Welcome to OneSharedEarth, where you can ask and answer questions about any environmental issue
0 votes
145 views
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 (490 points)
recategorized by | 145 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 (990 points)
edited by
75 questions
77 answers
5 comments
1,944 users