by: Leslie Jones


Recycling to some people seems like a no-brainer and a civic responsibility. Easy. Convenient. Sensible. Even more positive adjectives can be listed here…..but not for everybody.  As unusual as it may be, some people are not in favor of recycling at all.  Bring in the idea of recycling being mandatory, and you’ve got yourself a debate.

 

Proponents of recycling list reason after reason as to why it is not only easy, but it’s the best for the environment and the least we could do. Statistical information can be found to sustain the beliefs that recycling is beneficial in many ways.

 

In a previous article titled Don’t Myth An Opportunity….Dispelling Myths Before Opportunities Pass You By, several excuses and myths about recycling were challenged and factual information was introduced to replace them. Some of them should certainly be revisited as we discuss benefits of recycling.

 

*Well-run recycling programs cost less than landfills and incinerators.
*The more people recycle, the cheaper it gets.
*Recycling generates revenue to help pay for itself, while incineration and landfilling do not.
*Prices may fluctuate as they do for any commodity, but domestic and international markets exist for all materials collected in curbside recycling programs.
*Demand for recycled materials has never been greater. American manufacturers rely on recyclables to produce many of the products on your store shelves.
*All new steel products contain recycled steel.

 


Opposers of recycling contend that the following are true instead:


*Recycling costs more than just throwing it away.
*Running extra trucks for recycling causes more fuel emissions and road problems.
*Recycling is a racket developed by politicians, not grounded in science.
*The recycling process itself generates a great deal of pollution.
*There is no landfill shortage.

 


As there are certainly believers on both sides of this argument, should this debateable of a practice be mandatory? Well there are 2 types of mandatory when it comes to this topic; mandatory to do and mandatory to pay for.

 

When recycling is mandatory to do, those who do not participate can be fined for not doing so.  The fine doesn’t usually come on the first offense, but it will come if recycling is not done by the second or third time.  Exceptions can be made, however, if a resident is very elderly or disabled, but for the most part this is an expectation of some municipalities.

 

When recycling is mandatory to pay for, residents may elect to participate or not but will billed for it regardless of whether they ever choose to use it.  A recycling cart is usually provided to each household and this type of mandatory recycling can be city or county wide. Some opposing opinions of recycling being mandatory are as follows:

 

*Recycling should be voluntary, not mandatory.
*People should have free choice.
*Not everybody believes in it or buys into the benefits so why should it be forced on them?
*Don’t force people to recycle but tax breaks/penalties can be given to those who do/don’t.
*People will recycle but to be told they have to upsets people.

 

As the opposing sides square off in a heated debate, one thing remains true and consistent.  Recycling Works, a Waste-Away Group Ltd company, receives and processes more and more recycling material each year and sends the commodity bails off to the world market for reuse. Many products are made from recycled materials and many jobs are created by the existence of recycling centers like this one. Mandatory, maybe…...but necessary, definitely.