Recycling Versus Waste Prevention: Should We Reduce Waste Or Seek To Recycle?
When you read the press recently – it is hard to avoid discussion or stories about plastic pollution and the argument re recycling versus waste prevention. With the current plastic pollution affecting our oceans – it is commonly argued that recycling is not enough.
I was thus very interested to read an article this week stating that The Green Alliance – a UK body argued that we should not seek to immediately reduce plastic usage. To be honest – and as I will explain below – I disagree with this position.
Waster is a different recycling business
Waster is a waste and recycling business with real and distinctive differences. We really focus on helping small and medium customers boost recycling and hence keep costs down. As we do not operate landfills – we have no financial benefit in dumping as general waste.
You can organise all your waste and recycling requirements simply and conveniently by pressing the blue button as below:
Recycling versus waste prevention – is it right to argue that we should not phase out plastic?
The UK has recently started to explore a tax on single use plastics such as plastic shopping bags or plastic drinking straws. The argument is that the current price of plastic does not reflect the actual environmental cost of the product – and hence it is priced far too low.
By implementing a tax on these plastics – it is hoped that usage will reduce.
The Green Alliance has argued on recycling versus waste prevention that plastic can actually help protect food and hence reduce the amount of food waste and hence environmental emissions. Personally, I believe that the plastic pollution issue is so serious and fixable – (I.e. by reducing plastic usage) – that it should be addressed first prior to worrying about emissions from food waste.
Food waste emissions can be managed
We have seen in past blogs that food waste can be used to produce electricity through biogas production and also can have its impact minimised in modern landfills.
Modern landfills have gas capture tech that reduces harmful gases in the atmosphere and reduces the need for fossil fuels.
Plastic reduction is vital
Whilst the Green Alliance argues that plastic reduction should be phased – they do argue for the following sensible steps:
” Alliance suggests:
- Ban products that are unnecessarily made from plastic and likely to be littered, like cotton buds and straws (Scotland has already committed to this)
- Stop using so many different types of plastic – and ensure that all types used are easily recyclable
- Develop recycling markets for the materials that remain”
See a short video of a Ted Talk below – where the presenter argues that the way to zero waste – is cutting usage of materials and hence actually recycling less!
Waster has come to the opinion that plastic reduction is vital i.e. in the recycling versus waste prevention argument – reduction must win.
This is because of the terrible impact of plastic pollution in our environment.
Of course – recycling and reducing green house gases is very important. We just argue that the plastic issue should be seen as the number one environmental issue facing our planet.