Recycling Essay

2323 WordsOct 11, 201410 Pages
Cost-Benefit Analysis of Recycling in the United States: Is Recycling Worth It? Although recycling programs in the United States have become a key component in waste management, recycling programs are in fact one the most costly methods of waste disposal. According to author Harvey Black of the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal, in San Jose, California “it costs $28 per ton to landfill waste compared with $147 a ton to recycle” (Black 1006). In Atlantic County, New Jersey, selling recyclable goods brings in $2.45 million. However, the cost of collecting and sorting these recycled materials plus interest payments on the recycling facility costs the county over $3 million (Black 1006). With the time, money, and energy spent collecting and processing recycled goods, the price of recycling is much higher than discarding waste into landfills or incinerators. Despite the high costs of recycling, proponents of recycling argue that the environmental and health benefits of recycling outweigh the costs. Recycling advocates believe that recycling is more than just an issue of economics and is essential to caring for human health and environmental sustainability. Nevertheless, recycling facilities not only cost a great deal of money, but they also damage the environment by generating large amounts of waste and endanger human health by emitting numerous toxic pollutants. Instead of spending a large sum of money on recycling programs, we should put money towards higher priority programs such as healthcare, education, and costeffective environmental initiatives. Given that the environmental and health benefits of recycling do not outweigh the high costs, the United States must cut down its number of recycling programs. In order to offset several of the environmental benefits of recycling, waste reduction techniques such as reducing and reusing must become a commonplace

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