Can We Say "NO" To Recycling

Dr. Nadia El-Kholy. English 113. Tamer Wadid Shalaby. Final Draft Paper.

Lately the earth's capacity to tolerate exploitation and absorb solid wastes
disposal has diminished, due to excess trashing. People dispose lots of stuff,
and simply do not care. Therefore scientists found out a way to reuse things and
that process was called "recycling". This new approach seemed quite successful
at the beginning, until its true identity appeared. Recycling first started as
man's best friend, people were intrigued by this new phenomena. What could be
better than using things that were already used. Recycling has been very useful
especially that man is constantly consuming, burning up, wearing out, replacing
and disposing at an alarming rate.(Durning 1992). However, unfortunately
recycling has proven that it is quite costly. Although recycling of wastes
material solves the problem of garbage disposal at landfills, and saves
resources, it does nevertheless entail large hidden costs in collecting, sorting
and manufacturing; therefore, it is necessary for the government to overcome
such problems of recycling to be worth while and for manufacturers and consumers
to consume less. Recycling has proven its efficiency in solving the problem of
garbage disposal at landfills1. By the accumulation of garbage throughout the
years, space available for garbage has largely diminished. In the states for
example almost 67% of their waste stream ends up in landfills.(Scott 25). This
has in fact increased the price of disposal. As Kimball stated "tipping fees" at
landfills, is so often prohibitive(3), and some cannot find landfills to dump
their garbage. It can cost up to $158 to pick a ton of garbage and dispose
it.(Consumer Reports 1994). Beside, these landfills pollute their surroundings
area with lots of hazardous materials and contaminate underground water. To
discover the contamination of the underground water it would be 12 yeas after
the poisons-benzene; formaldehyde; mercury; and BCEE- have actually contaminated
the land, and had sunk 24 feet into the ground contaminating about 50 million
gallons of underground water.(Dahir 94). Besides these lands could be used in
more useful ways such as building schools, hospitals, or simply turning them
into large green areas to purify the air. This problem is practically acute in
Egypt, since we do find even in central areas of the city, piles of garbage
disposal very near to residential areas. Recycling would therefore eliminate
this problem and protect the environment. If we consider burning as an
alternative, well it is not very advantageous, so often burning is done in
incinerators. According to Plenum, incineration is the process of disposing of
the "Combustible portion of the community wastes"(81). This burning pollutes the
air in the area around it. It is not the way to solve the problem of recycling
because it solving one problem by creating another which is air pollution. In
this process a number of pollutants are emitted which poisons the air. Carbon
dioxide and lead are by products of burning that most health organisations
consider highly toxicating. These by products affect children mentally and
physically. In addition, carbon dioxide is considered one of the main reasons of
global warming because the molecule itself captures heat an stores it in it thus
creating the green house effect. Besides plastics are rather toxicating when
burnt according to Plenum, Acrylic type plastics emit HCN gas, Bromine
components that are added to plastics results in the emissionof HBr , which are
all dangerous pollutants (157). Obviously burning cannot be considered an
alternative and as stated in Consumer Reports, "Recycling does help to keep
garbage out of landfills and incinerators, both of which pose environmental
problems."(Feb 1994). Although burning lessens the physical amount of the waste
materials, it is considered one of the easiest way to pollute the air. Though
these are great advantages to us and the environment, but recycling costs more
than you could imagine. A study found that when the cost of garbage is
calculated by volume, landfilling and recycling costs are roughly the same.
Recycling does not appear to save any money, this applies to most of the
European countries and the United States and studies have lately proven so.
"Recycling is a good thing, but it costs money."(Boerner and Chilton 7). This
view has been confirmed by John E. Jacobson, who is the president of AUS, a
consulting firm in Philadelphia who stated that it is often more expensive to
recycle than to manufacture from raw material. The process goes through lots of
phases. First collecting and sorting garbage and second is manufacturing and
marketing. Collection is a phase by itself. In developed countries such as the
States, Europe, and the Far East, the people have a great deal of awareness of
the situation. People know that recycling is important and would save us lots