What are the pros and cons of mandatory recycling?



  1. 0 Votes

    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.

  2. 0 Votes

    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.

  3. 0 Votes

    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. 

  4. 0 Votes

    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!

  5. 0 Votes

    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. 

  6. 0 Votes


    • Mandatory Recycling Laws are meant for keeping the environment clean and ultimately to reduce the global warming. For example, the ultimate objective of mandatory recycling laws enforced by San Francisco is to become zero waste by 2020.
    • Mandatory Recycling Laws help to save money that is spent for disposing trash and other waste materials.
    • Mandatory Recycling Laws classify the waste materials into recyclable, compost and trash and the trash alone is incinerated or land filled. Hence, a lot of land filling work is avoided and land filling space is saved and thereby landfills remain vacant.
    • By implementing mandatory recycling laws, environment pollution and the volume of garbage is reduced.
    • A well run recycling program is cost-effective, incurring a cost ranging between $ 50 and $ 150 per ton and the cost of trash collection and disposal program is estimated at $ 70 to $ 200 per ton.
    • Mandatory Recycling Laws prevents green house gas emissions and so people will live in a cleaner atmosphere and environment.
    • People following mandatory recycling programs are less susceptible to diseases caused by unclean environment.
    • More and more mandatory recycling programs create more and more job opportunities for the community.
    • Mandatory Recycling Programs have specifically targeted against plastics, paper, glass, steel etc.
    1. Plastic bags and other products that cannot be destroyed are harmful to human beings, animals, birds and fishes. Recycling plastics not only creates new products but also keep them away from land fillings and thereby prevent injuring the animals and other living beings.
    2. The composts produced by the mandatory recycling programs in San Francisco is used in organic soil and sold for local farms and vineyards. At each home recycling food materials into compost can be used for gardens.
    3. Recycling glass prevents people from getting injured.
    4. Recycling steel creates a new product, besides decreasing the demand for new mining of iron ore and thereby a natural resource is saved.

    However, Mandatory Recycling Laws have got their own disadvantages as follows:


    • US do not have a Federal Mandatory Recycling Law. Only a few states have enacted this law according to their own needs and environment. For example San Francisco, through its mandatory recycling program has made recycling as well as composting compulsory; whereas other states like Connecticut, Pittsburg, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle have their own Mandatory Recycling Laws covering both business and residential establishments. States like Florida have Mandatory Recycling Laws covering only business establishments. Hence, there is no uniformity in the Mandatory Recycling Laws followed by the US States.
    • Some experts are of the opinion that Mandatory Recycling Programs are costly and in fact it costs more than sending waste materials to land fills. In New York, the recycling of some waste materials like glass and plastic was proved costly than sending them to land fills. Hence, they immediately stopped recycling such materials. Only in the long run, they could recover from such financial loss caused to the exchequer.
    • Mandatory Recycling Laws have stringent provisions against those who are not co-operating for the programs. They have provisions for levying fine and even denying the service to the consumers who do not comply with the programs. For example, San Francisco has stringent provisions in its Mandatory Recycling Law calling upon the citizens to comply with its provisions before 2011.Other wise, they may have to pay fines.
    • Mandatory Recycling Laws provide only short term benefits to few groups of people, politicians and public Relations consultants, environmental organizations and waste handling corporations’ as wrote by John Tierney in New York Times Magazine and ‘it divert money from genuine social and environmental problems.’
    • Mandatory Recycling Laws by reducing or cutting down the costs in disposing waste materials, drives away many people out of work.
    • People may have to pay additional taxes as levied by the concerned state or municipality for implementing the mandatory recycling laws and programs.
    • If Mandatory Recycling Laws are implemented strictly, it may even drive or prompt the business or residential establishments to disguise instead of complying with mandatory recycling programs.
    • Mandatory Recycling Laws have provisions for levying fines from the consumers on the pretext of increasing awareness. San Francisco has even enforced a moratorium on levying fines until 2011.There are other ways to promote awareness.
    • In the states,where the mandatory recycling laws or programs are in force and implemented, consumers do not co-operate voluntarily,but they are forced to co-operate under the threat of fine.It does not augur well for a great democratic country.

    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.

Please signup or login to answer this question.

Sorry,At this time user registration is disabled. We will open registration soon!