Why is Recycling Important for the Environment: A Discussion in the Perspective of Cost-Effectiveness

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Why is Recycling Important for the Environment: A Discussion in the Perspective of Cost-Effectiveness

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Why is Recycling Important for the Environment: A Discussion in the Perspective of Cost-Effectiveness?
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Why is Recycling Important for the Environment: A Discussion in the Perspective of Cost-Effectiveness?
Background of Critique
Recycling of materials is defined as the process by which materials that have already been used up is made available for reuse. Presently, there has been a consensus all across the globe, regarding recycling of waste materials. The objective of such recycling is to implement proper waste management strategies that help in sustainability of the environment. Several studies have reflected that recycling helps in combating air pollution and reduce the concentration of green house gases in the atmosphere. Thus, recycling not only ensures effective waste management but also helps in reducing the burden of global warming (Grosse, 2010). There are various apprehensions regarding the beneficial effects of recycling, especially in the context of cost-effectiveness. The present article will argue the benefits of recycling, based on cost-effectiveness and potential for reducing pollution impacts. The argument would be pooled over the analysis of direct and indirect costs of recycling on the environment.
Assessment of Indirect Cost-Effectiveness
Nanomaterials and Nanoparticles are becoming an integral part of modern society. Asmatulu, Twome, & Overcash, (2012) expressed concerns, regarding the impact of nanoparticles and nanomaterials in the environment. In the current context, usages of nanomaterials are increasing day by day from the field of consumerism to the field of pharmacology. The study evaluated the end-of-life (eol) assessment for these materials. It was concluded, that recycling of nanomaterials was the best eol option. Otherwise, nanomaterials can cause landfills and may enter humans through food consumption. Such issues may increase the burden of healthcare expenditure on humans. Therefore, reducing the chances of bioaccumulation indicates the cost-effectiveness of recycling, when holistically considering the environment.
There is a concern regarding the exhaustion of the non-renewable resource. One such resource is a number of scarce metals in out atmosphere. There are various important scarce metals, whose depletion will lead to decreased sustainability of the environment and thus mankind. Due to increased anthropogenic activities, these metals are becoming depleted (Steffen, 2010). Moreover, it was noted that recycling of such metals is very low compared to the future availability concerns. Therefore, an awareness of creating “Zero Waste Cities” came is a very viable approach. This meant that all wastes should be recycled, to regenerate various metals and other non-renewable products, which are on the verge of extinction. Since, recycling helps in preserving non-renewable resources, it can be certainly concluded that recycling is beneficial and significant for sustainable development.
Recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment has been implemented in various countries. Developing countries are also no exception to that. However, often it is noted that recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment are done in an illegal and non-viable way in those countries. This is because poor recycling techniques are implemented in these countries to save cost. However, it has been noted such techniques lead to liberation of environmental toxicants. This leads to more harm than good.
There has been a notion that recycling causes release of toxic materials. This holds true in these situations. Environmental toxicants like lead and polybrominated dioxins are released into the atmosphere due to such maladaptive practices. These substances nay cause Cancer and other organic diseases, which indirectly increases the global burden of disease and also recycling (Giovanis, 2014). Installation of quality technologies and improved devices may reduce such emissions. This will not only lead to better recycling of wastes but will also help to alleviate environmental pollution (Giovanis, 2014).
Suspended Particulate Matter has been recognized as one of the important solid pollutants in the air. It is one of the components of photochemical smog and causes various human ailments. Therefore, it is an endeavour by the Pollution control boards to keep the level of suspended particulate matter within the maximum permissible levels. The relationship of recycling rates of solid wastes and air pollution from a municipality waste data revealed a negative correlation between particulate particles and recycling. Increased recycling, leads to decreased concentration of SPM, with sizes of 2.5 microns or below. This is a significant finding since particle sizes less than 2.5 microns may get accumulated within the lungs and cause restrictive lung diseases. This disease compromises with an individual’s effort of breathing and increases the work done by the heart. Therefore, increased recycling would lead to better abatement of SPM in the atmosphere and hence it is an effective cost-effective strategy in reducing the global burden of a disease (Grosse, 2010).
Direct Impact on Cost-Effectiveness
Production of metals like aluminum has been correlated with increased production costs. Recycling has been associated with a reduced cost of production. Moreover, recycling of aluminum, lead to decreased production requirements. This was not only recognized as one of the well endorsed cost-effective strategies, but it also leads to decreased production of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Production of aluminum is associated with burning of fossil fuels. This leads to increased production of carbon dioxide. Hence, not only the non-renewable resources are conserved, but such recycling of aluminum lead to decreased production of green house gases which is an important contributor to the menace of global warming (Das, Green & Kaufman).
E-wastes are a growing concern all across the world. With a revolution in information technology there is heavy usage of computer consumables, which has to be discarded as wastes after their shelf lives are over. E-waste produces an important challenge in aggravating the condition of landfills. Most of these peripherals are plastic materials and they impose pollution risks. Salvaging of e-wastes through recycling has been endorsed as the most effective option as the end of life decision for the particular e-wastes. Such recycling will decrease the need of manufacture of computer peripherals from raw materials, and help in cost-effectiveness of information technology equipment (Wath, Dutt & Chakrabarti, 2011).
. Paper recycling has been associated with decreased deforestation for extracting wood, the raw material needed to manufacture paper. Since, the forests are saved, and may be put to use for other environmental and economic sustenance issues, recycling of paper provides a cost-effective strategy. Moreover, recycling has been attributed to the creation of new jobs, especially in developing countries (Sthiannopkao & Wong, 2012)
Conclusion
Although there are speculations regarding the cost-effectiveness of recycling techniques, it can be noted from the above discussion that such apprehensions are not logical. Moreover, the beneficial effects of recycling like reducing the menace of global warming, decreasing the need of fossil fuels, preservation of non-renewable resources and conservation of forests, recycling are not only significant for the sustenance of the environment, but it also provides a cost-effective strategy.
References
Asmatulu, E ; Twome, J; &  Overcash, M. (2012). Life cycle and nano-products: end-of-
life assessment. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 14:720
Das, S; Green, J; & Kaufman, J. (2010). “Aluminum Recycling: Economic and
Environmental Benefits” Light Metal Age, 22-24.
Sepúlveda, A.; Schluep, M.; Renaud, F. G.; Streicher, M.; Kuehr, R.; Hagelüken, C.; et al.
(2010). “A review of the environmental fate and effects of hazardous substances
released from electrical and electronic equipments during recycling: Examples from
China and India” Environmental Impact Assessment Review 30: 28–41
Grosse, F. (2010). “Is recycling ‘part of the solution’? The role of recycling in an expanding
society and a world of finite resources” S.A.P.I.E.N.S. 3 (1): 1–17.
Giovanis, E.(2014). “Relationship between Recycling rate and Air Pollution: Evidence from
Waste management Municipality survey in the State of Massachusetts. Available at
SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2479296.
Steffen, L. (2010). “Resource recovery and material flow in the city: Zero waste and
sustainable consumption as paradigms in urban development” Sustain. Dev. Law
Policy XI: 28–38
Sthiannopkao S, Wong MH. (2012) Handling e-waste in developed and developing
countries: Initiatives, practices, and consequences. Sci Total Environ.
Wath, S. B., Dutt, P. S., & Chakrabarti, T. (2011). E-Waste scenario in India, its
management and implications. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, pp. 172,
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