People think recycling pollutes a lot less than throwing things out. They don’t seem that different when I compare them both to not using stuff you’d have to throw away anyway. Even reusing something beats recycling.
Recycling plants have to send a lot of stuff to landfills. They use plenty of energy. This article, “American recycling is stalling, and the big blue bin is one reason why,” which reminds us that recycling has problems, got me thinking about it, not that the article doesn’t have flaws (in particular that it doesn’t promote reducing consumption).
In other words, recycling still pollutes. I think of it as a last resort after resorting to using something that pollutes and not being able to reuse an old one. That it pollutes less than throwing out doesn’t change that it pollutes. Blowing a little smoke in a baby’s face is still blowing smoke in a baby’s face, and what else are you doing if you put pollution into the environment?
Not using something in the first place so you don’t have to throw anything away after doesn’t pollute. Of course, you can’t live without using energy and you have to interact with the environment and some things recycle so effectively, using them pollutes very little.
Still, I hope people move toward using less stuff, not just buying things that are promoted as green or thinking that recycling things magically makes them not pollute.
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