A new U.S. study reveals that recycling has a greater positive impact on the environment than previously believed. The study compares recycling to other carbon mitigation strategies and finds that recycling provides a comparable or better return on investment than more expensive environmental measures.
According to the study, some regions across the U.S. have either cancelled or scaled back their recycling programs as a result of increasing costs.
“Recycling won’t solve the problem alone, but it is part of the puzzle.”
When international markets in countries like Indonesia, Philippines and India tightened their purity requirements, MRF operators faced the need to further eliminate contaminants, resulting in a decrease in the quantity of materials suitable for reuse and an increase in the amount of materials intended for disposal.
Despite increasing costs and restrictions on recyclable materials, the study suggests that restructuring recycling programs to target materials with high market value and carbon offset potential can help communities achieve financial sustainability while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
These “higher-value” materials include HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) and PET (High Density Polyethylene) plastic bottles, aluminum and steel cans, cardboard, and newspaper.
Figure: Comparison of the annual net household costs associated with the waste management of an average US residential household in 2020 with and without recycling.
Superfy delivers sustainable smart resource management solutions for the circular economy, empowering enterprises and connecting cities.
We are solving the problem of low recycling rates by enabling cost effective, scalable nationwide materials collection and recycling programmes. We support a wide variety of material collections, including batteries, soft plastics, organics and glass.
Our software platform, sensors and smart containers track and monitor waste and recycling materials, enabling operational improvements and efficiencies throughout the collection and processing value chain.
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