This should be an interesting thing to take a look at. I was reading over on Evolgen about whether or not it is really environmentally beneficial to recycle most goods.
Now, the concession is made that recycling aluminum cans is good, and nothing was said of other metals. Given the value of most metals I would expect them to in general be worth recycling.
However, there could be a case made that things such as paper and plastic take more energy to recycle than recycling saves. This is an arguement made by Penn and Teller on their show.
I’m pretty much a chronic skeptic, so when someone like Penn and Teller say it, I’m not going to take it too much to heart. But it can get me to thinking and exploring.
Their arguements appear to pretty much be based strictly on the costs of recycling and energy used. It’s not clear if they paid any attention to landfill space or any other issues.
Yes, I can understand the arguement for paper being that trees are a rather renewable resource and that in this country we plant far more trees than we cut down. But a replanted forest doesn’t replace what was destroyed in the first place.
This does of course, make the point that it is better to reduce and reuse even before thinking of recycling. There’s no question that using less is a good thing for the environment.
So much of living a greener lifestyle comes down to figuring out what seems to be least harmful to the environment. You can’t avoid all harm but you can certainly limit what you do.