There is always a lot of talk about recycling and how beneficial it is to the environment at large, helping make the world a better place by reducing pollution, halting global warming, etc. While all of this is true in general, the end result may vary greatly depending on the recycling method used, as well as what materials are being recycled. If done improperly, recycling may just be harmful to the environment, rather than beneficial. While we at Rubbish Solutions we do everything we can to make sure that all recycling is handled properly, it’s important to remember that recycling is a large business at this point and its effectiveness can shift depending on supply and demand.

Here is a comprehensive list of how recycling can damage the environment:

  • Contamination – it may happen that materials that go into recycling are toxic. For example, they may contain lead paint, a highly toxic substance, which will then get transferred to recycled products, including soda cans – something we come into direct contact with. Other possible types of contamination may include radiation.
  • Air pollution – the process of recycling itself may, ironically, be a reason for much of the air pollution we have today. Exhaust from the transportation vehicles are a big contributing factor to air pollution which is important to consider when you take into account the amount of recycling that happens on a daily basis.
  • Paper sludge – paper is considered one of the most recyclable materials around, and its recycling is easy, cheap, and commonly practiced all around the world. However, it has a certain remnant that contains ink, dyes, cleaning, chemicals, etc., collectively called paper sludge. It’s usually burnt in landfills, but the chemicals found within may be toxic and contribute to air pollution.
  • Recycling plastic limitation – there are a finite number of times plastic can be recycled. And of the seven different types of plastic available, only two are recyclable. Even so, considering how expensive recycling plastic is, even products made from recyclable plastic often ends on landfills simply because finely sorting through it is too expensive to be effective.
  • Recycling doesn’t reduce demand – while the demand for recyclable products exists, it’s a demand that cannot be satisfied. Because of that, the raw materials still have to be manufactured in order to meet that demand – there is simply not enough time and money to recycle enough materials to meet that demand.