Reuse and Reduce…THEN Recycle.



Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.31.42 AMHumans dump 2.12 billion tons of waste annually. If all of this waste are to travel around the globe, they would go around the Earth 24 times.

The 3Rs — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a sequential method to get the global community to contribute for a significant reduce in the number of waste to halt global warming and pollution in the world. According to EPA stats, the number of waste in the world is projected to nearly double in the next 15 years. Immediate actions are required. The scope of global waste crisis could very much exceed the challenges of global warming and climate change as the most problematic issue of the century. And this is because we are not reducing enough waste.

For years the public has been accentuating on the concept of recycling, leaving out the process of reduce and reuse. Don’t get me wrong, recycling is a beneficial process to the nature and to humans. For we will cut fewer trees; We will less displace animals; We will less pollute the air, water and soil. As according to UCO, using recycled steel cut down 76% of the water pollutants and 86% of the air pollutants; Using recycled glass reduce water usage by manufacturing by 50% and cut air pollution by 20%. 

Furthermore, people are more inclined to recycle because we are greedy and lazy. We refuse to cut down the amount of products to purchase and use because we are greedy; We refuse to remake goods because we are lazy; We refuse to reduce and reuse because we can recycle.

However, by only recycling, we can’t reduce waste. 

The truth is that all plastics and papers, recycled or not, end up in being burned or disposed of anyway. No plastic or paper can be recycled unlimitedly. As according to the Eureka recycling company, the quality of plastic resin degrades every time it is reheated, they are only delaying its disposal each time they recycle plastic. “The final destination for all plastic is either an incinerator or a landfill.”

The other major product that people are worried about, paper. Similar to plastics, paper can’t be used again and again. As mentioned by John Klungness, a Forest Products Laboratory chemical engineer, “Paper fibers lose strength with each recycling, and fail after seven cycles.” Papers soon end up in landfills.

Recycling also cost more money than we can think of. The cost-benefit analysis of recycling in Michigan 1997 reports that the revenues made from recyclable materials were $401,000 less than the operating cost of recycling. One expert, Leland E. Teschler mentioned that curbside recycling typically cost 55% more than simple disposal because it consumes huge amount of capital and labour per round of recycled material. This is obvious that recycling costs more than disposing because then citizens in the U.S. would not be charged for recycling pick-ups (charged on tax bills).

Recycling only recomposes waste products, not reduce. This brings us to the question of, is recycling alone effective enough to save the Earth? And not surprsingly, it isn’t.

The most effective way to reduce waste is to not produce them in any case. Since making new products require a great deal of materials and energy, and recycling the products require a great deal of money and energy as well.

Reuse is the cheaper and energy-friendlier option to recycling. It allows the item to be useful without spending much money or energy. If we can reuse items, we can reduce the strain on resources, which results in less hazardous waste. Unlike recycling.

Reduce, is the most time, money and energy-friendly method that the world needs to practice. If we can reduce the amount of items used, we can reduce the amount that is discarded — less time could be spent on building unnecessary recycling factories, more money could be used to preserve mother nature, and more energy could be used for innovation. A simple procedure of reducing what you purchase and use would bring forth all these benefits. Unlike recycling.

According to the World Counts, the stunning number of waste produced each year is partly because 99 percent of the things we buy are trashed within 6 months. Sooner or later we will have to put an end to this appalling man-made disaster. Nobody wants to live with trash, so everybody should reduce trash.

Let’s all reduce and reuse, then only you recycle. 


Work Cited

Decker, Edwin. “Recycling Is a Waste of Time, Money, and Energy.” What Is the Impact of Green Practices?, edited by Tamara Thompson, Greenhaven Press, 2016. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context., 8 Jan. 2013. Accessed 8 Apr. 2019.

“Growing Global Landfill Crisis.” Steelys Drinkware, Eco Imprints, Accessed 20 Apr. 2019. 

Larsen, Esben, and Victor Emanouilov. “Tons of Waste Dumped – Globally, This Year.” The World Counts, Accessed 21 Apr. 2019.

“Recycling.” UCO, Accessed 20 Apr. 2019.

Rinkesh. “The Three R’s: ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ Waste Hierarchy.” Conserve Energy Future, 23 Dec. 2017,  Accessed 8 Apr. 2019.

“Table: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Recycling in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1997.” Garbage and Recycling, edited by Mitchell Young, Greenhaven Press, 2007. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 8 Apr. 2019.  

Teschler, Leland. “Save Energy: Don’t Recycle.” Machine Design, Informa, 31 Mar. 2013, Accessed 21 Apr. 2019.

“What We Can Do to Reduce Waste.” New York Times, 28 Mar. 2019, p. A26(L). Global Issues in Context, Accessed 8 Apr. 2019.