It’s not too late to make recycling resolutions.
In the United States, about 70% of plastics collected for recycling are discarded, lost in transport, or otherwise wind up in landfills. This has led many to wonder if recycling is a process that is even worth it, both environmentally and economically.
Much of the decrease in the success of recycling efforts boils down to poor management and funding that prioritizes recycling efforts to upkeep machinery and implement updates as needed. Consumers are aware of the importance of recycling after years and years of educational marketing strategies. Now, the issue is keeping up with the amount of waste generated and making sure the recycling process is as environmentally friendly as possible, efficient, and profitable.
Implementing strategies like waste-to-energy or heat capture technologies in recycling facilities may help lower energy costs, making the process more profitable and environmentally friendly, resulting in less emission. Other solutions include branching out from manual recycling and testing the waters of chemical recycling, which has shown to be a promising method with great efficiency.
Many advocate giving up on recycling due to its decline and energy-intensive process from transport to manufacturing. Still, there are ways to improve the process and create materials that are higher in quality, as well. As time passes and technology advances, recycling must remain a piece of the environmental puzzle, as it is one of the best ways to extend the life cycles of virgin materials and preserve resources.
Recycled materials, including plastics, are becoming a new marketing element. Everywhere you turn, “Made From Recycled Plastic” or “Made From Recycled Materials” is shown on product labels, and there is no indication that this will slow down. Consumers respond well to this strategy and understand the basis behind it.
Although recycling is not a perfect system, it has incredible potential to improve. It would be irresponsible as environmentalists to completely write-off recycling instead of advocating for better recycling practices and technology.