Should Recycling be made Mandatory?
In a world threatened by severe environmental issues, recycling has become a major initiative to combat the humongous waste generated by a growing population. The third component in the waste management hierarchy, ‘Reduce – Reuse – Recycle’, the process of recycling involves conversion of used materials into new products.
Recycling can help in reuse of usable materials in the same or another form, which in turn reduces the consumption of fresh resources. For example, used paper can be recycled to new forms like paper cups or tissue paper. Recycling also helps in reducing the need for direct disposal of useful materials in garbage. This in turn can reduce, air, water and land pollution that arises due to landfills. Recyclables include items that we use everyday like glass, plastic, paper, textiles and even electronics.
However, there are many critics who oppose the idea that recycling is beneficial as they believe that the costs incurred by the processes of recycling far outweigh the benefits. Critics argue that the costs of collection and transportation exceed the costs that are saved during the production process. The claim of environmentalists that recycling reduces energy consumption is disputed by the opponents of recycling. They claim that even the process of recycling uses energy and creates pollution, thus negating the positive impact on the environment. Critics believe that making recycling compulsory only creates a false sense of security in people as they still end up buying stuff with an aim to recycle it later. Therefore, the better option it to enlighten people of the need to reduce energy consumption and reuse materials before thinking of recycling.
In spite of the criticism levelled against recycling, many countries have put in place recycling policies that have made the process mandatory both for business and households. Most of them have been successful in creating an economically viable process of recycling , by establishing measures that are both cost effective and environmental conscious.
Recycling can not only involve and educate the common man but also save money, energy and the planet.