Recycling is energetically expensive. Transporting the materials back and forth from the processing center requires fuel, as does manufacturing them into a usable form. This contributes to global warming. Additionally, some recycled materials have lower quality than fresh materials. For example, you can only recycle paper so many times before the quality is too poor to use. Nevertheless, recycling is generally much less energetically expensive than making the product from scratch, and is an important part of sustainability.
I think one of the major disadvantages to recycling is simply that it is easier to throw things away. Recycling takes time and energy that a lot of people are unable to devote to the cause. If recycling were more accessible, I am sure that a lot more people would participate.
A large disadvantage to recycling that occurs without many of us knowing is the fact that people recycle so much, the recycling facility can’t keep up. When this happens, the recycling products collected are simply regarded as trash and thrown in a landfill anyway. This alone wastes the efforts explained above like transport and facility operation etc.
Another disadvantage to recycling is when schools, business and so forth say that they recycle and the custodial staff throws everything away as normal without any thought of whats recycling or not. This wastes the time and energy to implement and the thoughts of those who acknowledged recycling in the first place.
I think one disadvantage that we don’t realize is that many people think that if they recycle, that’s enough. That they don’t need to concern themselves with reducing waste overall, or that they shouldn’t be looking for other ways to reuse things.
Another one is that many people don’t actually recycle correctly, but are happy that they at least put things in the recycle bin.
There is also too much energy put in to making products that do not last very long. Take plastic for example, how many people have bought a cheap plastic toy for a child, only to be thrown away after a few days because it is broken. Only about 5% of the plastic waste on this planet is recycled, the rest is either in land fills, burnt or in the Pacific Ocean. I think there are more advantages to recycling than disadvantages, it must only be improved.
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