The topic of recycling is a popular focus of public and scholarly discussions. Recycling is often emphasized in the context of environmental consciousness and pro-environment efforts. Although the main goal of recycling technique indeed is to protect the environment from further pollution, there are also many social and financial benefits to this type of waste disposal. It is logical to assume that a better understanding of the benefits that recycling brings will eventually result in better recycling habits. In addition to this, focusing on the non-environmental advantages of recycling brings hope to address the private needs of individuals better and be a stronger push factors in terms of recycling behavior. This paper argues that recycling is associated with diverse benefits, such as reduced costs spent on waste disposal, new job opportunities, and higher consumers’ satisfaction.
Recycling is an effective strategy from economic standpoint as it requires less money, if compared to regular waste disposal. This idea finds empirical support. For instance, Riedel in her article ‘Environmental and Financial Impact of a Hospital Recycling Program’ discusses her study of financial and environmental effect of recycling on the example of an acute care hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. As found in the study, recycling practices significantly reduce greenhouse gases that appear as a result of waste disposal (Riedel 8). In addition to this, the study showed that recycling reduced the costs associated with disposal on 15%, which is a remarkable result (Riedel 8). Although recycling is often perceived as a costly procedure, it is indeed much less expensive than regular waste disposal. From this point of view, recycling can positively influence individuals and organizations that have adopted the technique. As a result, money saved as a result of recycling can be used by companies in order to address environmental issues, and thus have a double positive effect on the environment.
Recycling has a positive social effect as it provides new job opportunities. Linnenkoper in his article ‘The face of recycling in a green economy’ emphasizes the role of recycling in terms of job creation. Indeed, the development of recycling industry leads to the creation of new jobs. The author notes that ‘an EEA study found that revenues from recycling grew rapidly during the 2008-2008 period’ (Linnenkoper). Thus, today, during the time when the rates of unemployment are still relatively high, recycling offers an opportunity for people to find employment.
The positive emotions that consumers have when making the choice in favor of recycling, can overrule the negative emotions when making the choice of wasting resources. In their article ‘The Effect of Recycling Versus Trashing on Consumption: Theory and Experimental Evidence’ Sun and Remi research which factors are influencing consumers’ disposal behavior. The focus of this article lies on the consumers’ emotions that are associated with wasting resources and recycling them. The goal is to find out if those emotions are having an effect on the disposal decisions made by the consumers’. What they found out suggests, that the positive emotions that consumers have, when making the choice for recycling, can overrule the negative emotions, that are felt when making the choice of wasting resources. It often is discussed, how and when one can profit from recycling from those perspectives. The consumer usually just plays the role of one part of the recycling process and someone, who will just benefit indirect from it. Thus, recycling creates a situation, where the consumer would not just be a part of the process, but also someone, who could directly benefit from engaging into recycling by gaining satisfaction out of it. This is an important finding because it draws a focus to the emotional satisfaction gained from recycling.
Some people might argue that the process of recycling negatively influences the environment because of the byproducts that recycling brings. The notion is rational because the whole procedure of recycling is indeed associated with chemicals being exposed into the environment. Yet, statistics shows that recycling is still good for the atmosphere, if compared to the regular methods of waste disposal. Namely, the article ‘Recycling Statistics Released published in Business & The Environment’ argues that recycling practices are effective from the point of view of the reduced risk of environmental pollution (Recycling Statistics Released 12). According to this report, 74 million metric tons of iron and steel were recycled in 2010, which is 20 million tons more than in 2007 (Recycling Statistics Released 12). In addition to this, the US recycled 46, 8 million tons of scrap paper, which is also the highest level of recycling that the country has ever reached (Recycling Statistics Released 12). This positive shift in the US recycling practices, according to the article, significantly reduced the amount of chemicals released in the atmosphere as a result of regular waste disposal. Thus, the idea that recycling itself presents a certain degree of danger to the environment is correct. Yet, this degree of danger is still much lower, if compared to the regular methods of waste disposal.
Recycling not only positively influences the environment but also is associated with reduced costs spent on waste disposal, it has a positive social effect because it provides job opportunities and it positively influences consumers’ satisfaction. Although recycling is often perceived as a costly procedure, it is indeed much less expensive than regular waste disposal. From this point of view, recycling can positively influence individuals and organizations that have adopted the technique. In addition to this, recycling satisfies consumers’ needs. The positive emotions that consumers have when making the choice in favor of recycling can overrule the negative emotions when making the choice of wasting resources. Some people might argue that the process of recycling negatively influences the environment because of the byproducts that recycling brings. Indeed, the idea that recycling itself presents a certain degree of danger to the environment is correct. However, this degree of danger is still much lower if compared to the regular methods of waste disposal. In addition to this, as noted above, the method of recycling also brings financial and social benefits that the common methods of waste disposal do not have. These benefits call for the importance of facilitating recycling behaviors and raising public awareness of the positive effects of this procedure.
- “Recycling Statistics Released.” Business & The Environment 22, no. 6 (June 2011): 12-13.
- Linnenkoper, Kirstin. “The face of recycling in a green economy.” Recycling International no. 3 (April 2012): 32-37.
- Riedel, Lisa M. “Environmental and Financial Impact of a Hospital Recycling Program.” AANA Journal 79, no. 4 (August 2, 2011): S8-S14.
- Sun, Monic, and Remi Trudel. 2017. “The Effect of Recycling Versus Trashing on Consumption: Theory and Experimental Evidence.” Journal Of Marketing Research (JMR) 54, no. 2: 293-305.