San Diego, San Francisco (their goal was to divert 75% of recyclables from landfills by 2010 and are currently at 72%), Seattle, and Pittsburgh have implemented mandatory recycling laws, and some states only require businesses to recycle. The pros include: it would reduce the amount of space needed for landfills, create a positive message for children, create green jobs, produces successful results (after Seattle implemented mandatory recycling in 2006, 90% of residents and businesses complied), and reduces air and water pollution. However mandatory recycling would be a tough push in America, and would be very costly and hard to implement. Mandatory recycling would require cities to have a budget and implementation plan. Opposers of mandatory recycling is imposing on their civil liberties and landfills are efficient.
Yes, the biggest con is that it isn’t exactly constitutional to force people to recycle. Everyone has civil liberties and are entitled to their own preferences as long as those aren’t illegal as well. To make people recycle would really, really upset a lot of conservatives, and could damage the environmental movement a lot.
Even though recycling is one of those obvious and easy things to do that are good for the environment, as john said, some would view a mandatory recycling law as unconstitutional. I think a better option is for local governments to be vigilant in encouraging individuals to recycle. In the town where I went to college, it was not illegal to not recycle, however fines were given out if recyclables were found to be mixed in with trash. Accordingly, trash bags must be transparent so as to be able to dole out fines. While this is not quite as drastic as making recycling mandatory, a fine is about as close as you can get.
Mandatory recycling has the carbon costs of recycling pickup, as well as the costs of recycling itself, instead of reusing and reducing, which are actually more energy efficient, beyond even the constitutional issues.
I hope this helped!
I think that one of the pros of mandatory recycling is that if recycling becomes mandatory, it will probably lead to other environmentally conscious actions. If recycling becomes something that people don’t really think about, like the way throwing out trash is now, then they will be more willing to put their environmental efforts elsewhere.
However, Mandatory Recycling Laws have got their own disadvantages as follows:
Even though on a cursory look, the mandatory recycling laws and programs may seem to be an intrusion on the personal liberty of a citizen, they are meant for the larger interest of the society, besides keeping the environment free from pollution and the people, hale and healthy.
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