Recycling is a simple process that can help resolve many of the problems created by our modern way of life. Nonrenewable resources are clearly saved when recycling materials are supplemented in the manufacturing process. Renewable resources, such as trees, are also saved in the short run, but it’s naïve to imagined that recycling will result in large tracks of untouched forest. Eventually, fewer renewable resources will be planted, cultivated, and harvested. Producing recyclable materials consumes less energy. When this energy reduction is in the form of fossil fuels, there is less acid rain produced, and a decreased greenhouse effect.
Another recycling benefit is that it extends the life of landfills. The United States ‘ waste stream is the biggest in the world. In 1988, only 13% of the waste stream was diverted into the recycling stream. The recycling potential for most commodities is a diversion rate of more then 50%.
The list below illustrates percentage of recovery of some of the recyclables:
Steel - 60.0%
Paper - 33%
Aluminum – 41.7%
Glass – 13.3%
Copper – 58.6%
On the financial frontier, recycling could potentially create a net increase in jobs. Waste material source3s are fragmented, and materials are not concentrated in areas such as mines and forests. Compared to virgin materials, recyclable materials must be collected, sorted, and...