Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /home/customer/www/ on line 1170

Warning: session_start(): Cannot start session when headers already sent in /home/customer/www/ on line 162

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/customer/www/ in /home/customer/www/ on line 1282

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/customer/www/ in /home/customer/www/ on line 356
What is the environmental cost of recycling plastic? - OneSharedEarth
Welcome to OneSharedEarth, where you can have questions answered about any environmental issue, supported with facts and research
0 votes
NOTE: This question is not about stopping to recycle, but promoting reuse & reduction of use of plastic.

It is a well known fact that recycling plastic is better for the environment than plastic going to landfill.
There is still an environmental cost of recycling as opposed to reuse or reduction of use of plastic.
So how resource intensive is recycling plastic for the environment?
in Plastic by (610 points)
recategorized by | 244 views

1 Answer

0 votes
While re-iterating that recycling is GOOD but reduction of plastic use is BETTER, here are the various costs of recycling plastics:
- Plastic needs to be cleaned to be recycled which requires water & energy, not to mention the general public's time.
- Plastic waste needs to be collected from homes which involves transport (emissions, etc.)
- Plastic needs to be sorted - not all plastics are the same. This may be done by machinery which has costs.
- In the UK, plastic is shipped to China (and other countries) for recycling which has associated transport costs. It is also reported that a lot of plastic may be incinerated, burnt or dumped into the ocean rather than recycled at its destination.
- Energy & machinery are required to recycle plastic, adding to the environmental cost.
- Water is needed for recycling - water scarcity is already an issue in parts of the world.
- Plastic recycling produces emissions.
by (1.2k points)
edited by
136 questions
154 answers
2,218 users