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There is some debate about the costs of recycling and if it is more cost-effective than throwing out garbage. Michael Shapiro, the director of the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste, has said that curbside collection and recycling can cost between $50 to $150 per ton, while trash collection and disposal can cost between $70 to $200 per ton. However, NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg found that the city was losing money on glass and plastic recycling, so he eliminated the program, stating that the benefits of recycling were outweighed by the cost.
There are other things to take into consideration when thinking about the benefits and costs of recycling. Recycling across the nation, which accounts for 30% of all waste, saves more than five billion gallons of gasoline annually, which reduces the country’s dependence on foreign oil by 114 million barrels. Recycling also creates jobs; placing 10,000 tons of waste into a landfill creates six jobs, while recycling creates 36 jobs for the same amount.
As the above poster mentioned – the equation is not simply about cost of recycling vs. throwing trash out. The other “costs” are those involved with landfills and what happens to our waste once it’s taken from the curb. If people recyle, reuse and compost – the cost reduction overall is huge. It may cost more to recylce glass – however, glass can be recycled indefinitely, so we do not have the need to manufacture more. The fuel for the trash trucks and transportation costs overall need to be taken into account as well. Employment is another factor since recyling does create jobs which also createes increased tax base for that city/state.
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