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Recycling pros and cons 101: The best ways to benefit the environment

Recycling is a simple and easy way to help the environment, but many people are unsure what materials they can recycle. This guide will cover the recycling pros and cons of some everyday things we throw away daily. We’ll also talk about other means of beneficial waste disposal that you might not have been aware existed!

recycling pros and cons

The advantages and disadvantages of recycling


Recycling programs worldwide recycle rigid plastics (recycled yogurt containers) and soft plastics (those stretchy shopping bags).

There are pros and cons to this type of waste disposal, but generally, it is considered suitable for the environment. Plastic takes thousands of years to decompose, so recycling your plastics reduces natural resource consumption and keeps them out of landfills or other areas where they can leach harmful chemicals into the soil and water sources!

On the con side, recent studies show certain types of recycled plastics may release toxic metals back into our world when burned at high temperatures or melted down multiple times. Increases in cancer rates in some communities near large-scale recycling facilities are being investigated as possible effects of these leaked toxins.

Recycling copper pros and cons

This type of waste disposal has pros AND cons, so you have to weigh the pros against your personal opinions for this one!

Copper is an abundant natural resource that makes up about two percent of our planet, but there are still environmental concerns about mining copper ore in general. It takes several tons of rock to get a pound or two of pure metal, which means sizeable strip-mining equipment must tear through earth down at ground level.

The dust created by these machines can be harmful if inhaled over time since the rocks contain arsenic and other dangerous chemicals mixed in with them.

So recycling copper is better than mining for it, but there is still the question of whether or not recycling reduces natural resource consumption. Copper can be melted down and recycled into another product just one to three times before its quality decreases significantly. So unless we are recycling all our copper every few years (which isn’t happening), this material will eventually run out!

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Recycling glass pros and cons

Glass is very abundant across the globe, so you cannot consider it an endangered species by any means. But when considering waste disposal, shards of broken glass do pose a hazard in landfills.

The larger pieces could poke through trash bags and rip them open while also cutting anyone who may come near later on; however, most modern-day garbage facilities have a way to sort and manage any broken glass that makes it into their facilities.

This means all the pros of recycling glass kind of cancel out the cons, which is good for our environment! And as with other materials, you can recycle your clear or green bottles multiple times before they start losing strength and quality.

Recyling Polymers pros and cons

These are two different types of waste disposal, so we will discuss each individually instead of lumping them together as we did above!

The first type is thermoset plastic; this material cannot be melted down by recycling plants once it is molded because high heat changes it from solid to liquid. So basically, there isn’t much recycling potential here since throwing away and starting over with fresh materials is the only option.

On the other hand, thermoplastic waste disposal can be recycled multiple times and even turned into new plastics that look just like their original form! The pros of recycling this type of plastic outweigh its cons because it requires much less energy than mining virgin petroleum to make a whole new batch.

Recycling Paper Pros and Cons

Another material whose pros AND cons must both be considered before you decide if recycling or throwing away is best in your eyes.

On one side, trees are explicitly grown (and sometimes harvested) for making paper and pulp; these trees take decades to grow back once they’re cut down reduces natural resource consumption while also reducing the adverse effects of deforestation.

The pros for recycling paper are not as excellent, although it can be recycled up to five times before quality diminishes significantly! It requires a lot more energy and water than mining virgin materials. It would be best to recycle whenever possible but still try to reduce your use of this material first.

The most Viable waste disposal methods

1. Landfill – the most common way to dispose of waste, but has a variety of problems associated with it

2. Recycling – also known as “material recycling,” this is when you break down recyclable items into raw materials that can be reused in other products (examples include glass bottles and aluminum cans)

3. Incineration – this is when you burn garbage to reduce its volume and make it easier to store or transport; not recommended for organic material because burning these releases harmful gases like dioxin, which are linked to cancer and respiratory illnesses

4. Composting – breaking down organic material by mixing it with water, air, bacteria, fungus, and other naturally occurring organisms

5. Anaerobic digestion – breaking down organic material in the absence of oxygen, also known as “waste to energy.”

6. Feedstock recycling – converting to raw materials that are easier to reprocess into new products

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It’s important to reuse our most common materials and correctly dispose of them. Here is a breakdown of the advantages of recycling paper, plastics, metals, glassware, batteries, and light bulbs:

1) Reduces consumption

2) Keeps toxins out of landfills

3) Creates jobs

4) Provides a renewable source for raw materials

5) Beneficial for the environment

6) Helps keep prices down

7) It Makes us more self-sufficient

8) Preserves natural resources

9). Improves air quality

10). Decreases pollution

11). Saves money

12). Conserves natural resources

13). Protects wildlife

14) Prevents deforestation

15.) Avoids contamination

16.). Curbs climate change

17.) Eliminates the need for virgin material

18). Reduces greenhouse gases

19). Stabilizes communities

20) Conserves water

Viable Outreach | Activism for the 99%