different glass properties. Each kind has its own recycling procedure and therefore only small amounts of glass are turned into new products. The glass is in most cases not recycled but reused for example like bottles what is even more economical and environmental friendly.

Ferrous material

Steel is the most recycled metal. We recycle huge amounts of steel from cars, appliances, old buildings, and bridges. Today, all steel products are made with some recycled steel. It is mainly because it takes about 60 percent less energy to make steel from recycled materials than it does from iron ore. That's why today's steel makers always use some steel scrap to make new steel products.

Non-ferrous material

Aluminum is one of the most common non-ferrous materials that is being recycled in high amounts all over the world. At the same time it requires large amounts of electric power in its production and purification. Approximately, recycling one kilogram of aluminium saves up to six kilogram of bauxite, four kilograms of chemical products and 14 kWh of electricity.


Electronics is used every day of our life and no one can imagine life without them. This case creates big problems when it comes to the end of the life time of the products. According to the Greenpeace organization approximately 20 to 50 million tons per year of waste come from electronics, it is also called an e-waste. Each product is complex and contains many different elements. Before any recycling process starts, all products must be disassembled and materials must be separated. Some of them are lead, cadmium, or other toxic material. These materials are harmful to the environment but can be easily recycled and reused in many new products. The materials that can't be recycle ends up in landfills but in much smaller quantities than the product was originally made out of.


Batteries in waste management represent a lot of problems since they contain mercury and cadmium that can be potentially dangerous to the environment. Moreover, there are too many kinds of batteries on market therefore it is hard to recycle them. Only the auto lead-acid based batteries are recycled while the process is simple and environmental friendly.

Aggregates and concrete

Used aggregates or concrete can be easily reused or recycled in production of new concrete by replacing used rocks. Special crushed machine is being used to transform bigger concrete blocks into smaller sized parts. Thus recycling or better said reusing process does not require damaging of the nature by digging up new rock and deforestation.


Oil can be simply reused after cleaning in a variety of ways. Most is processed for use in asphalt plants, industrial and utility boilers, steel mills and other facilities. Some is re-refined for use as a new generation of motor oil or as fuel oils. The rest is used in specially designed space heaters in automotive bays and municipal garages. The oil helps these types of facilities reduce their heating costs. This practice, however, is not recommended for home use.

Biodegradable waste

Biodegradable waste or also called organic waste consist waste from kitchen, garden and organic green waste. This kind of waste has high nutrition form and can be easily composted in to fertile topsoil. The process does not have to be done by collection programs on large scale but simply at household level on small scale.


There are many direct and indirect costs involved in recycling waste management. The direct costs are collaborated in collection, separation and the recycling process itself. These economical costs are high since whole recycling infrastructure must be build for the recycling process to work. On the other hand indirect costs are often not considered. Without recycling we would produce more waste what would need more landfills since they are limited on space and the amount of trash they can hold. Moreover, it is very expensive to run them since many government regulations apply to their maintenance and operation functions. In a long run turn the cost of landfills will be only higher since more of the usable land will be taken away.

From future perspective, it might be economical more feasible to recycle when there will be a shortage of natural resources. The resources would be more expensive and therefore the cost of recycling might be lower than the costs of new manufacturing production. Also new more efficient technologies must be considered in future developments.

Environmental costs

There is a big discussion if recycling of some products is even environmentally beneficial. The recycling process requires a lot of energy since the waste products must be collected; pollution is created from transpiration and separation. Moreover, the recycling process, turning old material into new, uses a lot of energy as well.

Some people recycle paper since they want to overcome deforestation but in fact trees are renewable source of energy. The raw materials for products we recycle like paper, glass, steel, and plastic can be found in large quantities today and most like there won't be any shortage of them in future. Glass is made out of sand which it the most abundant element on the earth. Similarly, aluminum and steel that is made out of iron ore contributes by 13% to the Earth's crust. In contrast to this argument, if at least the same amount of energy is needed to recycle than to produce new items it is illogical no to recycle. Electrical energy contributes to pollutions unless it comes from renewable energy like sun wind or water. Therefore, if we need more energy to produce new product than to recycle even if the process is expensive it is the correct environmental way to proceed.

Social Costs

Recycling is mainly popular in developed countries where people separate plastic, cans, plastic and sometimes biodegradable waste. It is done in believe of reduction of the use of raw material and pollution. Moreover, lower amounts of garbage go to landfills this way where they could damage air, water and soil resources by releasing dangerous elements.

Those were the positive believes of recycling what people have. However, more often people start to ask question if recycling is beneficial form the economical point of view, is it worth to save energy over new material production. Also why some different kinds of materials are recyclable at other parts of the world? It is impossible for people to recycle products them self and because of that they depend on the recycling process that is provided in their area. This way sometimes the costs might add up to be higher than to produce new product from raw material.

In some sense, recycling is smart and creative way for humans to deal with produced trash. When looking at the social reparations of recycling there is one major question to consider: whether the input needed to recycle, including the energy used in collecting and transporting the materials, will result in using less net energy then that is used in the processing and production of new materials used to do the same operation. Also do the jobs created by the recycling industry balance the losses caused by the decreased demand for new materials.


Throughout this report, benefits and costs connected to recycling of different materials had been addressed. Recycling had been defined as a reprocessing of old material into new one while smaller amounts of raw material and energy are being consumed. Energy and pollution saved from recycling can help humanity in development of sustainable environment for future generations. One has to relieve that we start to use too much of natural resources and obese nature.

Furthermore, as the population is dramatically growing, the dependence on new technologies and the change of the mentality about recycling will have to change. Otherwise, there will be increase in the mounts of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere , contamination of water resources like seas and underground waters. Many techniques of human life will have to change but recycling will be playing a major roll to avoid the above mentioned problems. For this purpose, large campaigning and public programs already exist to inform the people about the ways how to save nature. Recycling is only part of these programs since a lot of importance goes to reusing and reducing of material as a preventing process of any waste creation from the beginning.

Reusing is a process in which product lifetime is being expanded, ideally to the maximum. It can be done by different methods; finding a new purpose of old product, yoga mat can be reused as sleeping mat for animals; extending life time of a product like clothes that can be given away and then being used again; buying products that has more than one time use or have multipurpose use; trading products for the one we need at the moment; repairing old products so they can be used again. However, in modern society these methods are not being applied too often. Therefore, the best way how to extend items lifetime today is to buy a products that are made out of durable material that last longer.

As a result of recycling and reduction of the waste we don't only save time and money but also our environment by lowering pollution production and lowering natural resources use. Moreover, with the future development of more modern recycling technique that would be more economical and environmental efficient the social question of the cost of recycling and cost of the use of natural resources would be answered


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Article name: The Environmental Standpoints Of Recycling Environmental Sciences essay, research paper, dissertation