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Tuesday, October 01, 1996

19960900 The Five Most Dangerous Myths About Recycling

The Five Most Dangerous Myths About Recycling

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

2425 18th Street, NW · Washington, DC 20009

202-232-4108

bplatt AT ilsr.org

September 1996

MYTH #1: We can recycle only 25 to 30% of our solid wastes.(1)

FACT: Twenty five percent was considered a maximum level in 1985. Today it should be considered a minimum, not a maximum. By continuing to build the reuse, recycling, and composting infrastructure and integrating the best features from the best programs, local and state, the nation as a whole can achieve 50% recycling by 2005.

[…]

MYTH #2: Recycling is more expensive than trash collection and disposal.(8)

FACT: When designed right, recycling programs are cost-competitive with trash collection and disposal.

[…]

MYTH #3: Landfills and incinerators are more cost-effective and environmentally sound than recycling options.(15)

FACT: Recycling programs, when designed properly, are cost-competitive with landfills and incinerators, and provide net pollution prevention benefits. Recycling materials not only avoids the pollution that would be generated through landfilling and incinerating these, but also reduces the environmental burden of virgin materials extraction and manufacturing processes.

[…]

MYTH #4: Landfills are significant job generators for rural communities.(19)

FACT: Recycling creates many more jobs for rural and urban communities than landfill and incineration disposal options.

[…]

MYTH #5: The marketplace works best in solving solid waste management problems; no public-sector intervention is needed.(23)

FACT: The solid waste system has always operated under public sector rules and always will. Currently these rules encourage unchecked product consumption and disposal. Public-sector intervention is needed to shape a system in which materials are produced, used, discarded, and recovered efficiently. We need to change the rules so that disposal alternatives; source reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting, operate in a level playing field. Even after we level the playing field, favoring disposal alternatives makes sense because of its many community and public sector benefits.

Read the entire article here: The Five Most Dangerous Myths About Recycling

For questions or comments, contact:

Brenda Platt, Director, Materials Recovery, Institute for Local Self-Reliance

(Brenda Platt) bplatt AT ilsr.org

19960900 The Five Most Dangerous Myths About Recycling

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