I just found out that recycling hurts the environment even more than I had thought

Ever since I read this 1996 New York Times article called “Recycling Is Garbage,” I’ve known that government recycling of plastic, paper, and glass wastes more resources than it saves, and that the environment would actually be better off if we put these things into landfills instead of recycling them.

Over the next 1,000 years, all of the garbage in the entire United States could fit into one landfill that was 100 yards deep, on a piece of square land which was just 35 miles on each side. Today’s modern landfills are well sealed, and when they are full, they get turned into parks. I live in Pennsylvania, which is the United State’s #1 garbage importing state. We keep approving new landfills, because we love the jobs and tax revenue that it gives us.

Well now we have this brand new article from the Guardian, which shows that our recycling hurts the environment even more than I had thought. It says that a lot of the plastic that we put into recycling bins gets sent to poor countries in Asia. Much of this plastic cannot actually be recycled, either because it’s contaminated with food debris, or it’s the wrong kind of plastic. These poor Asian countries mismanage much of their garbage, and much of this plastic ends up in the ocean. This other article, from the New York Post, says that 90% of the plastic in the ocean comes from 10 rivers, eight of which are in Asia, and two of which are in Africa. So much of the plastic that we recycle actually ends up in the ocean.

If the goal is to virtue signal, then by all means, we should continue to recycle our garbage. But if the goal is to protect the environment, we should put it into landfills.

June 17, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism.

One Comment

  1. Kurt replied:

    Great post – I’ve always been suspect of the alleged net benefits of recycling. It is one of those things that people hear so many times that they simply believe it is necessary to recycle in order to save the environment because they don’t think deeply about what they are actually doing.

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